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Help me understand the different grades and uses of Hungarian paprika!


Violin_guy
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In my reading, there are 8 grades of Hungarian paprika (this is cut and pasted from the Kitchn. Under what circumstances would I use one grade or another? Different dishes? Is one grade better for fish, one for poultry, one for game etc? Or is it just personal choice? Specifically, I would like to know which is best for fish, but overall I would like to gain an understanding in general. Any help is appreciated!

 

különleges (“special quality”; mild and most vibrant red)

csípősmentes csemege (delicate and mild)

csemege paprika(similar to the previous but more pungent)

csípős csemege (even more pungent), 

édesnemes (“noble sweet”; slightly pungent and bright red)

félédes (semi-sweet with medium pungency), 

rózsa(mildly pungent and pale red)

erős (hottest and light brown to orange)

 

Thank you!

 

Matt

aka Violin-guy

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I can't be specific. My maternal side was Hungary influenced - all  those border changes. In my experience you'll know if you like when you smell it, and freshness makes a huge difference. Stepmother's friend brings some back from her yearly trip to Hungary and it is lovely -  full fruity round smell and taste. I sneak some. My fish cookery trends more Asian/South Asian so I don't recall when I last used it there. Maybe with thresher shark.  As with many things, a trial run with scrambled eggs can help you with the differences and nuances. Have fun!

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1 hour ago, Violin_guy said:

Specifically, I would like to know which is best for fish ...

 

 

What kind of fish do you normally like to cook? I think that would make a difference in what kind of paprika (mild vs. pungent, etc.).

 

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2 minutes ago, Violin_guy said:

Carp.

Carp being akin to catfish might be nice with the famous Paul Prudhomme blackened prep which uses a sweet paprika. Yes Renee's is a nice seed source. 

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Wow carp. My parents were Hungarian and we ate a lot of carp at our house. My mother would poach it with carrots, onions, celery, etc. And then serve it cold. The liquid gelled. I could probably eat that again if someone put a gun to my head. (No offense - maybe yours is good.)  As for the paprika, I would go for the first one you listed - kulonleges - for everyday cooking (paprikas, gulyas) as it has the typical sweet paprika flavour that you are probably most familiar with. The others will have varying degrees of spiciness, bitterness. I would get a selection, maybe 3, the first one, then maybe one of the csipos types, and another - edesnemes possibly. (Sorry about the lack of accent marks.) Anyway funny you bring this up today - I just made a pot of beef gulyas (maybe more a porkolt, because it’s more stew than soup) with nockerle. Pandemic lockdown comfort food!

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What I am really after is someone with a really in-depth knowledge of hungarian paprika, that can explain the grades as listed above, and their individual uses.

 

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The original poster @Violin_guy wants more specific info but I offer this in general. He did mention that the only Time Life Foods of the World he does not have is The Cooking of the Viennese Empire. It has some lovely discussion of paprika which of course is an introduced New World food. (peppers tomatoes, etc)  What I remembered from long ago was the image of the drying peppers (attached below). He mentions growing his own peppers. Cool. As with all living things.- growing conditions have a profound influence as well as harvest timing and drying methods. The images are from fields near Szeged - the "paprika capital of Hungary". reputedly with ideal growing conditions. Hot dry summers, gentle spring rain, light fertile soil. The sweet and the hot are usually around this house. https://www.worldmarket.com/product/szeged-sweet-paprika.do

 

IMG_1552.JPG

IMG_1553.JPG

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10 minutes ago, Violin_guy said:

@BonVivant What does "Rose" refer to? I love the culinaria series, btw.


cf. your initial post ...

 

On 1/20/2021 at 8:07 PM, Violin_guy said:

rózsa(mildly pungent and pale red)

 

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@Duvel Thanks, can you go into detail? Do you mean that this is the paprika to use with carp, or any fish? Can you tell me why, or if rózsa paprika applies to any region of hungary, or is associated with a type of cooking? Also, is rózsa a particular variety of pepper, or more of grading system?

 

I'm keen to learn! Vielen dank!

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2 minutes ago, Violin_guy said:

@Duvel Thanks, can you go into detail? Do you mean that this is the paprika to use with carp, or any fish? Can you tell me why, or if rózsa paprika applies to any region of hungary, or is associated with a type of cooking? Also, is rózsa a particular variety of pepper, or more of grading system?

 

I'm keen to learn! Vielen dank!


I am not an expert on peppers, but @BonVivant suggested rose for your carp dish, which translates into rózsa in Hungarian.

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On 1/21/2021 at 6:07 AM, Violin_guy said:

In my reading, there are 8 grades of Hungarian paprika (this is cut and pasted from the Kitchn. Under what circumstances would I use one grade or another? Different dishes? Is one grade better for fish, one for poultry, one for game etc? Or is it just personal choice? Specifically, I would like to know which is best for fish, but overall I would like to gain an understanding in general. Any help is appreciated!

 

különleges (“special quality”; mild and most vibrant red)

csípősmentes csemege (delicate and mild)

csemege paprika(similar to the previous but more pungent)

csípős csemege (even more pungent), 

édesnemes (“noble sweet”; slightly pungent and bright red)

félédes (semi-sweet with medium pungency), 

rózsa(mildly pungent and pale red)

erős (hottest and light brown to orange)

 

Thank you!

 

Matt

aka Violin-guy

 

I don't know anything about the grade system but it looks like the system primarily includes the pungency/hot flavour: sweet<slightly pungent<pungent<hot and the colour: light brown to orange<pale red<bright red<vibrant red.

 

It is interesting that it doesn't seem to include smoked paprika, but maybe that's what they mean by pungent.

 

So if you are using it primarily for colour, not flavour (like deviled eggs) then go for something red. If you want a lot of heat use erős, and something in between then go for pungent. Aside from that I think you just need to try them to see what you like. I would guess the different pungency just means you have to adjust how much you add. I don't think I've ever seen paprika for sale or a recipe that called for anything other than sweet, hot, or smoked. I do see sweet smoked and hot smoked, though.

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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Yes sweet, hot and smoked are what we see. But like the vast array  of dried chile peppers used in Hispanic cuisines - there are nuances of great complexity. I  know - beating the dead horse - ya gotta try them. Not formulaic in my opinion unless you are following a very specific or traditional recipe that has been refined for a long time. Largely peasant food - you use what is available. And I use the term peasant with respect.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm afraid this is getting off topic. Sorry to be so specific, but I was referring to only the grades of Hungarian paprika. I still don't have an answer to my question in general, though I appreciate the input.  Under what circumstances would I use one grade or another? Different dishes? Is one grade better for fish, one for poultry, one for game etc? Or is it just personal choice? 

 

 

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