Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Vegan Hungarian Paprikas

Back in the 1990s, I was an actual monk in an actual monastery. (Cue the chorus of angel voices here.) Anyway, I taught myself to cook Hungarian food because most of the elderly monks came over from Hungary during the 1950s and I wanted to give them a taste of their homeland. (Also, I wanted to COOK – I was fine with the poverty, chastity, and obedience, but I missed cooking. Hungarian food was my ticket back into the kitchen.)

So, remembering the robust taste of Hungarian paprika, sour cream, and hearty peasant fare, I veganized “Hungarian Paprikas”. Hearty crimini mushrooms take the place of the chicken and I developed a nifty cashew sour cream. By the way, Hungarian food can be pretty spicy (“csípös”) so feel free to oomph up the cayenne pepper.

I’m really pleased with this dish. Not only will it make a Hungarian monk long for his homeland, (it’s THAT good) but we can enjoy it too.

Oh, and here’s a photo of me roller-blading in my habit. In retrospect, it’s not surprising I’m no longer a monk.


(Cashew sour cream: Soak 1 cup of raw cashews in boiling water for 30 min. Drain off water and blend cashews with ¼ cup water, 1 ½ tsp cider vinegar, 1 ½ tsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp salt.)

16 large crimini mushrooms, halved
1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1” chunks
3 Tbs Hungarian paprika
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
dash of sweetener if needed

½ recipe cashew sour cream
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
Margarine and oil for frying. (I like Earth Balance)
Your choice of noodles. (Barilla veggie spirals are vegan)

Fry the crimini mushrooms face down in margarine until well-browned. Don’t turn them over; don’t touch them. It’s important that they get really brown on the cut side. After they’re brown on one side, they’re done. You’ll need to do this in two batches.

Add the onions and bell pepper and sauté until slightly tender. Add the spices along with a little oil for frying in order to let the paprika “bloom” which, apparently, is hugely important to Hungarians. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the sauce along with the sour cream and serve over pasta.


© 2015 by Jon Buckner Wheat. All rights reserved.

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At 4:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

mmmm... that looks so damn delicious. Too bad I'm not a Hungarian vegan. I don't want to culturally appropriate food that isn't meant for sheep intestine eating Scottish-Americans.

At 11:01 AM , Blogger Bad Alice said...

This looks delicious, although I don't like mushrooms at all. And Vegan recipes seem to call for a lot of nuts. They're so expensive, particularly cashews.

At 11:31 AM , Blogger more cowbell said...

De finom! Oh, my goodness, I can scarcely contain myself! Are you Hungarian or did you spend time there? I lived there for six years and have missed the food ever since. Being vegetarian, this recipe is the answer to many fevered, unrequited dreams, from which I always wake up wanting lángos or beigli or the like. Now to find Hungarian paprika in Costa Rica ...

Also, where is the roller-blading monk photo?


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