As it turns out there is one place in Vienna where you can actually order a vegan goulash. It's at Formosa, where Poppa Trix and I indulged in the veggie wiener schnitzel. So of course once we got back from Budapest I immediately headed to Formosa to try it out. It was certainly flavorful, but alas, there was no heat. I craved heat for this dish, and so clearly I was going to have to make my own goulash once I was back in my kitchen at home.
Which is exactly what I did. With paprika. Lots and lots of paprika - not one, but 3 different kinds: sweet, hot, & smoked. I picked up some intense smoked paprika, along with piri piri (ground African bird's eye chili), at the Central Market Hall in Budapest:
And I couldn't resist using some of the hot stuff from the Gulyaskrem tube I bought - it's the one in the middle:
I read somewhere that "real" goulash doesn't include tomatoes - all of the color is to come from the paprika. I'm not sure if this is true, but I went with it. I also used the water that I had soaked my potatoes in, and the starch helped thicken the broth, and lent subtle flavor. The result was a rich, hearty, and spicy stew - exactly what I was craving! I used seitan in place of beef, and I bet if you tasted this you wouldn't miss the meat - it's that good, I promise.
Very Veggie Hungarian Goulash
5-6 large carrots, sliced
2-3 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed and soaked in water (Save the water!!)
1 entire bulb of garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 package cubed "beef style" seitan
1 veggie bouillon cube, unsalted
1 (or more!) tsp sweet paprika
1 (or more!) tsp hot paprika
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp piri piri
1/2 T gulyaskrem (optional!)
salt & pepper, to taste
In a large stockpot, saute the onions in the oil until translucent. Add the carrots, saute for another few minutes. Add the garlic, all of the paprika, the piri piri, and the potato, plus the gulyaskrem if you have it. Stir to coat. Next pour in the water that the potatoes were soaking in - just enough to cover. Reserve the rest in case you need it. Add the bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer, uncovered. Taste and adjust seasonings, salt & pepper - you may want a little more smoked paprika if you love the taste as much as I do. Simmer uncovered until all the veggies are tender - you may need to add more water, and if you do, readjust the seasonings and heat levels accordingly. Add the seitan at the end and let simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Serve with buttered noodles or a nice dark bread, and garnish with sour cream or Greek yogurt.