Everything Food

Local cooking spice flavours

Love for herbs, spices and vegetables
The smell and taste of any food is mostly given by the spices you put in. Local villagers love to grow their own herbs, spices and vegetables they frequenty use for cooking delicious meals.

If you visit a garden in Coltesti, Rimetea or any other village from Trascau Valley, for sure you will find some onions, garlic, thyme, dill, horseradish, tarragon, carraway seeds, parsley, red pepper or paprika. The spices are not complete without bay leaves and cinnamon, although these two are mediterranean spices and they don’t grow in this region.

One of the most used vegetable in local hungarian villages is the onion. Bálint Tibor wrote in ”Erdélyi lakomában” (Transylvanian settlements), that if you remove the onion from the food consumption phyramid, the whole construction will fall. Most of the local cooking recipes start with chopping an onion into small pieces and frying it into hot fat or oil.

The villages among the Aries River are well known for their good production of onions, so if the onion production fails in the gardens of Trascau Valley due to unfortunate weather conditions, and it is not enough for the entire year, villagers can always buy onions in the neighbouring area.

Is the main ingredient for home made pork sausages. It is always grown in own gardens and if sometimes self production isn’t enough, villagers buy it on the market in Aiud or Turda.

Is is always used to spice up the pickled cabbage, blood sausages, innards sausages, pumpkin ragout, cabbage soup (lucskoskáposzta).

This is the Thyme twin spice. Usualy they are used together in different cabbage based foods. The green dill leaves, are often used in curd soup, dillsauce or curd pancakes. Dried dill leaves are used to pickels and lucskos cabbage. A good housewife always dry a quantity of thyme and dill form it’s own garden, so the supply will be enough for the entire cold season cooking.

It is loved for the chilly flavour and is commonly used as natural preservative for cabbage and cucumber pickels (keeps vegetables krispy). Sometimes horseradish is shredded and kept in vinegar for longer periods.

It’s leaves are usualy kept in vinegar and it is used for making the soups souerer (beans soup, tarragon souer soup). The plant grows healthier if, in spring, ashes are spread on the ground where it is planted. In Rimetea, it is said that only the one who planted the tarragon is allowed to take it’s leaves, otherwise the plant will die next year as it doesn’t like to be touched by strangers’ hands.

It is used both for the leaves and the root, for vegetable and chicken soups. Villagers often use the green leaves for boiled potatoes aseasoning.
Red pepper

Is the most well known vegetable in hungarian dishes. Dried and grounded, can be found as hot or sweet paprika. In Coltesti and Rimetea’s cooking receipes, the sweet paprika is used more often. Besides it’s good taste, it gives the dish an appetizing aspect. The paprika supply in Trascaului Valley villages comes from the homemade production in the settlements among Mures River. Once or twice a year, the ordered amount of paprika is brought to the housewifes.

There is not a house without this spice. It is used almost in every dish. In the past, villagers used to search in the stores for the small paperbags with pepper and buy larger quantities so they would be well prepaired for the time of saussage making in winter. Nowadays, pepper can be found in every little store, also in the villages, so there are no worries anymore.
Caraway seeds

Even though it can be grown in own gardens, local villagers prefer to pick up the wild carraway that can be found on the lands near Trascau Fortress. The wild plant has a stronger flavour and it is usually collected in August, while the seeds are still green. It is than tied up in a big bounch and hanged in the shadow. When dried out, the seeds are taken and stored for later use.

The caraway seeds are often used to make caraway soup, salty homemade sticks and crackers, but also tea for children’s stomachache. The seeds are sometimes used to make a type of pálinka, which is drank mostly by women, for it’s sweet flavoured taste.
Bay leaves

Mediterranian spice, it is used in hungarian cooking as dried leaves for potato soups, sauces, stews.

The traditional Somodi sponge cake can’t be baked without this spice. Even in old times, the villagers could somehow manage to buy cinnamon. It was used only for holiday cakes, and everyone enjoied both the smell and the taste of cinnamon.