…something from the flames
“ – Do you ever eat deep-fried food?
– No, of course not! I’m really health conscious you know…
– Okay, now imagine the smell of frying.
– No, it’s so heavy and oily..!
– Put your hand on your heart…
– Okay, you won…sometimes I get tempted.“
You can come across some kind of deep-fried food probably in every country. The explanation for this is quite simple: it’s delicious! We all know, deep-frying is not the healthiest way of cooking, but if we want to be honest, sometimes we all (or the 99% of us) satisfy our cravings for something fried; simply because it tastes undisputedly good.
Lángos is a deep-fried dough, a sort of flat bread. Its name derives from the word ‘láng’ – meaning ‘flame’ in Hungarian -, referring to the fact that originally it used to be baked in the front part of a brick oven. Regarding its origin, there are no written evidences when the first lángos has been prepared. Some say, lángos was born in the XVI century, when the country was occupied by the Ottomans; according to some other people, lángos dates back already to the Roman times relating the logic of its name to Latin origins; the ancestor of flat breads – and so of the Italian focaccia –, panis focacius, was baked in the ashes of a fireplace (focus means fireplace).
So there’s a gap in the story, but whenever lángos was born, one thing is sure, it was a lucky day. It used to be baked from bread dough, simply by pinching small amounts of it, flattening it and then baking in the brick oven; so initially lángos was linked to bread, never prepared just on its own. Then times have changed and lángos earned popularity and individuality, something worth to be prepared on its own – whether a loaf of bread is baked or not.
Today’s lángos is slightly different from the one prepared in past times. There can be seen a change in its ingredients; in addition to the original ones – flour, yeast, salt, water – some people add boiled potatoes, or substitute the water with milk. Another remarkable change is in the way of preparation; as industrial times came, instead of baking the lángos in a brick oven – since quite few houses disposed of one –, people started to fry it in oil.
So we know how lángos is prepaed, but how is it eaten then? The toppings can vary to quite extremes, but if you ask a Hungarian, lángos can be eaten only in two ways: either topped with sour cream and grated cheese, or simply rubbed with garlic. So if you are in Budapest, make sure to try lángos, the Hungarian street-food! 🙂