Secrets to Cooking The Best Goulash Like The Czechs

cooking gulas
Photo from

Looking for tips on cooking Goulash? Known also as Gulas, it’s a delicacy often made of pork, beef, or chicken. However, it is not easy to find a good recipe that works for everyone.

The Czechs know how to cook good Gulas or Goulash, but their recipes are a sacred secret. They want to keep them that way.

So, how do you choose when you get a dozen recipes all claiming to be the best ones?

This guide will walk you through all aspects of making Gulas as the Czechs do, from preparation and ingredients to best practices for reheating and serving.

Key Tips for Cooking Goulash:

1. The Meat

Although practically any meat, including pork, and chicken can be cooked into Goulash (like the experts on Saveur say), beef is the classic and perhaps the most popular choice. Although Goulash may be made with calf, hog, or lamb, this meal is primarily made with beef. What counts most is the cut and how it is used. 

Meat that is lean and fibrous, such as reheating steak or silverside, will simply not be enough. Even chuck, brisket, and stewing steak are texturally lacking. On the other hand, shin is good because when sensitive, it turns gelatinous.  

2. The Paprika

Paprika is a spice that comes from grinding up dried peppers. It can be eaten raw, used as a cooking ingredient, or it can just be added to food as a garnish while cooking. There are also regional differences when it comes to paprika. In American cuisine, the most common use of paprika is in deviled eggs and sauces, and stews.

Paprika is used in many—if not most—Hungarian dishes as a flavor, and it’s mandatory when cooking Goulash. It can be smoked or unsmoked, sweet or savory, and can have a more robust flavor than other paprika types. Mild to sweet paprika is generally preferred In a Hungarian dish. 

3. The Gravy

Flour is a typical addition, and it’s excellent in generating a genuinely thick, rich sauce for the stew. Though purists may scoff, thickeners aren’t necessarily essential in a soup if it’s perfect enough for you.

cooking Goulash
Goulash. Photo from

4. Follow the Right Steps

The first step when cooking Goulash is to heat the oil and let the beef get brown on all sides for the next few mins before removing it (setting it aside) and frying the onions. You now need to add chili peppers, paprika, and caraway seeds.

Let the spices combine throughout the frying process.

Sprinkle meat with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Now is the time to incorporate the roux; a roux is a mixture of melted fat and flour, which is used as the base for many savory dishes such as sauces, soups, stews, gravy, and stocks. So, when you are done adding the roux, it’s time to cover garlic with water.

Cover and cook, then reduce to low heat and boil for around two hours. Soon, the sauce will thicken, and the meat will become soft and fall off. Add marjoram once it’s rich and the meat is cooked. Goulash is now ready to be served.

5. Bring Variations to The Recipe with These Simple Tips

  • Use a large pot since this recipe yields a lot!
  • To make this dinner even lighter, use ground turkey for the ground beef.
  • Consider adding more vegetables such as corn, peas, sliced carrots, green beans, or even fresh basil towards the end!
  • To make the foundation of this dish even creamier, add a cup of sour cream towards the end.
  • The Goulash isn’t quite soupy, but if you want to add more beef stew to make it runnier, go ahead!

How to Cook Your Gulas Like a Professional Chef?

If you’re making gulas, or any other dish, to impress your friends and family, you want it to look as good as it tastes. To do this, follow these tips:

  • Cut your meat into the same-sized pieces.
  • Cut the vegetables into the same-sized pieces.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pot.  

Why Is Goulash So Popular?

Gulás has been around for centuries, and the portable nature of the dish is what has helped it spread like wildfire. From Bratislava, Vienna, and Prague into many other cities, making its way from a peasant dish to tables of royalty.

Pepper consumption in Europe started as early as the 16th century – probably via the Turkish invasion. It then spread to other parts of Europe and Central America and eventually Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, some Asiatic countries, and Japan.

The paprika powder was widely accepted because of its strong flavor and vibrant color. Today, it has evolved into what everyone knows as Goulash with a more complex flavor and a significant amount of added depth thanks to different compositions beyond just flavor & color.

Wrapping Up

You can’t use the same recipe for beef that you do for fish or pasta. Likewise, there’s no one way to cook Goulash, either. Every culture has its spin on this stew-like dish, from pork to veal to beef or even turkey. Enjoy cooking your Goulash!


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