Goulash (Hungarian Beef Stew)

This super-tasty beef stew originates from Hungary, but we Russians have adopted it into out cuisine a long time ago. Now it’s pretty much a staple in many Russian households. The key is using copious amounts of paprika. Paprika is a red spice made from grinding sweet peppers or chili. For this dish, a mild sweet Hungarian paprika is used, but any kind of paprika would do.

My personal secret to this dish is using Hungarian peppers or banana peppers instead of regular bell peppers. They start to appear at veggie stores in Vancouver in late July and are just loaded with delicious flavor. Bell peppers don’t come anywhere near. I actually buy these peppers in big quantities and slice and freeze them. They keep for a long time in the freezer and taste amazing. If you cannot find these peppers, just use a mix of regular red and green bell peppers.

Another secret is using canned Italian tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes. If you can get great-tasting tomatoes in your area, it’s great, unfortunately in Vancouver we can only get the tasteless greenhouse variety. So I use canned peeled whole tomatoes imported from Italy. They have most of the flavor and goodness of fresh tomatoes.

Goulash is traditionally served with broad noodles, but I like it on a bed of mashed potatoes.


  • 1.5 lbs (700 g) of beef
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 7-8 Hungarian peppers or sweet banana peppers or 4-5 bell peppers of any color
  • 1-2 hot banana peppers or jalapenos
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 x 25 fl. oz. / 738 mL can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • vegetable cooking oil (such as sunflower or canola)
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet Hungarian paprika (or any other kind)
  • 1 bunch parsley



1. Cut beef in chunks of 1 in x 1 in (2.5 cm x 2.5 cm)


2. Wash peppers, carrots,  and parsley.

.3. Cut onion in half-rings. Cut carrot in thin long strips. Finely chop garlic.


4. Cut sweet peppers in thin long strips. Dice hot peppers.

5. Remove tomatoes from can, reserving the liquid. Chop tomatoes. Add back the reserved liquid.


6. Lightly coat a deep frying pan or a pot with cooking oil.

7. Add beef and salt and fry, stirring, until no longer pink.

8. Add enough water to cover beef and simmer on medium heat until all of the water evaporated.

9. Add 2 tablespoon of paprika and to coat the beef.


10. Add garlic, onion, and carrot. Fry, stirring, for 3-5 minutes until onion softens.


11. Add tomatoes, including the reserved liquids from the can. Simmer for 10 minutes.

12. Add peppers, stir to combine and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

13. Turn off the heat and add chopped parsley.

14. (Optional) Serve with a dollop of sour cream on a bed of broad noodles or mashed potatoes.

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