Hungarian cabbage and noodles, also known as haluski, Krautfleckerl or Kaposztas Testzta, this buttery noodle dish served with sour cream is pure comfort.
This recipe for Hungarian cabbage and noodles is something I make when I happen to have the rest of a cabbage head in my fridge. I buy cabbage very often, we have it in lots of different ways, but most white cabbages I get to buy around here are huge.
Sometimes, I only need the outer larger leaves to make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, for instance, but even if I plan to make a plain cabbage dish like this Turmeric Cabbage Turmeric Stew or this Romanian Stewed Cabbage, I still have at least a quarter leftover fresh cabbage. And if I happen to have leftovers from the above-mentioned cabbage dishes, I reheat them and mix them with freshly cooked pasta.
What is haluski?
I have seen this cabbage and noodles recipe with a Hungarian name – Kaposztas teszta, with a Polish one – Haluski, I have found it in old Transylvanian Saxon cookbooks as Krautfleckerl and I used to think it is a Romanian recipe because everybody seems to know it and it can be found in probably all Romanian cookbooks I have.
Its origins are not clear, both Polish and Hungarians claim the recipe, but it doesn’t really matter actually. The dish is so popular all over Eastern Europe nowadays, everybody seems to love it: it is delicious, comforting and it will keep you full for a long time, it is healthy, it uses very few ingredients and it’s very very cheap to make.
How to cut the cabbage?
- Use a large, sharp knife, like a chef’s knife.
- Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and quarter it.
- Remove the core, cutting in a V shape around it.
- Slice the quarters into long thin strips.
- If the quarters are very large, you could halve them crosswise in the middle before slicing, so that the strips are not excessively long.
- You can use either white or green cabbage.
- You should stir the cabbage every 5 minutes or so when cooking it. However, don’t worry too much if the cabbage catches very slightly to the bottom of the pan, it will make it taste even better in the end.
- It should not burn though, just caramelize slightly and get some darker (deeply brown, not burned) spots here and there.
- Keep an eye on it, stir and add a tiny amount of water but only if absolutely necessary, the cabbage should release enough liquid itself to make it cook, provided you keep the lid on the pot and don’t let the steam escape.
- You can also add bacon to the dish. Cube the bacon and fry it in the pot together with the onions before adding the cabbage.
How to serve?
- Most of the time, we have the Hungarian cabbage and noodles as they are, as a filling and delicious main meal. Of course, a green salad on the side is always a good idea.
- As you can see in the photographs we also served the cabbage with fried turkey liver, fresh from the turkey we bought last week from a poultry farmer in the village. That is optional, but it really was a wonderful addition to the cabbage noodles.
- You can serve the haluski as a side dish for Romanian meatballs, beef roulades, cast-iron chicken thighs, roasted half chicken, and so on.
Can you reheat it?
- Definitely, this dish reheats very well.
- The leftovers should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge, they will be fine for about 3-4 days.
- Reheat in a non-stick pan and I add a little extra butter when doing so.
- It is preferable to reheat leftovers that are not mixed with sour cream. If they are, you can still do it, but it tastes better if you add sour cream after reheating.
- The dish is not very suitable for freezing.
More Hungarian dishes:
Hungarian Cabbage and Noodles (Haluski)
- 750 g/ 1.7 lb cabbage
- 1 onion
- 2 tablespoons butter divided
- 450 g/ 1 lb egg noodles
- sweet paprika powder
- thyme or savory
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon apple vinegar
- 200 g/ 7 oz/ scant 1 cup sour cream or smetana
- fine sea salt and pepper
- Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, quarter it, and remove the core. Slice the quarters into strips, about 50 mm/ 1/4 inch. If the quarters are very large, you could halve them crosswise in the middle before slicing, so that the strips are not excessively long.
- Chop the onion finely.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large thick-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Cook the onion for a few minutes until translucent.
- Add the cabbage and stir well. If the cabbage doesn’t fit in the pot from the beginning, place only half of it into the pot and stir for a few minutes until it loses volume. You can then add the rest of the cabbage.
- Add sweet paprika powder and thyme or savory, stir well and add a little water, only about 150 ml/ 5 fl.oz/ a bit more than ½ cup. Cover tightly and cook on low heat for about 20-30 minutes or until the cabbage is done to your liking. Stir every 5-6 minutes or so. When the cabbage is done, adjust the taste with salt, pepper, sugar, and vinegar.
- In the meantime bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt generously and cook the pasta according to the packet’s instructions. Drain the noodles and keep about 125 ml/ ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
- Add the noodles and the remaining butter to the cabbage pot and stir well. Add a little of the reserved pasta water if the dish appears to be too dry.
- Sprinkle with chopped dill and serve with a generous dollop of sour cream or smetana.