How to make Nokedli or Hungarian flour dumplings, the best side dish for pörkölt, goulash or chicken paprikash.
Nokedli are a Hungarian specialty, but still something you will find very often in the Transylvanian kitchen. My grandmother has been making “paprikas cu galuste” all of her life and so did my entire family. Chicken paprikash used to be one of my favorite meals as a kid. Well, it still is one of my favorite Romanian meals and I am glad to say that my kids love it as well.
And they do love the chicken paprikash dearly, but mostly they love the dumplings. If I don’t make the paprikash or goulash/pörkölt to go with the nokedli, they will probably regret it for a moment, but move forward immediately and eat the dumplings with some butter or cheese. Well, not that that happens often, I usually make these dumplings especially for paprikash or pörkölt. Or for chicken soup, they are delicious in soup as well.
I remember the first time I’ve made chicken paprikash with dumplings myself. It was shortly after getting married. I had scribbled down the recipe given by my grandmother in my first recipe notebook, a small thing with only 32 pages or so… My recipe notebooks nowadays are huge, the thickest ones I can find.
I still have that thin notebook, fragile and battered, but I love it, it contains all the recipes my grandmother ever gave me. With dozens of scribbled extra notes concerning the quantities my grandmother was never able to name.
Like mentioned before on this blog, my grandmother was a good cook, her food although very limited in the choice of dishes or ingredients, always tasted delicious. But she never wrote down any of her recipes and she never used a scale or a measuring cup or anything of the sort. She had been cooking her 20 or 30 dishes her entire life, she knew everything by heart and it never occurred to her that other people (like me, who was a total beginner) would not know what she meant with “enough flour to get the batter right”.
So, the first time I made the chicken paprikash with nokedli I was really frustrated. The paprikash was good, almost like the one I used to know, but the dumplings were no dumplings, they were lethal weapons. Rock-hard and impossible to eat. I have a short temper sometimes and I got so frustrated I called my grandmother to complain about her recipe and I remember she was quite unhappy about it. I felt sorry afterward and we discussed the recipe again in a more relaxed manner, but still I did not make the dumplings again for years.
Until my cousin Georgiana came to visit about 4 or 5 years ago. She cooked the paprikash with dumplings for us and I stood by weighing the flour and watching her cook. She never weighed the flour quantity when making the dumplings either, she had learned in her mother’s kitchen how the batter should look like, but I stood by and measured everything just to be sure. And my dumplings never went wrong again afterward.
After making them about a million times, I am proud to say I definitely don’t need a scale anymore when making the nokedli, but still, I have made these dumplings 3 times before this post and measured every time, just to be sure I can give you as good instructions as I can. The dumplings came out perfectly each time!
I saw many recipes using a Spätzle maker to form the dumplings. We never used that in our family, our “galuste” have always been formed with a teaspoon. They are larger than the German Spätzle but equally delicious. Apparently, nokedli made out of 2 eggs should be enough for 4 portions. Well, they were never enough for us, not at least since our children have reached 3 years of age anyway, so I always make the double portion with 4 eggs.
You could serve these dishes with nokedli:
Hungarian Flour Dumplings for Goulash or Paprikash – NokedliPrint This
- 4 eggs (medium Germany, large US)
- 2 tablespoons smetana/yogurt
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 180 g/ 6.4 oz/ 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (+ or - 1 tablespoon)
Beat the eggs and the smetana or yogurt together using a fork.
Add the salt and slowly start adding the flour while beating with the fork and incorporating the flour until the batter is smooth. Add almost all the flour (leave about 1 tablespoon of it aside), check the consistency and add the rest if necessary. If your eggs are a bit larger, you might want to add a bit more than 180 g flour, but not too much, up to 1 tablespoon more.
The batter should be rather thick and slowly fall off the fork.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add about ½ tablespoon salt to the boiling water. Turn the heat down and let it come to a simmer.
Add the nokedli to the water using a teaspoon, which should only be about half full with batter.
Let the nokedli simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Drain well and serve with chicken paprikash or goulash. Or give them to soup.
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