I visited Hungary a couple of times to stay with a guest family. They taught me a bit about Hungarian food and the Hungarian language and of course they cooked fantastic meals for me. One of my favourite dishes back then was gombás pörkölt, mushroom goulash. A similar dish popular in Hungary is gomba paprikás, which means “mushrooms flavoured with paprika”.
I found a wonderful recipe for this speciality in Celia Brook Brown’s book Vegetarisch Kochen. (The English version is called World Vegetarian Cuisine). (Unfortunately the author mixes up Hungarian and Czech and calls the dish Houby Paprikas. Houby is the Czech word for mushrooms.) The original recipe (which you can find here) calls for sour cream to make a creamy sauce. I used soy milk, sunflower seeds, and cornstarch to make a vegan version. Made from the most basic ingredients it is creamy, mild, refreshing and comforting at the same time. I served it with store-bought whole wheat spätzle, which may be hard to find outside of Germany and Austria. Use whatever pasta you have on hand instead of the spätzle.
Gomba Paprikás (serves 2)
1 t canola or olive oil
200 g white button mushrooms, chopped into dice
1 small onion, diced
3/4 cup soy milk
2 T sunflower seeds
1 T cornstarch
2 t good quality sweet Hungarian paprika (substitute mild smoked paprika for a slighly different version)
juice of 1/2 small lemon
1 t agave nectar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t dried dill
1 T freshly chopped parsley
Cooked pasta for serving
In a large pan heat the oil. Add onion and fry on high heat for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Reduce heat to medium and add mushrooms. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes until the mushrooms release their liquid and start to brown.
Meanwhile prepare the sauce: Combine sunflower seeds with 2-3 T of soy milk and process until creamy and smooth. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Add to the mushrooms and cook until the sauce has thickened to a desired consistency, slightly thick and creamy (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in dill and parsley. Combine with prepared pasta and serve immediately.