There are a number of Hungarian type of food which follows these steps:
- fry onion on some fat
- put powdered paprika (and salt and pepper) and stuff into it
Basically they all the same without much variation of the ingredients (the stuff from the above).
If you use only potato than it's potato paprikash (''paprikáskrumpli').
If you use meat only, than it's a pörkölt
(sometimes translated to stew, sometimes called goulash by foreigners).
If you make a pörkölt
and put potato into it with more water, than it's a gulyás
You could observe I put fresh paprika and tomato into the gulyás
. If I only use those without the meat and the potato I get lecsó
If I use bits of chicken (upper wing, drumsticks etc) to make a pörkölt
and add sour cream (smetana) then I get chicken paprikash (paprikás csirke
If I use fish and nothing else (actually it's a bit more complex than that) and maybe some pasta then I get fisherman's soup (halászlé
Etc. there are some other combinations, and a number of variety of the above.
Basically the core idea is poverty/plebeian food. What people always had in the pantry was fat/lard, onions and potato (I'm not sure how rare was the paprika - and we are talking about the late Hungarian middle, also early modern and modern ages - but even poorest peasants had a small strip of garden where they could grow those, drying and grinding was trivial after that). All the other ingredients was added if they had those. The herdsmen of cattle (cowboys, gulyások
) always had meat. Those living along the Danube and the Tisza rivers always had fish (the two main centre of fisherman's soup is Baja at the Danube and Szeged at the Tisza, latter is close to the "citadel" of paprika production: Makó).