As I was preparing to cook and shoot the next two dishes for AFW Hungary’s week, galuska and something else, I received a call that felt like a bucket of cold water over my head. A dear friend passed away with no warning. I’ve been overcome by a mixture of melancholy and anger since yesterday’s woeful news. Life has a way of reminding us constantly of how feeble it can be. Life is just a whiff, nothing is certain and we never know how long we’ll be here. To think that on Saturday night, I was playing a song that years ago he introduced me to. My thoughts immediately went to him and I thought of giving him a call. I didn’t… It was late… But I should have…
I spent the whole day glooming over my work, pouring tears over batter, trying hard for my camera not to capture the dark mist that seemed to surround everything that day. I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to publish my article on time. Today’s the funeral service at 6:00 P.M. and I do want to go to say my goodbyes no matter how much I hate saying farewell that way. Such a good guy, dedicated to feed the hungry and poor. Always a smile on his face and a dark humor that was hilarious. For now the only thing I seem to be able to do is think about his laughter and good moments together. I hate cancer!
Not everything is bad though. Life also has a way of positioning certain bright things right at the perfect time so you can hold on to it. That is of course if you are able to notice the light in front of you and follow it. I am convinced that spark is always there for us all. For me yesterday that light was Hungary. She presented to me the possibility of channeling all my anger and sadness through putting my hands to work and create new things.
What a perfect recipe this was exactly for those purposes. Actually they were two recipes that go along with each other, but I’ll not spoil Friday’s dish for you all. I immersed myself into cooking and it turned out to be the best remedy for yesterday’s somber atmosphere. To make everything even better, today’s dish is the perfect example of what comfort food is. Once done it seemed to melt all my sorrows away with its tenderness. Yes it took me three tries to make. Three much needed tries since putting my hands to work always grounds me and keeps me calm. I have to say that making galuska is easy, but only when you’ve practiced a little.
First impressions: “This tastes like prehistoric macaroni.” Is that a good thing? Hell YEAH! Galuska or Nokedli are this really tender, easy to eat noodles, that can be compared to the flavour of buttered macaroni or even better, a well made gnocchi. In this case is just a simple combination of flour, water, eggs and a bit of salt. The batter is never overworked so it’s possible to prepare in a heartbeat. Then, the gooey dough is either pinched by hand to form tiny shapes or passed through the small holes of an instrument directly into salted boiling water. In about 2 minutes you get these amazingly soft and unsymmetrical noodles that are to die for.
As I said, making this took me a few tries. I saw many videos in YouTube of people making the galuska. They all used this fantastic instrument for making it that I didn’t have at the time. So first I went with the old traditional method using a cutting board and a knife, as this German lady did for making the german version, spaetzle. But oh boy was that hard! They came out huge, fat and hard. Finally an idea popped into mind, I used my potato ricer and I believe I nailed it. Of course, I already ordered my Galuska making machine through Amazon because I know this will be made in my house many many times. And yes fellow Hungarians, their shape came out more like the german version but I promise to try them again once my machine gets home. (I’ll keep you posted!)
I can’t stop thinking about the infinite possibilities for galuska. From having them with melted cheese just like macaroni & cheese, or using them as regular pasta with countless ingredient combinations. When I got them right I almost couldn’t stop myself from eating them plain with the bit of melted butter I poured on top to prevent them from sticking. Of course, if you wait for Friday’s recipe to go alongside the galuska your life would be bright and shiny as a Summer’s day.
All in all, this is definitely one of those dishes that will stick to my recipe box forever. Not only because of its simplicity and comforting flavor, but also because it will forever stand for me as a reminder of how good life can be. It might me short, give us unwanted surprises, but in the end it always gives reasons to go forward and taste the most from it. Cheers Rafy!
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- In a bowl combine the flour and salt using a wooden spoon. Make a hole in the center, pour the eggs and half of the water. Use your best "elbow grease" to mix the batter. Don't use a machine for this, its relatively easy and quick, plus you control yourself from overworking the batter. Once it is well mixed, add the rest of the water and mix well. Your batter should be thick but runny. Like an awfully conceived pancake batter, very sticky, not runny but should not hold a shape either.
- Have a pot of boiling salted water ready. Pass all of the batter through a galuska maker or a potato ricer directly onto the water. Stir the noodles a bit with a spoon to prevent them from sticking. You'll know the galuska is cooked when all the noodles are floating on the surface. Once done, drain them using a sieve, wash them with some running hot tap water and transfer to a bowl. Pour the melted butter on top and give them a stir so they are well coated with the butter and don't stick together. EAT!