One of the things that we get asked the most about is food. But it is just really hard to pick a favorite food experience. So, we will be sharing our favorite foods from the road in this new series, Street Food Souvenirs. We will also try to recreate these tasty treats at home and we’ll see how the homemade version stacks up against the original street food version. Today we are trying lángos (pronounced lang-osh), a tasty fried dough snack from Budapest.
Lángos is a traditional Hungarian recipe that is also a very popular street food across the country. We first tried some on our way home from the Széchenyi Baths. It was the perfect snack to have after a day of relaxing.
Lángos is very often served with a variety of toppings, so it is sometimes referred to as Hungarian Pizza. The traditional toppings seem to be grated cheese, sour cream, and garlic. However we also saw sausage, cabbage, and hot sauce as options for a savory snack and cinnamon, sugar, and jam as options for those with a sweet tooth.
Hungarians will enjoy lángos anytime of day, but we heard from a few folks that it is the perfect hangover food and late-night drunken snack. (I can definitely see why.) So, basically, Lángos is a pizza served on a savory, flat donut. What is not to love?
We researched a few different recipes for this post; most of the ones we found featured a dough with boiled mashed potato and used a deep fryer. We didn’t have any potatoes on hand and we don’t have a deep fryer, so this recipe from VisitBudapest.travel seemed to suit our situation nicely. (Although, I’d like to try a potato version next…)
- 2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. (7 g) instant yeast
- 1 cup (250 ml) water (you can also try yogurt, sour cream, or milk)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (you can also substitute sugar for a sweet lángos)
- safflower oil (for frying; enough to cover the lángos in a frying pan)
- Toppings: sour cream, grated cheese, garlic, sausage, ham, cabbage, jam, powdered sugar, cinnamon, chocolate
In a cup, dissolve the salt in water. In a bowl, combine sifted flour with yeast. Add the salty water to it and stir thoroughly (if the dough is very sticky, add a little bit more flour). Work the dough with a wooden spoon or with your hands until the it is smooth and no longer sticks to the bowl. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with a clean cloth. Let rise for 30-40 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough is ready, carefully tip it out onto a floured surface. Stretch the dough out into a square (either with hands or, preferably, a rolling pin) until it is about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Then, using a big glass or cookie cutter (about 4 in or 10 cm diameter) cut the dough into round shapes. Stretch each piece with your fingers until the edges are a tad thicker than the middle, while maintaining the round shape. Let the dough rest for another 30 minutes on the floured surface.
In a saucepan, heat safflower oil. Place the lángos into the hot oil, fry it on one side until golden brown then turn. Place cooked lángos on a plate with some paper towels to soak up the extra oil. Repeat until there is no more lángos dough.
The first thing that I noticed is that this recipe makes a much smaller lángos than the one we ate in Budapest. As you can see in the picture above, the one we had after our day at the baths was rather large. It was so big, in fact, that we were able to share it and still feel full. The ones we made using this recipe were pretty small, like the size of pita bread. This isn’t a complaint, though. I think I may like the smaller size better than the ginormous street food version. Much more manageable. Also, the cheese that topped our lángos from Budapest was quite salty and we couldn’t find a perfect flavor match for it at out local market. That being said, I prefer the less salty version. They didn’t instantly transport me back to Budapest, but, overall, I liked the lángos we made at home. And this recipe is a fine substitute for the real thing if a craving strikes.