Hungarian paprika is paprika powder made from paprika peppers that are grown in Hungary, around the cities of Kalocsa and Szeged in the south.
Hungary is a major producer and exporter of unsmoked paprika and in fact the Hungarians claim the world’s highest quality of paprika. Hungarian paprika is often specified in recipes, because it is unique.
The colour of Hungarian paprika varies from deep reddish brown to bright orange red, depending on the pepper cultivars used.
Commercially grown paprika is usually graded based on sweetness and heat levels, flavour and coarseness of the grind. Homemade paprika is simply classified as édes (sweet) or csipős (hot). (Taste Hungary)
Although paprika is classified as sweet, medium (mildly hot) or hot, in Hungary, nearly all dishes are prepared with the intensely coloured sweet Hungarian paprika which remains a top seller.
The Hungarian paprika grade called, noble sweet (Édesnemes), is the the most commonly exported paprika to the rest of the world. It is bright red in colour and with a mildly spicy flavour.
The grade, rose paprika (Rózsa) is considered the finest quality. It is made from a selection of dark red pods that have a sweet mild flavour and a strong aroma.
In hungry , paprika is sold in 500g (1.1Ib) bags, because Hungarians use a lot of paprika for cooking. (Taste Hungary)
Commercial Grades of Hungarian Paprika
There are eight grades of commercial Hungarian paprika, ranging from the special quality called ‘Különleges’, which is the mildest and brightest red of all Hungarian paprikas with an excellent aroma, to the Hot paprika grade called Erős, which is the hottest of all Hungarian paprikas. (source wiki)
- Special quality (Különleges): The mildest and brightest red of all Hungarian paprikas, with an excellent aroma.
- Delicate (Édes csemege): ranging from light to dark red, a mild paprika with a rich flavor.
- Exquisite Delicate (Csemege): similar to colour and aroma to delicate, but slightly more spicy.
- Pungent Exquisite Delicate (Csípős Csemege, Pikáns): similar in colour and aroma to Delicate and Exquisite Delicate, but a bit spicier in flavour. One of the most popular of the hotter varieties of paprika in Hungary.
- Rose (Rózsa): pale red in colour with strong aroma and mild heat.
- Noble Sweet (Édesnemes): This is the most commonly exported paprika to the rest of the world; it’s bright red in colour and with a mildly spicy flavour (nothing special)
- Semi-Sweet (Félédes): A blend of mild and hot paprikas; medium hot paprika.
- Hot (Erős): Light brown in color, this is the hottest of all the paprikas
Paprika and Hungarian Cuisine
Paprika is an integral part of Hungarian cuisine. It’s an everyday ingredient in a Hungarian Kitchen, added to soups, sauces and stews. In fact paprika can be added to just about any food in Hungary and nearly all dishes are prepared with Sweet Paprika.
Paprika gives the dishes their brilliant orange colour, intense peppery flavour and aroma, characteristic of Hungarian cuisine
Hungarian Sweet Paprika is the classic choice for several dishes in Hungary, including gulyás (Goulash), pörkölt (stew), lecsó (thick vegetable stew), chicken paprikás (Chicken Paprikash), and halászlé (fisherman’s soup) just to mention a few.
Paprika makes a flavourful garnish for deviled eggs, potato or pasta salads, baked chicken or fish.
Hungarian paprika is sweet enough to use in desserts, so it’s used to make paprika cake. (CNN) In some parts of the country sweet Hungarian paprika is used as a filling in a sweet pastry.
Dry whole Hungarian Paprikas can also be used in cooking.
Fresh Hungarian Paprika Peppers: are used in salads and are also the main ingredient in a pepper and tomato stew called lecsó. Fresh Hungarian paprika peppers are also pickled.
Paprika and Wine
Kadarka enhances the best the taste of paprika in Hungarian dishes. Kadarka is a full-bodied wine, with a slightly high tannin content. (Budapest By Locals)
Where is Hungarian Paprika Produced
Hungarian paprika is commercially produced around the cities of Kalocsa and Szeged, in the southern part of Hungary, where there is a cool growing season. This cool weather helps to retain the sugar in the paprika and results in sweeter pepper varieties with bright red colours and distinctive rich flavours.
The weather greatly affects the colour and sugar content of paprika for example, in the In hotter regions such as Peru or western China, the heat of the sun results in dark red and less sweet paprika. As the sugar content decreases, the dark red colour is enhanced.
Hungary has a cool growing season, and this helps to retain sugars in the peppers resulting in sweeter pepper varieties with bright red colours and distinctive rich flavours.
A large portion of the world’s paprika is used commercially, as a food colouring agent, so commercial buyers across the world have turned to the cheaper supplies from Peru, China and Latin America.
Storage of Paprika
Paprika deteriorates quickly so it should be purchased in small quantities. Store paprika in a tightly covered container, protected from light.
- Különleges -Special
- Édes (Sweet)
- nemes (noble man)
- Csípös (Hot)
- Félédes (Medium Sweet)
- Erős (hot, intense potent strong)
- Csemege (delicate sweet dessert)