Eszter's Recipe Page

This page is dedicated to my Mom for
being such a wonderful source of inspiration!

I've had this page up for a few years now. I know lots of people visit which is nice. Please do drop me a note if you found something here helpful. That way I'll know there's a point in adding material. Enjoy!

A few years ago I finally got into cooking and baking. I thought I'd share some of my finds here. Some are just links, but they're tried resources, and in addition, I also include a few of recipes passed down from my Mom to me and now to you. She even has a cookbook out on Hungarian cooking (in English) if you'd like more related resources.
If you'd like to print out a recipe on this page, you have the option of a printer-friendly version so you don't waste paper and can get it all on one page. Click on "printer-friendly version" in the window of the recipe for this option.

V - Vegetarian
H - Hungarian Specialty
Q - Very quick
(Q) - Pretty quick

If you use any of these recipes, I'd love to hear from you! Send me a note at recipes04 at eszter dot com. Please send a note to the same address if you'd like to receive a notice when new recipes are added to the page. Enjoy!

And now on to:
Eszter's recipes | Others' recipes | Helpful sites
Special themes: Thanksgiving

From my home to yours

Hungarian dishes


Cherry soup - H, V, Q

1 20-21 ounce can cherry pie filling (sweetened or if unsweetened then add 2 tbs sugar)
1 cup water
20 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 pint half and half (or substitute milk for less calories)

How to prepare:
In saucepan (medium sized), mix pie filling with water. Add cloves, cinnamon stick (or powder), lemon juice and stir well. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and cook for 5 minutes (watch the cherries, you don't want to heat it so long that they start disintegrating). Stir occasionally as you're heating. Put in half and half. Let cool, put in fridge once it's not too hot anymore. (Alternatively, if you don't have time to put it in the fridge then add some (3-5) ice cubes.)

Voila, that's it. Very easy and VERY yummy.

Cucumber Salad - H, V

Cucumbers - they shrink a lot so use at least three or four for 2-4 people.
Sour cream

Prepare while preparing other dishes, must sit for half an hour. There is some guessing involved in the amounts used.

How to prepare:
Slice up the cucumbers into thin slices.. using a grater is best (just slices, not strips). Put into a bowl and add lots of salt (two/three teaspoons). Mix thoroughly with hands. Let sit for half an hour (or more is not a problem).
Next, squeeze with hands to rinse out. Taste and if too salty, run some water on it and rinse again. Take the garlic, chop it up (best to press actually) and mix it in with the cucumbers. Now take some vinegar (about two tablespoons) and add. Add some (1 teaspoon) sugar as well. Mix. Then take some sour cream (two tablespoons), mix to smooth and then add to salad. Before serving, add some red paprika on top for decor.

Chicken Paprikash - H

chicken breast (say a medium package)
one big onion (white not purple)
3/4 tsp paprika (preferably authentic Hungarian )
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
3 tbs sour cream
1 tbs flour
2 tbs water

Utensils: small pan, large pan, 2 mugs

How to perpare:
Cut big onion into small pieces. Cook in small pan using some oil until clear (make sure not to burn it!).
Cut chicken into pieces about 3x2 inches. Put oil in the big pan and cook both sides of the chicken pieces. At first, only put so many that they make one layer in the pan. Take out, put in next batch. Once all have been cooked on both sides (white but not brown) then put them all in the pan. Put the onions on top of the chicken pile and add salt plus the paprika. Add 1/2 cup water. Set heat to medium-low. Keep an eye on the dish. The chicken can lose lots of water. You don't want the whole pan to be filled with water because that will give the chicken a different flavor. Periodically, drain the pan of some water. DO NOT DUMP this liquid, rather, collect it in a mug. This will be very important and delicious sauce in the end that you will pour over the final dish. To drain the pan of water, you can either use a spoon or you can put the cover on the pan and VERY CAREFULLY tip it over. You want to make sure that you always leave some water on the bottom so the chicken doesn't burn! Do this for about 30 mins or when chicken seems to be soft.
Take flour and water in a mug and mix smooth. Add sour cream and mix. Once all smooth, pour over chicken and let cook for another couple of minutes. Also, don't forget all the extra sauce you have sitting in the mug on the side, be sure to pour that over the chicken when serving!

"Dairy dumplings" (Túrógombóc) - H, V, Q

Note: this is a sweet dish, but more than dessert. It works well to serve with a hearty soup or salad as the second and final course.

7.5 oz Farmer cheese (no salt added type)
1/4 cup farina
1 small egg
For topping:
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbs powder (or fine granulated) sugar
2 tbs sour cream (or yoghurt for less fat)

How to prepare:

Start boiling some water, in a medium-sized pan almost filled, but not quite.
Mix the egg, farmer's cheese and farina in a bowl. Once it's well mixed, form little balls in your hand, about 1-1.5 inch in diameter. Once the water is boiling, place the balls in the water. Wait until they surface. They're ready to serve.
Top the dairy balls - or let's call them dumplings - off with the following. Put the breadcrumbs in a frying pan with a little bit of oil and warm up few a few minutes while stirring. Then pour the crumbs over the dairy dumplings. Add sugar and sour cream/yoghurt as desired.

And that's it. It is extremely easy. In fact, it's unbelievable that something so easy can taste so good.

"Nokedli" (Dumplings) - H, V, (Q)

2 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 tbs margarine/butter
pinch of salt
1 egg

Special appliance: Dumpling maker (a metal plate with holes in it, ideally large enough to suspend over the pot)

In a bowl, stir together egg with butter/margarine, milk and salt. Add flour, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition until the mixture is the consistency of a smooth dough. If it looks too thick, add a bit of water, but be careful with that.
Boil water in a very big pot. When the water is boiling, put the dumpling-maker on top of the pot and pour the dough on top. Push back and forth with a wooden spoon to get the dough to go through the holes. Repeat until all of the dough has gone through. Then lower the heat and wait until all of the dough rises to the top of the water. Drain water, the "nokedli" is ready to serve. (If you won't serve it right away then it's a good idea to put some water in a smaller pan and then put the dumplings in another pan on top of that so the steam will keep it moist and then hopefully it won't stick together completely.)

Specific recipes from elsewhere

I have tried these and happily recommend them


  • Vaníliás kifli (H, V) - vanilla cookies, often thought of as a holiday treat in Hungary, but tastes just as good at any time of the year. Don't bother with the chocolate though. I'm the last to ever say anything against chocolate, but this treat does not need it. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar powder instead!

  • Beijinho de coco (coconut fudge candy) - this is a Brazilian super-sweet candy. It's fun to make, not hard but a bit labor intensive (not super labor-intensive, but your hands will get very greasy).


  • Sour Cream Salad Dressing (V, Q) - please note that this makes a lot, it's enough to use just half for two or three people, one bowl of salad; also note that my Mom recommends substituting the sour cream with butter milk or yoghurt for a healthier dish


    Click images for bigger versions.
    See below for recipes.

  • Cranberry Sauce (V, Q) - Dissolve a cup of sugar in one cup of orange juice. Add some lemon juice. Add one package (12 ounces) of fresh cranberries.
  • Chef John's Mushroom Gravy (V) - Straight forward excellent gravy.
  • Rosemary Mashed Potatoes and Yams with Garlic and Parmesan (V) - from, a great way to put a twist on the usual mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes dish!
  • Roasted Squash with Potatoes and Garlic (V) [requires registration!:(] - from Wegman's, what used to be my favorite local supermarket when I lived in New Joysee (I'm waiting for them to find their way to Chicagoland). Modification in recipe: I did not have a large sprig rosemary so I substituted table blend seasoning for spices. I thought it turned out well.
  • Green Bean Casserole (V)
  • Stuffing
  • Better stuffing that I made up after getting helpful ideas from several friends. The recipe mentions chicken broth, feel free to substitute with veggie broth for a vegetarian version.
  • Sweet Potato Casserole (V) - technically not a dessert, but can double as one. Important modifications: * use half the white sugar (1/4 instead of 1/2 cup) and * double the topping except for the butter.
  • Janis Dohmann's Pecan Pie (V, (Q)) - a wonderful recipe, easy, and mmmm-good (this was my first pie ever) - note though that it can be just as successful without chopping up the pecans and simply using whole ones. And if you're starting out with whole pecans this will save you a lot of time.
  • Cindy's fluffy pumpkin pie (V, (Q)) - from I didn't used to like pumpkin pie but this was fun and easy to prepare and the innovative use of ice cream in the filling makes it yummy fluffy.

    Back to Eszter Hargittai's Homepage
  • Last updated: Fall, 2022