Csángó goulash

Goulash

Csángó gulyás
Csángó goulash

The Csángó (Romanian: Ceangăi) are an ethnic group in Romanian Moldova, a region in northeast Romania. There are several theories as to how these ethnic Hungarians ended up there.

The Hungarians -all of them- are originally from Russia, roughly from the region between the Black and the Caspian Sea. In the 9th century, they got it into their heads that they were better off in the west. Killing and looting, they reached the current Hungary. The Csángó would be the descendants of a group that got fed up with all the wandering and stayed behind halfway in Moldova. Another theory has it that they are the descendants of the Cumans who lived in Moldavia around the year 1000. This theory is challenged by scientists who think they know that the group could never have survived the Mogol invasion of 1241-1242. So we resort to yet another theory, which claims that the Csángó did reach Hungary initially, but for some reason or other went back to Moldova. That would have happened womewhere in the late thirteenth century, after the Mongols had left the area as suddenly as they had appeared.

Either way they are still there, and even though the Csángó community is in many aspects indistinguishable from the Romanians, there are a few fundamental cultural differences such as religion (they are Roman Catholic, where the vast majority of Romanians is Orthodox), language (the so-called Csángó-Hungarian), traditional dress and music. And there is this goulash, which suspiciously resembles the Székely goulash, the stew of the Szeklers, another major Hungarian ethnic group in Romania.

Csángó goulash

1 large onion
500 gr. (17.6 oz.) beef, cubed
1 tsp. hot paprika
1 tsp. ground caraway
2 cloves garlic
500 gr. (17.6 oz.) sauerkraut
2 green bell peppers
50 gr. (1.76 oz.) rice
2 dl. sour cream
salt and pepper

Chop the onion and sauté in some oil over low heat in a skillet until translucent. Meanwhile, cube the beef. Heat some oil or lard in a pot and stir-fry the beef quickly until brown on all sides. Add enough hot water to cover it, bring it to a boil and reduce the heat.

When the onions are done, remove the skillet from the heat and stir in caraway and paprika. Add it to the beef in the pot. season with grated garlic and salt and let simmer.

Chop the sauerkraut and cut the peppers in strips. When the meat starts getting tender, add it to the pot together with the rice. Add some water if it is not completely covered. Let it simmer until the meat is tender.

Mix in the sour cream, add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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