08 Nov Lángos
Lángos (or langoš) is the fast food of Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It is probably the best way you can use flour, yeast, potatoes and water (oh, and a liter or so of frying oil). Like hot dog stands in New York, lángos stands in the cities of Central Europe feed crowds and crowds of people.
There is nothing fancy, nothing sophisticated about lángos. It is simple, greasy and so delicious that when Katy’s friend came from NYC for her second visit to Central Europe, she refused all fancy restaurants and asked for lángos.
Unfortunately, modern ideas about health are killing lángos stands. What rubbish! The deep fried dough is full of vitamin B, and the salty garlic water, which you spread over the lángos, is brimming with allicin. If you decide to eat it topped with cheese and sour cream, you get protein and calcium as well! Why, it’s practically health food.
Makes about 6 large or 10 smaller langos
- 12 oz/330 grams floury potatoes
- 3 cups/400 grams flour, plus more for flouring your work surface
- 1 sachet (7 grams) instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 1/3 cups/3 deciliters milk
- Oil to deep fry
- To serve:
- Sour cream
- Grated cheese (Emmental or another firm, mild cheese)
- Peel, roughly chop and boil the potatoes. While they are cooking, stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
- When the potatoes are soft enough to pierce easily with a fork (it doesn’t matter if they start to fall apart a little), drain off the water and mash them while still hot. Add the milk and make as smooth a paste as you can – don’t worry if there are small lumps.
- Stir the potato mixture into the dry ingredients; when it is well combined, turn it out onto a clean surface and knead for a few minutes (you could also use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment). The dough will be soft and sticky; if you find it too sticky to work with, add a little flour, but don’t worry too much. Place the dough in a large, clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1.5 hours or until doubled in bulk. You can also put it in the refrigerator overnight at this point, if you prefer.
- When you are ready to fry the langos, heat about 2 cups/half a liter of oil over medium heat in a pan (we used our big non-stick skillet). While it is getting to frying temperature, you can prepare the langos. Flour your work surface liberally, and have more flour ready to sprinkle on the dough. For each langos, scoop out about ½ cup of the dough and blob it onto the work surface. Sprinkle flour over the top of the dough and pat it out to about ½ an inch/2 cm thick. If you use plenty of flour it won’t be too sticky, I promise!
- The oil is hot enough when you toss in a tiny scrap of dough and it bubbles fiercely. Carefully place the langos in the oil one at a time (2 might fit in a large pan, but don’t crowd them) and cook about 3 minutes or until the bottom is a deep golden color. Turn with a fork or tongs and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all langos are cooked..
- To serve, traditionally the langos is brushed with a mixture of garlic paste and water or oil. Crush a couple of cloves of garlic in a press or using a microplane grater, and mix with about 2 Tbs water or olive oil.
- On top of this, if you dare, spread sour cream and sprinkle with grated cheese. Enjoy!