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Goulash (Hungarian: gulyás [ˈɡujaːʃ]) is a stew or soup of meat and vegetables usually seasoned with paprika and other spices.[1] Originating in medieval Hungary, goulash is a common meal predominantly eaten in Central Europe but also in other parts of Europe. It is one of the national dishes of Hungary and a symbol of the country.[2][3]

Goulash / Gulyás
Goulash in a traditional cauldron
TypeSoup or occasionally stew
Place of originHungary
Region or stateCentral Europe
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsMeat, stock, noodles, vegetables (especially potatoes), paprika, spices

Its origin traces back to the 9th century to stews eaten by Hungarian shepherds.[4] At that time, the cooked and flavored meat was dried with the help of the sun and packed into bags produced from sheep's stomachs, needing only water to make it into a meal.[4] Earlier versions of goulash did not include paprika, as it was not introduced to the Old World until the 16th century.


Venison goulash with dumplings, leeks and lingonberry sauce served in Berlin

The name originates from the Hungarian "gulyás" [ˈɡujaːʃ] ( listen). The word "gulya" means "herd of cattle" in Hungarian, and "gulyás" means "herdsman" or "cowboy".[5][6]

The word gulyás originally meant only "herdsman", but over time the dish became gulyáshús (goulash meat) – that is to say, a meat dish which was prepared by herdsmen. Also in medieval times the Hungarian herdsman of Central Europe made use of every possible part of the animal, as was common practice. As meat was scarce, nearly all of the animal was often used to make the soup; even part of the hide that provided foot protection was considered a necessity.

Today, gulyás refers both to the herdsmen, and to the soup. From the Middle Ages until well into the 19th century, the Puszta was the home of massive herds of cattle. They were driven, in their tens of thousands, to Europe’s biggest cattle markets in Moravia, Vienna, Nuremberg and Venice. The herdsmen made sure that there were always some cattle that had to be slaughtered along the way, the flesh of which provided them with gulyáshús.[7][8]

In HungaryEdit


Hungarian gulyásleves, goulash soup

In Hungarian cuisine, traditional "Gulyásleves" (literally "goulash soup"), "bográcsgulyás",[9] pörkölt, and paprikás were thick stews made by cattle herders and stockmen.[9]

These dishes can be made as soups rather than stews. Garlic, caraway seed, and wine are optional. Excepting paprikás, the Hungarian stews do not rely on a flour or roux for thickening. Tomato is a modern addition, totally unknown in the original recipe and in the whole Central European food culture until the first half of the twentieth century.

Goulash is as well a fundamental part of Slovak cuisine, where is prepared in several different tastes too, mainly the same ones of Hungarian cuisine. Slovakia was an important part of the Kingdom of Hungary for several centuries, and the two cuisines have many common recipes.

Goulash can be prepared from beef, veal,[10] pork, or lamb. Typical cuts include the shank, shin, or shoulder; as a result, goulash derives its thickness from tough, well-exercised muscles rich in collagen, which is converted to gelatin during the cooking process. Meat is cut into chunks, seasoned with salt, and then browned with sliced onion in a pot with oil or lard. Paprika is added, along with water or stock, and the goulash is left to simmer. After cooking a while, garlic, whole or ground caraway seed, or soup vegetables like carrot, parsley root, peppers (green or bell pepper) and celery may be added. Other herbs and spices could also be added, especially cayenne, bay leaf and thyme.[9] Diced potatoes may be added, since they provide starch as they cook, which makes the goulash thicker and smoother. However, red peppers and potatoes are post-16th century additions, unknown in the original recipe. A small amount of white wine or wine vinegar may also be added near the end of cooking to round the taste. Goulash may be served with small egg noodles called csipetke. The name Csipetke comes from pinching small, fingernail-sized bits out of the dough (csipet =pinch) before adding them to the boiling soup.

The Hungarian cook Karoly Gundel claims that in a goulash recipe, meat should not be mixed with any grains or with potatoes.[11]

Hungarian varietiesEdit

Hungarian goulash variations include:[12]

  • Székely Gulyás. Omit the potatoes and add sauerkraut and sour cream.
  • Gulyás Hungarian Plain Style. Omit the homemade soup pasta (csipetke) and add vegetables.
  • Mock Gulyás. Substitute beef bones for the meat and add vegetables. Also called Hamisgulyás, (Fake Goulash)
  • Bean Gulyás. Omit the potatoes and the caraway seeds. Use kidney beans instead.
  • Csángó Gulyás. Add sauerkraut instead of pasta and potatoes.
  • Betyár Gulyás. Use smoked beef or smoked pork for meat.
  • Likócsi Pork Gulyás. Use pork and thin vermicelli in the goulash instead of potato and soup pasta. Flavour with lemon juice.
  • Mutton Gulyás or Birkagulyás. Made with mutton. Add red wine for flavour.

A thicker and richer goulash, similar to a stew, originally made with three kinds of meat, is called Székely gulyás, named after the Hungarian writer, journalist and archivist József Székely (1825–1895).[9]

Paprikás krumpliEdit

"Paprikás krumpli" is a traditional paprika-based potato stew with diced potatoes, onion, ground paprika, and some bacon or sliced spicy sausage, like the smoked Debrecener, in lieu of beef.

In German-speaking countries this inexpensive peasant stew is made with sausage and known as Kartoffelgulasch ("potato goulash"). Bell pepper is sometimes added.

Outside HungaryEdit

Goulash pörkölt

Thick stews similar to pörkölt and the original cattlemen stew are popular throughout almost all the former Austrian-Hungarian Empire, from Northeast Italy to the Carpathians. Like pörkölt, these stews are generally served with boiled or mashed potato, polenta, dumplings (e.g. nokedli, or galuska), spätzle or, alternatively, as a stand-alone dish with bread.


Goulash (Albanian: gullash) is considered a traditional dish among some Northern Albanians.[13]



In Vienna, the former center of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a special kind of goulash had been developed. The Wiener Saftgulasch or the Fiakergulasch on the menu in traditional restaurants is a rich pörkölt-like stew; more onions but no tomatoes or other vegetables are used, and it usually comes just with dark bread. A variation of the Wiener Saftgulasch is the Fiakergulasch, which is served with fried egg, fried sausage, and dumplings named Semmelknödel.


Goulash (Croatian: gulaš) is also very popular in most parts of Croatia, especially north (Hrvatsko Zagorje) and Lika. In Gorski Kotar and Lika, venison or wild boar frequently replace beef (lovački gulaš). There is also a kind of goulash with porcini mushrooms (gulaš od vrganja). Bacon is an important ingredient.

Gulaš is often served with fuži, njoki, polenta or pasta. In Croatian, Bosnian and Serbian is augmented with vegetables. Green and red bell peppers and carrots are most commonly used. Sometimes one or more other kinds of meat are added, e.g., pork loin, bacon, or mutton. In Slovenia, they are known as perkelt, but are often referred to as "goulash" or a similar name.

Czechia and SlovakiaEdit

Szeged goulash served in a Prague pub with Czech knedliky

In the Czech and Slovak Republics, goulash (Czech and Slovak: guláš) is usually made with beef, although pork varieties exist, and served with boiled or steamed bread dumplings (goulash with beef in Czech hovězí guláš s knedlíkem, in Slovak hovädzí guláš s knedľou), in Slovakia more typically with bread. In pubs it is often garnished with slices of fresh onion, and is typically accompanied by beer. Beer can be also added to the stew in the process of cooking. Seasonal varieties of goulash include venison or wild boar goulashes. Another popular variant of guláš is segedínský guláš (Szeged goulash), with sauerkraut.

In Czech and Slovak slang, the word guláš means "mishmash", typically used as mít v tom guláš: to be disoriented or to lack understanding of something.


Fish goulash (Amharic: አሣ ጉላሽ; asa gulaš) is a popular dish in Ethiopia, particularly during the numerous fasting seasons as required by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.[14] It is usually prepared with a spicy sauce with a tomato and onion base and served with injera or rice.[15]


Venison goulash with Bavarian bread dumpling

German Gulasch is either a beef (Rindergulasch), pork (Schweinegulasch), venison (Hirschgulasch), or wild boar (Wildschweingulasch)[16] stew that may include red wine and is usually served with potatoes (in the north), white rice or spirelli noodles (mostly in canteens), and dumplings (in the south). Gulaschsuppe (goulash soup) is the same concept served as a soup, usually with pieces of white bread.


Goulash in Italy is eaten in the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, regions that had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and still are in part culturally and linguistically Austrian. Here it is eaten as a regular Sunday dish.[citation needed] It can also, although less typically so, be found in the nearby Veneto. An interesting regional recipe comes from the Pustertal (Val Pusteria, Puster Valley) in South Tyrol. It is made of beef and red wine, and seasoned with rosemary, red paprika, bay leaf, marjoram and lemon zest, served with crusty white bread or polenta. The lemon gives its signature flavor. Goulash is also quite popular in the city of Ancona, which is culturally quite near to eastern Europe.


In the Netherlands, goulash is usually prepared with beef. It is typically consumed as a soup. In the southern Netherlands, where zoervleis – another beef stew – is common, goulash is also served over thickly cut fries, and can be obtained in many snackbars. This latter version of goulash has a signifcantly thicker consistency than the soup version.


Philippine Caldereta is a popular party dish enjoyed throughout the country. While it is often cooked using beef or pork, for special occasions, such as weddings and graduation parties, goat meat is used. This variation of goulash came to this south-east Asian country through its Spanish colonizers. Close to the Philippine Caldereta is the Spanish Chilindron. In addition to the onions and bell pepper found in the traditional goulash, a number of vegetables are included in this slow-cooked beef stew. Carrots, green peas, garlic, and potatoes are popular additions. For a richer and thicker sauce, liver spread or liver paste is added. It is served with warm rice.


Polish potato pancake and spicy goulash with sheep milk cheese and sour cream

In Poland, goulash (Polish: gulasz) is eaten in most parts of the country. A variant dish exists that is similar to Hungarian pörkölt. It came to being around the 9th century. It is usually served with various forms of noodles and dumplings, such as pyzy.


In Serbia, goulash (Serbian: гулаш) is eaten in most parts of the country, especially in Vojvodina, where it was probably introduced by the province's Hungarian population.[citation needed] It is actually a pörkölt like stew, usually made with beef, veal or pork, but also with game meat like venison and boar. Compulsory ingredients are meat and onions, usually in 50-50% ratio, paprika, and lard or oil, other ingredients being optional: garlic, parsley, chilli pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, red wine, mushrooms, bacon. Sometimes, goulash is sweetened by adding tomato paste, sugar or dark chocolate at the very end. In Serbia, goulash is most often served with macaroni or potato mash.[citation needed]


In Slovene partizanski golaž, "partisan goulash", favoured by Slovenian partisans during the Second World War, is still regularly served at mass public events. "Partisan golaž" utilizes onion in equal proportion to meat; Slovenians usually use two or more types of meat in cooking "golaž".

United States and CanadaEdit

American goulash, mentioned in cookbooks since at least 1914, exists in a number of variant recipes.[17][18] Originally a dish of seasoned beef,[18] core ingredients of American goulash now usually include elbow macaroni, cubed steak, ground beef or "hamburger", and tomatoes in some form, whether canned whole, as tomato sauce, tomato soup, and/or tomato paste. In some areas it is called "slumgullion".


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gundel, Karoly (1992). Gundel's Hungarian cookbook. Budapest: Corvina. ISBN 963-13-3600-X. OCLC 20
  2. ^ Gil Marks, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, John Wiley & Sons, 2010, p. 234
  3. ^ "Orbitz Travel: Vacations, Cheap Flights, Airline Tickets & Airfares".
  4. ^ a b Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, Britannica Educational Publishing, 2013, p. 94
  5. ^ William White, Notes and queries, Volume 126, Oxford University Press, 1912
  6. ^ Judith Petres Balogh, This Old House by the Lake, Trafford Publishing, 2006, p. 244
  7. ^ "The Humble Beginnings of Goulash". April 2016.
  8. ^ Anikó Gergely, Culinaria Hungary [1], H.f. Ullmann, 2008.10.15. - p. 318
  9. ^ a b c d Gundel's Hungarian Cookbook, Karoly Gundel.
  10. ^ Famous Hungarian recipes Archived 14 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Gundel, Karoly (1992). Gundel's Hungarian cookbook. Budapest: Corvina. ISBN 963-13-3600-X. OCLC 31
  12. ^ Gundel, Karoly (1992). Gundel's Hungarian cookbook. Budapest: Corvina. ISBN 963-13-3600-X. OCLC 21
  13. ^ Gjekë Gjonaj: Ushqimet tradicionale të Trieshit
  14. ^ Mulugeta, Temesgen (13 April 2019). "Fasting Season, No Longer Boon for Fish Industry". The Reporter (Ethiopia). Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Fish in Ethiopian Food". Go Addis Tours. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Gulasch Rezepte -".
  17. ^ Metcalf, Allan (1999). The World in so Many Words. Boston, MA, USA: Houghton Mifflin Company. pp. 47–48. ISBN 0-395-95920-9.
  18. ^ a b Cookbook of the Woman's Educational Club. Toledo, OH, USA: Woman's Educational Club of Toledo, Ohio. 1914. p. 49.


External linksEdit