Chicken Paprikash with Nokedli (Csirke Paprikás)


Tender chicken paprikash stewed with onion, peppers, and Hungarian Paprika, served over a bed of nokedli dumplings.

I love a thick hearty gulyás or a link of kolbász with székelykáposzta and have at times wondered if I may have been Hungarian in a past life. Or perhaps it’s just the convivial familiarity stemming from linguistic similarities with my mother tongue.

If you’re scratching your head wondering what Japanese and Hungarian could possibly share in common, allow me to elaborate. Japanese is an Altaic language along with Korean and Turkish. Hungarian is a Uralic language along with Finnish. Some linguists noted similarities between the two families and lumped them together as a Ural-Altaic family of languages. This hints at the possibility that Hungarians and Japanese may have had common ancestors that spoke the same proto-language back in the day.

Given the spread of East Asians through the region first by Huns and then by Mongols, the language similarities aren’t so surprising. While Japan was never technically conquered by the Mongols, there’s certainly some shared lineage if you go back far enough (I’ve even been mistaken for Mongolian on more than one occasion).

So with distant ancestral heritage established, I give you Paprikás Csirke (chicken paprikash) with Nokedli. It’s a great simple weeknight meal that only takes about an hour to prepare and rewards the palette with fall-off-the-bone chicken smothered in a rich onion pepper sauce. Because the paprika plays such a central role in the flavour of this dish, make sure you use real Hungarian sweet paprika.

To get the most flavour into this dish in a short amount of time, I did a couple of things. First, the skin-on chicken thighs are browned in a pan without a non-stick coating, this forms a thick layer of brown fond on the bottom of the pan. Think of the crusty brown “fond” as pure umami-laden chicken flavor. Then a lot of onions and bell pepper are added to the pot to release the fond from the pan, and add their own aromatic flavours. By cooking them until they are soft, it changes the flavour of the onions through a Maillard reaction, adding more depth and sweetness to the dish.

The paprika goes in for a quick fry to release the fragrant oils and then the chicken is added back with just a small amount of stock to bring it all together. The chicken and onions will release more moisture as they cook, so there’s no need to add a ton of liquid. This also helps make the sauce taste like it’s been cooking for hours since the flavours are much more concentrated. At the very end, a bit of yogurt and flour are mixed in to add some creaminess and body (sour cream is more authentic, but yogurt is what I had on hand). When adding the yogurt, it’s important to temper it first by adding increasing quantities of hot liquid to the yogurt, rather than dumping cold yogurt straight into a hot pot (a guaranteed way of making it curdle).

I like to serve this with Nokedli which is a Hungarian dumpling that’s very similar to the German Spätzle. While it’s traditionally made by hand shaping each piece, I’m not up for that kind of commitment, so I run the soft dough through a potato ricer, which extrudes perfectly rustic looking dumplings that could almost pass for Gemelli. A few squirts of dough into the boiling water and you’ll have enough Nokedli to feed 2 people in less time that it took you to read this paragraph.

The dumplings are a golden eggy yellow, with a dense chewy texture that compliments this dish perfectly. They’re also fantastic just tossed in butter with a little salt, pepper and cheese.

Chicken Paprikash

for paprikas
2-3 lbs bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
salt and pepper
2 large onions chopped
1 green bell pepper or 2 Anaheim peppers chopped
1/4 C paprika
1 C chicken stock
1/2 C plain yogurt (or sour cream)
1 Tbs flour

for nokedli
1 C flour
2 large eggs
2-4 Tbs plain yogurt

Heat a heavy bottomed pot until very hot. Add a splash of oil then add the chicken, skin side down. Fry undisturbed until it is well browned then flip and brown the other side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and add the onions and bell peppers. Fry until soft scrapping up the browned bits of fond from the chicken.

Add the paprika and continue frying for 2 minutes or until the paprika is very fragrant. Add the chicken stock and return the chicken to the pot, pushing them to the bottom of the pot. Turn down heat to medium low and simmer covered until the chicken is very tender and falls off the bone when prodded with a fork.

To make the nokedli, put the flour in a bowl and add the eggs, one at a time mixing to combine. Add the yogurt 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is very wet and soft (about the texture of soft mochi), but not runny. Let the dough rest while the chicken cooks.

When the chicken is almost done, boil a large pot full of salted water. The easiest way to make the dumplings is to use a potato ricer fitted with a plate that has big holes spaced far apart. Just load the dough and extrude little blobs into the boiling water. If you don’t have a ricer, you can do this with a spoon as well, flicking small bits of dough off the side of the spoon. They are done when they float to the top. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl containing some butter or olive oil tossing after each addition and covering with foil to keep warm.

Mix 1/2 C plain yogurt with the flour. Add a few spoonfuls of the braising liquid in the pot to the yogurt mixture and combine. Continue adding liquid from the pot to the yogurt and mixing until the yogurt mixture is warm. This tempers the yogurt preventing it from curdling. It also adds more liquid to the flour preventing it from forming lumps. Pour it all back into the pot and stir to combine. When the sauce thickens it is ready to serve.

  • http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com/ Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,C

    Marc, this is getting spooky! I just made Chicken Paprikas with Nokedli last night! Haven’t even taken the photos yet. My recipe is quite different from yours, though. Thank goodness! I love your nokedli. The potato ricer works really well. I have a nokedli press that a friend brought from Hungary. It makes much smaller dumplings.

  • http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy

    Marc, this is getting spooky! I just made Chicken Paprikas with Nokedli last night! Haven’t even taken the photos yet. My recipe is quite different from yours, though. Thank goodness! I love your nokedli. The potato ricer works really well. I have a nokedli press that a friend brought from Hungary. It makes much smaller dumplings.

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com/ sharon

    Great post. My husband is from Hungarian descent so we once tried to do a Hungarian dinner. I couldn’t find any recipe that sounded appetizing and/or didn’t require very obscure ingredients. Looks like this is the one! Thank you :)

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com sharon

    Great post. My husband is from Hungarian descent so we once tried to do a Hungarian dinner. I couldn’t find any recipe that sounded appetizing and/or didn’t require very obscure ingredients. Looks like this is the one! Thank you :)

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ we are never full

    a fave around these parts! thank you so much for highlighting that you really need to use hungarian paprika in this dish. it’s true!

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    a fave around these parts! thank you so much for highlighting that you really need to use hungarian paprika in this dish. it’s true!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    And you knew all this linguistic trivia I hope not off the top of your head, ha ha! Filipinos in general are almost completely unfamiliar with this kind of cuisine. I’ve been dying to try– it looks very intriguing and delicious of course. Haven’t felt compelled to get a potato ricer (hence me pressing mashed potatoes through a sieve…)

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    And you knew all this linguistic trivia I hope not off the top of your head, ha ha! Filipinos in general are almost completely unfamiliar with this kind of cuisine. I’ve been dying to try– it looks very intriguing and delicious of course. Haven’t felt compelled to get a potato ricer (hence me pressing mashed potatoes through a sieve…)

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ Elra

    Whoa Marc, I love this Hungarian classic specialty. It’s probably my favorite chicken dish ever. I am in awe! oh, you made your own nokedl, and what a clever idea using potato masher…
    Cheers,
    Elra

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com Elra

    Whoa Marc, I love this Hungarian classic specialty. It’s probably my favorite chicken dish ever. I am in awe! oh, you made your own nokedl, and what a clever idea using potato masher…
    Cheers,
    Elra

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    oooh i’m intrigued. this is like something i saw on Market Kitchen once..looks so yummy. Argh, that sauce is just tempting me….x

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    oooh i’m intrigued. this is like something i saw on Market Kitchen once..looks so yummy. Argh, that sauce is just tempting me….x

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com/ Pigpigscorner

    I’ve never had this before! Using 1/4C of paprika! The flavours must be wonderful! I’m bookmarking this!

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com/ Pigpigscorner

    I’ve never had this before! Using 1/4C of paprika! The flavours must be wonderful! I’m bookmarking this!

  • http://www.sweetsfoods.com/ Gera @ SweetsFoods

    Marc, as big fan of paprika I must try when I can this Hungarian dish.
    Looks so delicious and exquisite!

    Cheers!
    Gera

  • http://www.sweetsfoods.com/ Gera @ SweetsFoods

    Marc, as big fan of paprika I must try when I can this Hungarian dish.
    Looks so delicious and exquisite!

    Cheers!
    Gera

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    The nokedli look great. I’ve never tried making dumplings like this. And, the chicken looks amazing too. The flavor must be fantastic.

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    The nokedli look great. I’ve never tried making dumplings like this. And, the chicken looks amazing too. The flavor must be fantastic.

  • http://colloquialcookin.canalblog.com/ colloquial cook

    I love the idea of using a potato ricer for your Hungarian spätzli! Very clever… Keep the linguistic digressions up for the linguists out there :-)

  • http://colloquialcookin.canalblog.com/ colloquial cook

    I love the idea of using a potato ricer for your Hungarian spätzli! Very clever… Keep the linguistic digressions up for the linguists out there :-)

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ Elra

    Marc,
    I tagged you, hope you don’t mind. Pls visit me at my cooking site.
    Cheers,
    Elra

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com Elra

    Marc,
    I tagged you, hope you don’t mind. Pls visit me at my cooking site.
    Cheers,
    Elra

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com/ Heather

    I love this. You established your link to eastern Europe the same way I established mine to western Asia. We’re practically kin.

    I have a (potato) ricer, and never thought to use it for spätzle. This is too easy.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    I love this. You established your link to eastern Europe the same way I established mine to western Asia. We’re practically kin.

    I have a (potato) ricer, and never thought to use it for spätzle. This is too easy.

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com/ The Duo Dishes

    A little history with a great meal…thanks for revving up our minds and tummies!

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com The Duo Dishes

    A little history with a great meal…thanks for revving up our minds and tummies!

  • Elisabeth

    Hello, my family is Hungarian. I spent Christmas in Sorkifalud with them. Though definitely not my great aunt’s, your csirke paprikás looks amazing. I gotta say… that language (Magyar) is nuts. I speak 3 languages fluently and it’s really strange grammatically. But, if you ever get the chance to go, there’s a place called Szombathely which is about an hour from Vienna… so, very close to Austria. God Himself makes the ice cream there. Every day. It’s amazing.

    The village (tiny village… 20 miles from the nearest small town) where they live… Sorkifalud… is the best place I’ve ever been too… and, I live in France right now. There’s nothing in the village but those who live there, a post office, a small store, bar, and a little bank. The people are content and you can really breathe there, if you know what I mean.

    The best part is that at 6 pm everyday (unless it’s a holiday) a bread truck comes through the village and brings fresh bread.

    Thanks for this post. You wrote it just for me, I feel like. Plus you mentioned Koreans briefly and well, I’m Korean. My grandfather is a Hungarian immigrant. He sailed for 2 weeks from Hungary to New York. He helped cook on the ship. When he landed at New York Harbor, they gave him 2 bucks, a pack of Lucky Stripes, and a stick of gum. Sent him on his way.

    He has cancer, so he thinks he’ll never get to go back home to see his family, but he keeps Magyar tradition alive via his cooking. His sister still cooks on a wood burning stove. She baked me a cake while I was there and it was amazing.

  • Elisabeth

    Hello, my family is Hungarian. I spent Christmas in Sorkifalud with them. Though definitely not my great aunt’s, your csirke paprikás looks amazing. I gotta say… that language (Magyar) is nuts. I speak 3 languages fluently and it’s really strange grammatically. But, if you ever get the chance to go, there’s a place called Szombathely which is about an hour from Vienna… so, very close to Austria. God Himself makes the ice cream there. Every day. It’s amazing.

    The village (tiny village… 20 miles from the nearest small town) where they live… Sorkifalud… is the best place I’ve ever been too… and, I live in France right now. There’s nothing in the village but those who live there, a post office, a small store, bar, and a little bank. The people are content and you can really breathe there, if you know what I mean.

    The best part is that at 6 pm everyday (unless it’s a holiday) a bread truck comes through the village and brings fresh bread.

    Thanks for this post. You wrote it just for me, I feel like. Plus you mentioned Koreans briefly and well, I’m Korean. My grandfather is a Hungarian immigrant. He sailed for 2 weeks from Hungary to New York. He helped cook on the ship. When he landed at New York Harbor, they gave him 2 bucks, a pack of Lucky Stripes, and a stick of gum. Sent him on his way.

    He has cancer, so he thinks he’ll never get to go back home to see his family, but he keeps Magyar tradition alive via his cooking. His sister still cooks on a wood burning stove. She baked me a cake while I was there and it was amazing.

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com/ Syrie

    I am SO excited about this recipe. THANK YOU! I went to an abysmal Ukrainian restaurant last week which had really high reviews with people raving about the Paprika and dumplings. It was hideous. The chicken was old and the “dumplings” were slices bread. I vowed to make my own paprika and rid my mind of the terrible experience. Yours on the other hand looks fantastic and I’ll be trying it hopefully this weekend albeit with a spoon to make the dumplings.

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com Syrie

    I am SO excited about this recipe. THANK YOU! I went to an abysmal Ukrainian restaurant last week which had really high reviews with people raving about the Paprika and dumplings. It was hideous. The chicken was old and the “dumplings” were slices bread. I vowed to make my own paprika and rid my mind of the terrible experience. Yours on the other hand looks fantastic and I’ll be trying it hopefully this weekend albeit with a spoon to make the dumplings.

  • http://kaffee-klatsch.blogspot.com/ Magi

    My father is Hungarian and absolutely loves nokedli. It’s his favorite side dish. There used to be a wonderful Hungarian restaurant and importer in NYC called Paprikas Weiss. I’ve made their Paprikash as well as their goulash. I also have a great recipe for Lescó. I’ve posted the Lescó recipe in the past. I really recommend it.

    Thanks for the nokedli trips. I plan on trying them out.

    http://kaffee-klatsch.blogspot.com/2007/05/favorite-ingredients-friday_25.html

  • http://kaffee-klatsch.blogspot.com Magi

    My father is Hungarian and absolutely loves nokedli. It’s his favorite side dish. There used to be a wonderful Hungarian restaurant and importer in NYC called Paprikas Weiss. I’ve made their Paprikash as well as their goulash. I also have a great recipe for Lescó. I’ve posted the Lescó recipe in the past. I really recommend it.

    Thanks for the nokedli trips. I plan on trying them out.

    http://kaffee-klatsch.blogspot.com/2007/05/favorite-ingredients-friday_25.html

  • http://www.buffchickpea.com/ Hayley

    That nokedli looks so tasty, and really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.buffchickpea.com Hayley

    That nokedli looks so tasty, and really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://immaeatchu.wordpress.com/ susan

    hi there! your chicken paprikash sounds like a delicious quick meal. i need more quick meal ideas for the weekdays. i’ve only made spaetzle and i love it for its simplicity and quick preparation. not to mention very affordable when entertaining. i definitely want to try out your nokedli recipe though because it uses yogurt which sounds delicious.

  • http://immaeatchu.wordpress.com susan

    hi there! your chicken paprikash sounds like a delicious quick meal. i need more quick meal ideas for the weekdays. i’ve only made spaetzle and i love it for its simplicity and quick preparation. not to mention very affordable when entertaining. i definitely want to try out your nokedli recipe though because it uses yogurt which sounds delicious.

  • http://blog.lemonpi.net/ Y

    Looks unbelievably good. I love spaetzle, especially when lightly panfried. Great photo, of that nokedli being made!

  • http://blog.lemonpi.net Y

    Looks unbelievably good. I love spaetzle, especially when lightly panfried. Great photo, of that nokedli being made!

  • http://www.takeitlikeit.blogspot.com/ CourtJ

    Is it weird that I find the Nokedli really cute? I’m sure they were delicious too.

  • http://www.takeitlikeit.blogspot.com CourtJ

    Is it weird that I find the Nokedli really cute? I’m sure they were delicious too.

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com/ Stacey Snacks

    Marc,
    This came out beautiful. I am not a spaetzle lover (or gnocchi for some reason), but I would try yours!

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com Stacey Snacks

    Marc,
    This came out beautiful. I am not a spaetzle lover (or gnocchi for some reason), but I would try yours!

  • http://chefsgonewild.blogspot.com/ Zenchef

    You’re a blogging machine! I can’t keep up with you! [waving a white flag].. Having said that, don’t stop! It all looks wonderful.

  • http://chefsgonewild.blogspot.com Zenchef

    You’re a blogging machine! I can’t keep up with you! [waving a white flag].. Having said that, don’t stop! It all looks wonderful.

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com/ Syrie

    Marc, I made this last night for dins. It was fantastic. The chicken was fall off the bone stuff and everything tasted great. I didn’t have time to make dumplings so I served mashed potatoes. Thanks for a great recipe.

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com Syrie

    Marc, I made this last night for dins. It was fantastic. The chicken was fall off the bone stuff and everything tasted great. I didn’t have time to make dumplings so I served mashed potatoes. Thanks for a great recipe.

  • http://bvcnguyen.blogspot.com/ BV

    the method of producing the nokedli is pure genius!

  • http://bvcnguyen.blogspot.com/ BV

    the method of producing the nokedli is pure genius!

  • http://www.kalofagas.ca/ Peter

    Marc, i just got a ricer and indeed, I’m going to try your method. I made some chicken paprikash last night as well…we’ve got the same hunger pangs!

  • http://www.kalofagas.ca Peter

    Marc, i just got a ricer and indeed, I’m going to try your method. I made some chicken paprikash last night as well…we’ve got the same hunger pangs!

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com/ _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    You hooked me with “proto-language”. (Linguist minor in university.) ;)

    And LOL re nokedli: “I’m not up for that kind of commitment.”

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    You hooked me with “proto-language”. (Linguist minor in university.) ;)

    And LOL re nokedli: “I’m not up for that kind of commitment.”

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  • Linda

    Your recipe is somewhat different than the one my mother who first language is Hungarian (she’s 97) and has been the source of all knowledge of Hungarian food in our family. No green pepper ( the paprika does the trick) and you need 2 chopped up skinned tomatoes. More sour cream ( not yogurt) would be make it creamier and more authentic. Yumm.

  • Linda

    Your recipe is somewhat different than the one my mother who first language is Hungarian (she’s 97) and has been the source of all knowledge of Hungarian food in our family. No green pepper ( the paprika does the trick) and you need 2 chopped up skinned tomatoes. More sour cream ( not yogurt) would be make it creamier and more authentic. Yumm.

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  • Gere

    I love chicken paprikash and definitely, sour cream is necessary, not yogurt. I make my spatzles different also and when I cook them, I use a unit which is made to form the spatzles. It can be bought almost at any store on line and is not expensive. Works great.

  • http://chef-sisters.blogspot.com/ Chefsister

    i have never felt so proud to be a Hungarian:) great recipe and what a clever way with the nokedli! you can find some other Hungarian recipe on my blog – they are in “Magyar”, but the pictures tell a lot though!

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  • Linda

    It is even better if you first fry three slices of bacon cut into approx. 1″ pieces.  Do not remove the bacon when it is done,  Just throw in the chicken.  Also you don’t need to add any liquid,  Just cut up one regular sized tomato.  That will provide plenty of liquid and flavor.  I learned how to make this dish from both my mom and grandmother who are both from Hungary.  I should add that I agree with Gere that sour cream is essential.

  • Pam Pohl

    This recipe is wonderful with no green peppers. You just can’t buy anything like the dumplings. They are out of this world. I didn’t have yogurt and substituted sour cream in both the dumplings and the chicken. YUM!  Thanks for the great meal!

  • Csbraswell

    I made this dish tonight and it was great. The noodles where awesome. I willmake this again 

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  • Guest

    I made this with fat-free Greek yogurt, following the instructions carefully. The sauce ended up looking mealy. Is it because the yogurt was fat-free?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      It sounds like your yogurt curdled. I’m not sure if this was because it was greek yogurt, but it shouldn’t matter that it’s fat-free. Did you slowly add the hot sauce into the yogurt before adding it to the pot? Was the warm sauce/yogurt mixture mealy before adding it to the pot? Was the sauce boiling when you added the yogurt?

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  • Zoltán

    Hi!

    I am Hungarian, and I just laughing all the “Hungarian” recipes written by people from other country, but your version is almost authentical. Congrats!
    I highly recommend you to use sour creme and the more fat it contains the better. In Hungary all dish used pork/duck/goose fat/lard instead of olive/sunflower oil, and it is still a great practice if you want a really tasty dish.
    We add the onion before the meat. So…

    – fry the onion on some fat/oil

    – if the onion turned glassy, add the paprika powder carefully, better take it from the heat while you mix it

    – add the chicken (any part of the chicken is good, use a whole chicken instead of only thighs) and fry it ’till it turns white/brown. Then add water, and the other things.

    If you want to make your own nokedli, use a tablespoon, grab a little from the mixture with the spoons side and drop it to boiling water. Dont use your bare hands it’s silly. :)

    off:
    The finno-ugoric theory is a big fat lie made by the oppressing powers that are occupying Hungary the last 500 years, ask the Finnish if you don’t believe me.
    Hungarians, Huns, Scythians, magyars… the same people, diffent names, with the oldest language in Eurasia. And its Central Europe not east.

  • Jim Williamson

    My Austrian-Hungarian Mother makes this and it turns out looking a bit more red in color from the paprika. She uses oil and water instead of yogurt but I will give this a try sounds great!

  • Penelope

    Since finding this recipe I make it all the time – I just love it! I fry the nokedli in a bit of butter til they are brown and crisp in places, then serve with freshly ground black pepper and finely grated cheese on top; I could eat that on it’s own all day! Thank you for sharing a brilliant recipe :)

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!