So I’m having dinner with my Hungarian friend Gergely and he’s waving his arms excitedly in the air, getting all nostalgic for langos. During the conversation I get the impression very quickly that Hungarian food is all about insulating; it’s cold there in the winter, innit. Although apparently they eat it on the beach too so er, yeah. Basically a lot of the food seems to be rib sticking, fatty, carb loaded and in this case, deep fried. I am instantly all over it like a particularly vicious rash. It’s always good to talk about unpleasant physical complaints when describing one’s enthusiasm for food, don’t you think?
So on Sunday Gergely came to my house and taught me how to make langos and it was brilliant. He freaked me out by managing to get the dough to rise super fast in my rather cold kitchen, then we made sort of cow pat (sorry) sized discs of dough and plunged them into hot oil. A couple of minutes each side and they emerged golden and sizzling; is there anything more appealing than freshly fried dough? No, no there is not.
We’re not done yet though, because here comes the most important thing about langos – garlic water. The garlic water makes the langos special. It’s officially my new favourite thing and I have a lot of favourite things on the go right now. Basically you just get an absolute shit load of garlic and whack it in a jar with, you’ve guessed it, some water. Oh and a little bit of oil. You mix it together and the garlic kind of mellows but at the same time stays er, really strong. Yeah, that makes sense. Anyway so you brush the freshly fried langos with the garlic water and the intensity of perfume created by the heat meeting the garlic is incredible.
Then it’s time to smear that dough with sour cream. I am assured that Hungarian sour cream is far superior and now of course I long for it. I had to make do with some regular stuff from Tesco Metro. Still, sour cream it was. To finish the langos, grated cheese. Yep. Oh and it absolutely has to be the shittiest cheapest most poorly produced ready grated cheese you can find, apparently. Gergely was very adamant about this. We bought some kind of basic stuff from Tesco and he instantly pronounced it ‘too good’.
Unsurprisingly I instantly fell in love with langos. It’s deep fried dough covered in garlic, sour cream and cheese FFS. We washed it down with Unicum which is like Hungarian Fernet Branca. I’d planned dinner afterwards. It didn’t happen. Gergely and his girlfriend rather impressively went straight on to dinner at Koffman’s. Respect.
Langos is the kind of food we should all be eating in January. Sod the diet, it’s cold and the Hungarians really know how to do food that keeps you warm.
You will however stink of garlic for 2 days.
2 sachets instant yeast
1 pint luke warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
Mix the sugar, yeast and water in a jug. Wait 5 minutes or so until the top is frothy, then mix with the flour to make a semi soft dough. Gergely did this with his hands. The dough should be really sloppy.
When the dough has doubled in size, oil a piece of foil, then add a drizzle of oil around the edges, which makes the dough come out of the bowl really easily (it is very sticky and won’t come out otherwise). Turn it out onto the foil, cut pieces and make little rounds, which are thinner in the middle.
Deep fry the fuckers.
For the garlic water and to assemble:
Mix about 10 cloves of garlic with a jam jar of water and a splash of oil. Leave for a couple of hours to infuse.
Thin the sour cream by whipping it with a bit of water.
To assemble, douse the langos with the garlic water, spread on sour cream and top with shitty grated cheese.
We did some crazy pimping with a bit of smoked salt and some fennel seeds, admittedly after we’d started on the Unicum.