By Sunil Tanna
The Republic of Hungary is a landlocked country in central Europe. Although the territory that now forms Hungary has been occupied for many hundreds of years, including settlements in the Celtic period (from approximately 450 BCE) and Roman period (9 BCE to the 4th century CE), the country of Hungary traces its origins to the late 9th century when Magyar chiefs formed what would eventually become the Kingdom of Hungary. This Kingdom continued to exist for more than 900 years with only minor interruptions, although much of the country was occupied by the Ottoman Turks from 1526 to 1699. Following World War II, Hungary became a Communist state, but it since 1989 has become a parliamentary republic.
Hungary is home to a unique language (Hungarian is part of the Finno-Ugric language family, and its most closely related language in Europe is Finnish), and a highly distinctive cuisine. Many Hungarian dishes are flavored with paprika, an attribute that some to the influence of the Ottoman Turks, but others describe as a Magyar innovation.
Of course, the most famous Hungarian dish is Gulyás (also known as "Gulyásleves"), which is usually known in English-speaking countries as "Goulash". Many non-Hungarians think of Goulash as a soup, but in fact, the original Hungarian version of the dish would probably be better described as stew. It is prepared by cooking chunks of meat (usually beef shank, shin or shoulder) in a pot with oil and paprika. Onions, peppers, garlic and herbs are then added, and some versions of the dish also include finely chopped potatoes. The gelatin from the bones in the meat, as well as the starch from any potatoes used, give the dish a thick and rich texture.
There are also many other interesting Hungarian dishes, which you may like to try. Some other dishes that you might like to try include fish soup ("halászlé"), and also the many excellent desserts that the country has to offer, such Dobos Cake, strudels ("rétes") and pancakes ("palacsinta").
By S. Tanna. Discover more about Hungarian Cuisine at http://www.downloadfocus.com/cat_recipes_hungarian.php