Sheperd’s noodles / Pásztortarhonya

by | May 28, 2015 | Noodles

Pásztortarhonya is a typical Hungarian one-pot meal, a great and filling legacy of old times. Hungarians’ ancestors were stock-breeder and they lived a nomadic life; therefore, they were forced to cook simple, but substantial dishes. Sheperds prepared the meals in bogrács (Hungarian kettle) over an open fire, in lack of a fully equipped kitchen there was neither time nor possibility to make a fuss about “gastronomy”, they ate what they had at hand. Sheperd’s noodles are gorgeous example of effective cooking and sober practicality.

Tarhonya is a Hungarian egg noodle, mentioned already in 16th-century handwritten Hungarian cookbooks. It  originates presumably from Persia and appeared in Hungary during the era of the Ottoman-Turkish empire. The noodles are as small as a grain of barley, I think this is the reason why it’s called egg barley in English.
Tarhonya is made from wheat flour, whole eggs and salt, mixed together and kneaded into a smooth dough. The dough is pushed through a special riddle, so noodles gain their round shape. The grains are dried out on trays and stored in paper or cloth bag . They are served with meat or vegetable stews, egg dishes, roasted poultry, fried sausages, or in salads.

As opposed to other pastas, tarhonya’s cooking time is much longer than usual, it needs at least 50-60 minutes to soften completely. Furthermore, tarhonya is always toasted in butter or lard before braising, so it obtains its characteristic flavour that can be compared to nothing.

Sheperd’s noodles / Pásztortarhonya – photo:
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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

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Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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