Porkolt, Hungarian Fish Stew
When my boss returned from our office in Budapest, he handed me two red packets of paprika. The developers we work with over there bought them for me because paprika is the most Hungarian thing that I could think of in terms of food. I’ll just have to wait until I visit them myself to experience and taste everything else.
I read that pÃ¶rkÃ¶lt is like ghoulash, a traditionally peasant and comforting dish for the Eastern Europeans. The most common version is to cook it with beef, but I used fish because I saw fresh Swai fillets in my grocery store. I also wanted to spend more time eating it with a glass of bold, red wine rather than actually cooking it.
Swai, or Vietnamese cat fish, or basa, are inexpensive at $3.99 a pound. But feel free to use any other firm, white fish. Swai fish retain flavor and stay moist when cooking, so I found them ideal for this recipe.
2 Swai fish fillets, sliced in smaller pieces
1 green bell pepper, seeds removed, julienned
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of regular paprika
2 tbsps of hot paprika
salt, pepper, oil
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet and sautÃ© garlic until golden brown and onions until translucent. Add tomato and green bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes while gently crushing the tomato. Season with paprika, salt and pepper. Remove everything to a plate and set aside.
2. Add a little bit more oil in the skillet. Cook fish fillet for about 3 minutes per side. Add the vegetables back and add 1/4 cup of water and lower the heat to simmer. You’re done when the water has somewhat reduced.
3. To serve, top with a dollop of sour cream. Eat this with rice, pasta or lightly toasted bread.
I’ve made a Hungarian recipe before: Beef with Vadas Sauce and Dumplings