AskDefine | Define goulash

Dictionary Definition

goulash n : a rich meat stew highly seasoned with paprika [syn: Hungarian goulash, gulyas]

User Contributed Dictionary



From gulyás.


  1. A stew of beef or veal and vegetables, flavoured with paprika and sour cream.


A stew of beef or veal and vegetables, flavoured with paprika and sour cream
  • Croatian: gulaš
  • Finnish: gulassi
  • German: Gulasch

Extensive Definition

Goulash is a (sometimes) spicy dish, originally from Hungary, usually made of beef, onions, red peppers, and paprika powder. Its name comes from Hungarian gulyás (pronounced goo-yash), the word for a cattle stockman or herdsman.

In Hungary


In Hungary, gulyás or gulyásleves is traditionally prepared as a soup. Meat is cut into chunks, seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika, and then browned in a pot with oil. Shank, shin or shoulder is used — goulash derives its thickness from tough, well-exercised muscles rich in collagen, which is converted to gelatin during the cooking process. Sliced onions, hot red peppers and garlic are added. After the meat is browned, water or stock is added and left to simmer. Some finely diced potatoes may be added to provide starch as they cook, making the soup thicker and smoother. Other herbs and spices may also be added, especially bay leaf, thyme and ground caraway seeds. A small amount of white wine or a very little wine vinegar can also be added near the end of cooking to round the taste.
Some cook books suggest using flour or cornstarch to thicken the soup, which produces a starchy texture and a blander taste. Others suggest using generous amounts of tomatoes for colour and taste. A small amount of tomatoes in the stock that is used, or a drop of tomato puree, may improve the taste and texture, but gulyás is a paprika-based dish and the taste of tomatoes should not be discernible. Many Hungarian chefs consider tomatoes to be absolutely forbidden in gulyás and they also feel that if they cook a stew instead of a soup, it should only be thickened by finely chopped potatoes, which must be simmered along with the meat.


Another Hungarian dish is pörkölt, a meat stew not usually referred to as gulyás in Hungarian. Pörkölt derives from the Hungarian verb "pörkölni" which means "to roast" or "to singe"
Pörkölt is almost always made of meat, onion, and paprika powder. Capsicum (bell peppers), tomatoes or tomato paste, and caraway seeds are common (though often debated) additions to the basic recipe. Any kinds of meat can be used when making pörkölt. Most common are beef, lamb, chicken and pork, but tripe and liver can also be used, or even fish.
A popular meal in traditional Hungarian cuisine is a pörkölt made of tripe, called pacalpörkölt. (Pacal is the Hungarian word for tripe). It has a unique and very distinguishable taste from other kinds of pörkölt, often being quite spicy.
If thick sour cream is added to pörkölt it will become what the Hungarians call a paprikás (Chicken paprikash). When making paprikás, only light meat like chicken, veal or pork, or mushrooms are used.
In Hungary pörkölt is almost always served with pasta (tészta) or some kind of dumpling, either tarhonya (pasta grains) or galuska/ nokedli.

Outside Hungary

Thick stews similar to pörkölt are popular throughout almost all the former Austrian-Hungarian Empire, from Northeast Italy to the Carpates. In Slovenia, they are known as Perkelt, but are often referred to as "goulash" or a similar name.
Like pörkölt, these stews are generally served with boiled or mashed potatoes, polenta, dumplings, or spatzle, or, alternatively, as a stand-alone dish with bread.

North American hamburger goulash

In the United States and Canada, various adaptations have made the dish more suitable for local preferences, with the result that American "goulash" often bears little or no resemblance to the Hungarian original. The amount of peppers and/or paprika is often drastically reduced or even left out altogether. Hamburger frequently replaces stew beef in American goulashes, which reduces the cost as well as the cooking time. The meat and onions are then placed in the kettle, the other ingredients are added and the dish might be ready to serve in as little time as 20 to 30 minutes. American goulash is commonly finished by the addition of noodles or pasta, with elbow macaroni cited in most recipes. This form of the dish was made popular by its inclusion in popular cookbooks in the twentieth century, such as Betty Crocker's Cookbook. It is often noted as a comfort food and also believed to gain in taste after being reheated, making it an ideal lunch food.
A dish made with macaroni, tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, onions, green peppers, and hamburger is often referred to as "goulash". This is an American dish with more in common with Italian pasta dishes than goulash. The dish normally does not use paprika at all, but does have a red color due to the tomatoes.

Other dishes

There are several other dishes with goulash in their name.
  • Goulash can also be cooked with mutton, to make mutton goulash (Hungarian birkagulyás)
  • Gypsy goulash, (Hungarian cigánygulyás or also hamisgulyás, Croatian and Serbian ciganski gulaš) is augmented with vegetables. Green and red bell peppers and carrots are most commonly used. Sometimes one or more other kinds of meat are added, e.g. pork loin, bacon, or mutton.
  • In partisan goulash, Slovenian partizanski golaž, favoured by Slovenian partisans during the Second World War, and still regularly served at mass public events; most meat is replaced with quartered potatoes. It's not as thick as goulash, but thicker than goulash soup. In German-speaking countries, this is made with sausage; Kartoffelgulasch (“potato goulash”) is a less-expensive goulash-substitute.
  • A quite different stew, prepared with pork and sauerkraut is known as Székelygulyás, named after county archivist József Székely (and not the Székely people of Transylvania, as is sometimes thought), and as "Szegedi Gulyás" in many of its neighbours.

Other uses

wikt Goulash


External links

cookbook Goulash cookbook Goulash Soup
goulash in Belarusian: Гуляш
goulash in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Гуляш
goulash in Bulgarian: Гулаш
goulash in Czech: Guláš
goulash in German: Gulasch
goulash in Spanish: Goulash
goulash in Esperanto: Gulaŝo
goulash in French: Goulash
goulash in Korean: 구야시
goulash in Italian: Gulash
goulash in Hebrew: גולאש
goulash in Hungarian: Gulyás (étel)
goulash in Dutch: Goulash
goulash in Japanese: グヤーシュ
goulash in Polish: Gulasz
goulash in Portuguese: Goulash
goulash in Russian: Гуляш
goulash in Serbian: Гулаш
goulash in Finnish: Gulassi
goulash in Swedish: Ungersk gulasch
goulash in Turkish: Gulaş
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