At Ételek, the chef Adam Wolfers revisits his personal and professional history through the food he prepares without pretence. Take, for example, a dish of Lángos, a fried Hungarian flatbread, paired with the ‘Flavours of Hungary’. Bread isn’t treated as a simple side at Ételek – for Wolfers, it’s a big focus of a menu that takes its cues from Middle Eastern, Eastern Europan, North African, Asian and Australian cuisines, and it’s a reflection of how the chef likes to eat.
With an Austrian Grandmother and Hungarian Grandfather, Wolfers was reared on the cuisine of Eastern Europe. “They were migrants so they were still cooking as if they were still living in Hungary or Austria,” Wolfers says of his grandparents on one side, for whom cooking was one way of maintaining a connection to the countries they left behind after the Second World War. “My grandfather was basically on his own in Australia and he couldn’t cook, so my grandmother learned how to cook Hungarian food for him… Only my grandfather could speak Hungarian but he had no one to speak it to. The way that he would feel like he was back in his childhood memories was that my grandmother would cook Hungarian for him on special occasions.”
Below, Wolfers shares with GRAZIA his moreish recipe for Lángos with ‘Flavours of Hungary’.
Lángos with ‘Flavours of Hungary’ (serves 8)
500g Bakers flour
112g Sourdough starter
350ml Canola oil, for frying
Mix together water and sourdough starter with hands until dissolved. Add flour and salt, then cover with damp tea towel and let rest for 30 mins in a non-reactive bowl. Place in bread mixer and slowly mix for 5-10 mins, then leave it to rest, covered in a non-reactive bowl for another two hours.
Dust the bench with flour and place dough onto floured bench. With a pastry scraper or scissors, cut 120g pieces of dough and set aside. Shape the dough into small balls with as little flour as you possibly can. Place on a floured tray and let it rest in the fridge overnight.
Heat 350ml of vegetable oil in a deep pan, for shallow frying, until 180 degrees. Dust a little bit of flour on the bench and flatten the bread to about 1/2 cm. Place dough very carefully into the hot oil. Very carefully, baste the oil onto the bread so it starts to puff up.
After two minutes, flip the bread over and leave to cook for another two minutes until golden brown. Drain onto paper towel and season with sea salt and smoked paprika. Repeat process until all bread is fried.
‘Flavours of Hungary’ Ingredients
1 tbsp Smoked paprika (reserve some for dusting)
25g Sesame seeds
2 tbsp Sweet paprika
2 tbsp Linseed
1 tsp Caraway seeds
1/2 tsp Salt
200g Sour cream
Toast all seeds and nuts till golden and aromatic. Crush them in a mortar and pestle, set aside. To serve, scoop the sour cream onto the side of the plate and crumble the seed mix over. Place the fried bread on the plate, and serve.
Tile and cover image: Jun Chen