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Bryndzové Halušky – Slovak dumplings with sheep curd

The Slovak national meal is bryndzové halušky with fried bacon. Bryndzové halušky is to the Slovaks what sushi is for the Japanese or pizza for the Italians. This Slovak national meal consists of halušky (dumplings made of potato dough somewhat similar to German spätzle) mixed with a special kind of soft and salty sheep curd (which has excellent health benefits). Fried bacon chopped in tiny pieces is added to the ready meal, which makes it especially tasty.

Bryndzove halusky

Bryndzove halusky

You can top halušky with just about anything and will find more than 20 different toppings in some restaurants.  A popular topping is cabbage. Often you will find these dumplings served with stews like goulash or paprikash. The traditional beverage to accompany the meal is sour milk or whey.

One can especially enjoy bryndzové halušky in a typical Slovak “koliba” restaurant or “salaš”. And what is more, annual competition in cooking and eating of this traditional meal is organised in the little mountain village of Turecká at the foothills of the Veľká Fatra Mts. where fans of “halušky” from all over the world meet. It is the World Championship.

Bryndza apparently helps to lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure; it contains 20 types of probiotics in huge quantities (yogurt only has 1-2), vitamins B complex, and almost three times as much calcium as cow’s milk. It is a boost for your immune system. The only problem is that you have to get the unpasteurized version, since the pasteurized version is almost useless. Try not to buy it in supermarkets, because those are pasteurized and mixed with cow cheese.

Bryndzove halusky

I have to admit I found this recipe on the internet when I was researching the various ways to make bryndzové halušky. I liked this one because it is almost identical to my mum’s and I loved its name and how was the recipe written. This recipe is “Bryndzové halušky according to Juraj the shepherd”. The bryndza can be replaced with any crumbly sheep cheese. You can add more or less bryndza depending on how sharp you like it.

Making the halušky requires a special tool – a halušky maker (like a colander with extra-large holes). A colander, or even a grater with large holes can be a decent substitute. If you don’t have any of the above, buy packaged gnocchi (cut them in half) or spaetzle and cook them as directed.

Ingredients

Makes 3 portions or 4 as a side dish.

3 medium potatoes to make approximately 2 cups when finely grated
same amount of flour as potatoes (about 2 cups)
1tsp salt
4 ounces or more bryndza
1 or more strip of bacon per person

Method

Grate the potatoes, and add the flour, salt. You shoould get a goopy dough. That’s ok. Set a large pot of water to boil. When it has come to a boil, using a rubber spatula or board scraper (or the scraper that came with your halušky maker), quickly press the dough through the holes of the halušky maker/colander/grater into the water, scraping back and forth until all the dough has gone through. When the halušky float to the surface, in 2-3 minutes, they are ready. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. In a small bowl, add the cooking water to the bryndza and mix well. Add it to the halusky. Fry the bacon until the fat is rendered. Add some of the fat to the halušky and top them with the crumbled bacon. Enjoy!


SRC: TRAVEL and  EMPEROR’S CRUMBS

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