Hungarian Cabbage Noodles
Well – maybe they’re Hungarian?
I’ve been making this dish for years, hadn’t made it recently because I couldn’t find whole wheat egg noodles (In the past, I sometimes just ate white flour noodles, but I no longer choose to.) I recently found the noodles, and was excited, because I could make this easy dish again, and share it with you.
So, first I wanted to see if it was actually Hungarian, and now have a firm Could be… maybe… I’ve certainly found all the ingredients, and some combinations of some of them, in Hungarian sources – but never all of it together. Who knows…
Then I looked in my old cookbooks to see where I got the recipe (since I had a name for it, I knew it wasn’t something I simply invented.) But I couldn’t find that, either. There were several recipes called this, or just Hungarian Noodles, in several books, but none were quite what I’ve been making. The closest was Nikki and David Goldbeck’s American Wholefoods Cuisine, but they use caraway, not paprika. So either I started with that and it morphed, in my hands, or I got it someplace I cannot now find. Who knows…
By the way – that is the Big Fat Cookbook of the whole food, vegetarian world. It is light on pictures (no photographs) and heavy on actual recipes, which is not the current fashion in cookbooks – but it’s also the place I’ve gone for years for “How do I cook *that*?” moments. You certainly know by now that I’m not vegetarian – but I prefer some meatless meals, and many low-meat (or other animal product) meals, and, well – the cover of my copy is held on with tape… Some of the 30 year old specific nutritional information is now outdated (I don’t know if later editions have updated) but nutrition is a rapidly evolving field (which has gone down a few blind alleys in its day…) and on the whole, this is a prime example of the “Eat Food, mostly Plants” philosophy.
The whole dish takes about 15-20 minutes. And it uses cabbage… I’m going to be talking about cabbage a lot, this winter. It is a fresh vegetable that is readily available, and very inexpensive. And it stores well enough that even the worst grocery stores usually have cabbage in decent condition. It also takes much less fuss to prepare than some other vegetables.
First, put a big pot of water on to boil, to cook the noodles. Then, chop a small onion (I actually used half a larger onion, this time. Use what you have.) Heat olive oil in a pan, add the onion, cook until it softens.
Meanwhile, chop the cabbage. One reason I like cabbage is that it is so compact – one smallish head, which takes up little room, gives us several meals. As you see, we’d already eaten most of this one. I chopped around the core, discarded it, and put the rest aside.
Now, the paprika. You want real Hungarian paprika, here – the Spanish paprika (sold just as “paprika” in most supermarkets) has very little flavor. Sweet paprika is mild, not hot, and is used by big spoonfuls in Hungarian cooking – I used 2 teaspoons, here. I do sometimes use hot paprika, though, and that needs more… restraint and care… about half a teaspoon, perhaps… Spoon it in to the pan, and stir well, so it covers the onion
Add the cabbage. Stir it around thoroughly, again, to coat the cabbage. Then I added about half a cup of water, and continued to stir – that really coated the vegetables with the paprika. I put the heat on high for a minute or two, to get everything really hot, then covered the pan and lowered it to simmer. (Meanwhile, the water in the pot had boiled – I put about half a bag of noodles in.)
I actually cooked the noodles about 6 minutes – the cabbage about 10. I did still want it to have a little crispness… Then, while the noodles drained, I stirred cottage cheese into the cabbage, about a cup for each of us. I just stirred it long enough to start heating it – I didn’t want it to start melting, I just wanted it to be hot when I put it over the hot noodles. The I piled the plates with noodles, and topped them with the cabbage/cottage cheese mixture.
I enjoy the taste of this, but also the fact that, in 20 minutes, I had a one dish meal that included plenty of vegetables, good protein, and a whole grain. Great meal at the end of a busy day.
Hungarian Cabbage Noodles
- olive oil for pan
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 t sweet Hungarian paprika
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 pound cottage cheese
- 1/2 pound egg noodles cooked (I use whole wheat)
- Heat oil in a saute pan. Add onion, saute until softened. Add paprika, stir to coat onion and heat the spice. Add cabbage, stir again. Add about half a cup of water, stir again, so the paprika coats the cabbage. Cover, and simmer 8-10 minutes, until done to your taste.
- Add cottage cheese, and stir just until it is all mixed together and the cheese is warmed up.
- Serve over cooked egg noodles