Thursday, July 3, 2014

Recipes July 4th Hungarian Vegetarian Appetizers Celebrate America's Great Melting Pot

Good Food

by Benny Balazs
Lifestyle Writer

Simple Hungarian Vegetarian 4th of July Recipes


Mason Jar Table Setting, Janis Brett-Elspas,
Independence Day is the holiday when we Americans recall the bravery that makes our country great as well as embrace the many cultural influences brought here by legal immigrants who all contributed to the Melting Pot. It's also a day that calls for revelry, quality time with loved ones, and of course, bellies full of great food. 

Hungarian Fried Mushroom, Benny Balazs,
No pun intended -- If there’s a place where hungry adults and kids can be truly satisfied, it’s Hungary. More so, when it comes to fried food, Hungarians make the best, and the recipes from the old country in this post are no different. As for all you soccer fans out there, I suggest you work off as much of that pre-game nosh as you can before diving into these delicious Hungarian delights that will bring the 4th of July spirit right to your taste buds.

Time to Make Hungarian Fried Mushrooms, Benny Balazs,
We actually are going to be making two tasty vegetarian-friendly treats and both serve the purpose of easing those salivating palates of yours. Each of these are recipes that have been passed down in my family which is Hungarian on both my father's and mother's sides.

The first recipe is Longosh, a classic food that is best described as the Hungarian equivalent of French Fries. They’re easy to make, found everywhere in Hungary, and make for a quick, delicious snack. The second, a favored summer dish in my ancestors' homeland, is fried mushrooms. Hungarian restaurants will often have some type of fried mushroom on the menu to the uniquely light taste that the locals can't seem to get enough of. 


Hungarian Longosh, Benny Balazs,


Prep Time: 10 Minutes

What you'll need
  • Pizza dough is an easy pick you can grab at the market 
  • Vegetable Oil is a good choice so that your lángos don't retain much oily taste 
1. Cut pizza dough into pieces around the size of your palm.
2. Pull at edges of each piece, stretching the dough out -- not to worry about eveness
3. Grab a pan and add vegetable oil, when it’s heated, drop in pieces,one by one
4. Fry lángos until golden brown on both sides, carefully remove from pan
5. When done, drop onto a plate with paper towels, to soak up excess oil 

You can put all kinds of toppings on these bad boys. Classic Hungarian cuisine calls for sour cream or garlic, which bring this dish to the more savory side of things. If that’s not your pot of pie, you can just eat them plain, as they taste quite amazingly delicious on their own.

Hungarian Fried Mushrooms, Benny Balazs,
Hungarian Fried Mushrooms

Prep Time: 25 minutes 

What you’ll need
  • 20 White Mushrooms
  • 3 Eggs
  • Flour (Whole Wheat/White)
  • Breadcrumbs (Flavored/Plain)*
  • Salt
  • Vegetable Oil 
* A blend of flavored and plain breadcrumbs is recommended so as to not overwhelm this dish's delicate taste

Mushrooms cleaned & hollowed, Benny Balazs,
1. Clean the mushrooms by peeling that thin layer off the heads of each one 
2. Remove the stem from mushrooms, since you’re going to use that newly made pit as the housing for toppings
3. Coat mushrooms in flour, which should have some salt added  
4. Whip the eggs up then dunk floured mushrooms into that mix, which should also have some salt added to it 

Breaded mushrooms ready to fry, Benny Balazs,

5. Next cover as much of each mushroom as possible with breadcrumbs. It should stick easily to the now eggy surface.
6. Plop them carefully into hot oil in frying pan, and cook until golden brown on both sides. 
7. Drop onto a plate with paper towels on it to absorb excess oil. 

Always use fresh produce, Benny Balazs,
California Guacamole Topping

As good as these fried mushrooms taste on their own, the recipe I like best as a Californian includes guacamole, which is one of the most complimentary toppings for the dish. Don't be tempted to buy ready-made guacamole at the store, this recipe is ridiculously easy and only takes a few minutes to make and is way more savory. 

What you'll need
  •  ½ of a purple onion, chopped 
  • ¼ bundle of fresh cilantro
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 medium-sized whole tomatoes
  • ½ a lime, squeezed
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground lemon-pepper
Mix all of these topping ingredients together in a bowl, adding more avocados if more thickness is desired. Place spoonfuls of guacamole on top of each fried mushroom and take a bite into the fantastical world of fried heaven!
Unicum from Hungary, Janis Brett Elspas,
Both these fun fried food recipes are just a small taste of the ever-so-rich Hungarian cuisine, which happens to be one of the greatest parts of this Eastern European culture. These treats make for perfect appetizers to feed family and guests while you fire up your Fourth of July BBQ.

Benny Balazs,
You probably won't have any leftovers either, because these are destined to be a pure gastronomical delight all around. Once you serve these, just sit back, enjoy your celebration and get ready to hear the compliments fly.

A special thank you to my Dad for editing my photos for this post and to my Mom for helping me whip up these succulent appetizers in the kitchen!

Jó étvágyat! (Bon Appétit!)

Shot Glass from Budapest, Hungary, Janis Brett Elspas,

About the Author
Californian Benny Balazs comes from a Hungarian family on both sides and describes himself as a writer by day and a singer by night. A newly-minted graduate, he received his high school's top music award, was a member of an a cappella group, editor in chief of a student literary magazine and originated/wrote a newspaper column as well a school play.  Following his passion for performing and literary arts, he hopes to join an a cappella group soon and aspires to write a book.

Please Leave a Comment And Share
Try these recipes out and then tell us what you think. Also feel free to share how you are honoring your family's cultural lineage this Fourth of July.

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