"This is a journey of my life since I was all of 12 yrs when I started my hand in cooking to now with displays of my learning and creations of recipes from around the world. My inspiration and role model has always been my Mum who has always created dishes from around the world and excellently well. I do not believe I would ever match to her culinary skills. I remember the times she could cook and bake almost 4-5 dishes in one go without ever letting one go under cooked or burnt! I was born and raised in Dubai, UAE and recently moved to India for family reasons. Kitchenette just means that over the decades, my kitchen has changed from that of my mum's to my uncle and aunt's, to my home in UAE and now in India. Pala't'te, describes both global cuisines ('Palatte'-diverse flavours) and pleasing diverse 'Palates'."

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Goulash Soup (Gulasova Polievka) - (Czech/Slovak "Beef and Potatoes Soup")

I have been anxious to try out this recipe since our trip to Prague(Praha), Czech Republic. We lunched at a wonderfully appealing restaurant in Praha called "Leone and Anna" in Malostranske Namesti, right opposite the "Pillar of Black Plague" dedicated to the "Holy Trinity". The staff were super friendly and we had a good time at the restaurant. We had ordered the Goulash soup as it sounded enticing and filling as well as we had a long walk from the restaurant back to the Charles Bridge and beyond planned for that day. The soup is a traditional Czech soup which I learnt later was also incorporated in Slovak cooking and Hungarian cuisine(with a mild twist here and there). I am not sure whether in originated in Hungarian cooking or Slovak but its delicious nevertheless.
Goulash Soup - Beef and Potatoes - A Czech delight and mine too ;-) - Soul Food!

The soup at "Leone and Anna"...doesn't it look just rich and soulful? You can see from the rim of the soup bowl, the paprika and herbs..:)
Goulash Soup from our visit to 'Leone and Anna', Praha

I made sure to savor every bite at L& A..as I mentioned in my earlier posts that I prefer to taste, experience and try. Of course I made sure to also tap into the knowledge of the server for the day whilst he explained what all the soup contained. I tried this recipe and then checked online later this afternoon to find out the various ways it was made. This is my preferred version as it takes to the Indian palate as well as was savoured by my toddler this afternoon. 

You need:

Onions - finely cubed

Potatoes, Green Pepper and Tomato Puree

  • 800 gms of beef (cut into small bite sized cubes with the fat and tendon tissue taken off as much as possible)
  • 1 large purple onion (finely diced into cubes) or white 'Boiling Onions'
  • Tomato Puree - 1-2 medium sized tomatoes ( http://gginaflavorspalatte.blogspot.in/2012/05/homemade-tomato-puree.html) - (you can also use 2 cups of store bought tomato puree or use 1 cup of homemade puree and in case your puree is thin then add 1 cup of store bought puree. I pre-made my puree and it was quite thick.
  • 1 medium sized green pepper/capsicum- finely diced into cubes - I did not see this in the soup I had at L&A but I definitely tasted the same at another restaurant
  • 2-3 tsps. of dried Oregano or Marjoram
  • Salt to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper - 1 tbsp or as per your taste
  • Paprika Powder - 1 tbsp or as per your taste (Some people do add a lot of paprika but I was unsure if my toddler would be able to take it)
  • Red pepper (optional as per taste) - again since this was for my toddler's lunch as well, I skipped it
  • 1 tsp Black or Shahi Jeera (cumin seeds/Caraway seeds)
  • 2 medium size potatoes - cubed small *equation of potatoes to beef is 1:1
  • 1 cup of Beef Stock
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic (crushed/grated)
  • 1 tbsp of extravirgin olive oil or butter

 The preparation:

Cooking Time: 2 hrs and 10 minutes| Preparation Time: 1 hour|Serves 4 adults

This is a slow-cooking recipe wherein traditionally the Goulash is prepared in a clay pot over an open fire. It is a dish that is made at events where the beef is allowed to slowly cook in the clay pot whilst the guests enjoy socialising and drinking beer. I chose to go through an initial 10 minute cooking of the beef in a pressure cooker (of course the beef was not even half done in that time) wherein I acquired the beef stock(traditionally you acquire the beef stock during the browning process of the beef and/or you take the stock of beef bullion). I had pre-marinated my cleaned beef with 2 cloves of garlic and a dash of pepper(optional). Since I was using cooking gas, I did not have the option to allow the beef to stew over the pot on an open fire for 5 hrs (as cooking gas is not easily available where I stay at now). Neither do I have an induction based cooking range. The recipe turned out close to what I had tasted at my stay in Praha.

Beef Stock

1. Pressure cook the marinated beef (crushed garlic -2 cloves and pepper - salt was not added at this stage as it tends to harden the meat, even when slow cooking, the salt is added later). Drain the pressure cooked beef over a clean vessel so as to retain the stock. I gathered 2 cups (just in case, you do not have to add both cups in the making of this soup- store the rest in a glass bottle/jar for later use)

Saute onions till lightly brown
 2. This process that I now mention is used both in slow cooking process or the method I follow. Heat a large clay pot or non-stick pan, add some ExtraVirgin olive oil or butter(I added the EVOO as RR says:) ) and saute your onions till slightly brown as shown. Take out the onions and add the beef to the same pot allowing for browning. Then add the onions, green pepper and crushed garlic. Saute well. Cover and allow it to brown for the next 4-5 mins on medium flame.

3. Add the caraway seeds, oregano or marjoram, salt and stock(in the slow cooking process, beef bullion stock is used wherein the cubes are added to warm water and dissolved but I preferred making mine from scratch as its less saltier and I did not want to keep adjusting salt levels. Some cooks also just add water to the beef and allow it to stew thereby creating its own stock). Cover and allow cooking over the next 1-2 hrs on a low flame.

4. Check after the first hour on the status of the beef, stock level, etc. I added the first cup of my tomato puree at this stage. You can also add additional paprika if you like a more punchy/spicy taste. Some also use red peppers and lots of it. So that is optional too as per your family/guests needs. You can also add more oregano here if you like. I did.

Green Pepper goes in!
5. In the last half hour of the 2 hrs, add the cubed potatoes and give it a stir and then close again to allow the potatoes to blend in. You can also mash a few potatoes once cooked and give it a stir. You can also add cubed carrots but as I was trying to follow my taste to see if it turns out as per what I had in Praha, I did not add it this time! Maybe the next time:) I added  half a cup of additional stock here which I later learnt was not required. So next time just 1 cup of stock!

Toss in the potatoes
Some recipes has called for add in flour mixed with water to allow thickening but I certainly did not taste that in my dish. Some recipes also called for an addition of sour cream before serving. I did not add this however mashing of some of the potatoes I understand from experience allows for thickening. Also ensuring you do not add stock more that what is required otherwise the beef and veggies would be floating in clear soup!

Serve with dumplings, noodles or pasta of your choice! I have a few of my vegetarian friends and non-beef eaters - you can try this recipee with chicken, lamb or mutton(only if you get a good cut) or mushrooms/soya. Do let me know how it turns out! You can also try the Goulash with beef and pork!
Goulash soup ready!

This was what was for lunch this afternoon! I read that the Goulash soup gets better in flavour when tried the next day so I will wait and see what my hubby darlin' has to say about his Goulash soup for lunch tomorrow as I have plenty left for the three of us for tomorrow's lunch. Do try this out and let me know what you think my readers! Enjoy...Bon Appetit...


  1. This would be a great dish for a slow cooker, if onions and meat are browned separately, then same recipe for the rest!

  2. Yes Anonymous you are right. True this dish is meant for a slow cooker. Unfortunately at this stage I did not have that option. In fact, trying this dish using a pressure cooker at first and then the normal process will not be as good as it would throughout using a slow cooker. The soup would be more flavourful and thicker as well in a slow cooking process. Thanks for the comment - you are my first! Do keep the suggestions and comments coming in. Appreciate the same.


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