Home Lifestyle Food Keeping Fine Food Frugal: Hungarian Goulash with Dumplings

Keeping Fine Food Frugal: Hungarian Goulash with Dumplings


Ben Christy returns this week to share his new beef goulash recipe…

Fight the last of the winter months with this hearty meat stew – combined with dumplings, you will certainly leave the dinner table stuffed to satisfaction. Deriving its name from the herdsmen who originally made it, the Goulash dates back to the medieval period and has become the national dish of Hungary. Due to its simplicity, Goulash is both easy to make and cheap, resulting in the perfect student winter warmer!


  • Makes 5 portions
  • Prices are from Sainsbury’s and NC stands for negligible costs

400-600g Diced beef or pork for stewing – £3.30

White Onion x2 (roughly chopped) – 30p

Garlic Cloves x2 (minced) -30p

Tinned Tomatoes x2 – 70p

Peppers x 3 (roughly chopped) – £1

Carrots x 3 (roughly chopped, parsnips and celery may also be used) – 20p

Smoked Paprika (1 tablespoon) – a whole jar costs £1

Bay Leaves x2 – NC

Sugar or Worcester sauce (1 teaspoon of sugar or a tablespoon of Worcester) – NC

Salt and Black Pepper – NC

Water (around 700ml)

Crushed Caraway seeds (optional)


250g self-raising flour – 80p for a whole bag

140g Shredded suet or frozen butter – £1.10

Dried herb of choice


Cost Breakdown

£8.70 Total Cost

£1.74 Per Portion



  • Heat two tablespoons of oil on a medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Meanwhile, chop your onions into a medium dice. Add the onions, along with the tablespoon of paprika, and cook until they turn soft and translucent.
    • Tip: The paprika will not only flavour your stew, but also acts as the thickening agent; it was originally used by the Hungarian herdsmen to help preserve their meat.
  • Chuck in your meat, chopped to bite sized chunks, and season well with salt and black pepper. Stir frequently until your meat is browned, then add your minced garlic and continue stirring for a minute so it doesn’t burn.
    • Tip: The juices from the meat will act as the base for the stew, so don’t worry about adding a stock cube; I find they taste far too salty.
  • Add the water, tinned tomatoes, bay leaves, sugar or Worcester sauce, and caraway seeds. Turn the heat to a medium low and leave the meat to simmer for an hour; the broth will thicken as the water evaporates. Meanwhile, chop up your carrots and peppers and begin making the dumplings.
    • Tip: The sugar or Worcester sauce is added for sweetness to balance the acidity in the tomatoes and the mild heat coming from the smoked paprika, resulting in a nicely rounded flavour profile.
  • Weigh out 250g of self-raising flour and add 140g of shredded suet. If using butter, put it in the freezer beforehand so that you can grate it into the flour. Add a large pinch of salt, black pepper, and two teaspoons of any dried herb.
  • Mix the dry ingredients, then add half a cup of water and bring the dough together with your hands. Add one tablespoon of water at a time until all the dry ingredients are drawn in, but don’t add too much water, as you’re looking for a dry dough. Shape your dough into roughly 20 walnut sized balls.
    • Tip: If you don’t fancy dumplings, Goulash goes well with rice, pasta, potatoes, or simply some nice bread. In my personal opinion, warm, fluffy dumplings are simply delightful, so give them a try.
  • Add your carrots and peppers to the Goulash and plop in the dumplings, covering the surface of the stew, then pop on a lid and cook for 30 minutes more. Check your seasoning and adjust if necessary.
    • Tip: If you’re looking to impress, serve the Goulash with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.


I’d recommend freezing your Goulash in one Tupperware and your dumplings in another to prevent them going soggy. Enjoy!

Get stuck in!
Get stuck in!

Ben Christy

All images are the writer’s own. Featured Image Credit: Pinterest.

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