Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hugarian Noodles and Cabbage Recipe- Kraut Pletzel, Haluski, Kaposztas Kocka- Gluten Free, Vegan Options

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Ever have a recipe whose name gets lost in translation?

My (great) Grandma Betty was Hungarian, and she used to cook a lot of traditional Hungarian dishes. My dad learned a lot of his recipes from her, which he made for us growing up (in addition to his General Tso, seitan, sake, and other very non Hungarian recipes). One of the dishes, cabbage with noodles, he called kropretzlach, and he still calls it that to this day.

Except when I was trying to find more information about this dish, I couldn't find it anywhere.

Turns out there was some broken telephone going on, and the name kraut pletzel, or kraut pletzlach, got misheard as kropretzlach... (We actually have a similar story with my brother's name, who ended up being named after what people thought my (great) Grampa Al's name really was, but wasn't actually his name...)

This dish has many names- kraut pletzel, haluski, kaposztas kocka, among other names... but in my mind, it'll always be kropretzlach, mis-translation and all...

This food isn't fancy food, nor is it very photogenic. It is, however, very simple and quick to make, and the ingredients are pretty cheap as well. This food to me is quintessential comfort food, with all the warm feelings and nostalgia and family history it evokes.

Hugarian Noodles and Cabbage Recipe- Kraut Pletzel, Haluski, Kaposztas Kocka- Gluten Free, Vegan Options

2 tablespoons oil (or butter- it traditionally is made with butter, but my dad never made it with butter so that's not how I do it. In addition to dairy not agreeing with me.)
1 medium onion
4 1/2 cups cabbage
1-3 teaspoon sweetener (coconut sugar, honey, sucanat, etc... or can be left out if desired)
1-2 teaspoons salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 1/2 cups cooked noodles (I use gluten free corn pasta, but any noodle works. Traditionally it was made with egg noodles, but I don't do egg or gluten.)

1. Boil your noodles until soft. Strain.

2. Chop your onion. Saute until golden.

3. Chop your cabbage. Add to your onion, and saute until fully softened and starting to brown a little.

4. Add your sweetener, salt, and pepper.

5. Add your noodles.

6. Mix well.

7. Serve hot.


I made this for lunch today and the kids loved it so much- they each had seconds and thirds. Good stuff, this is.

Ever hear of noodles and cabbage before? What was it called? Do you ever make it? Did you ever have it before?
Do you have any stories of names that were lost in translation over the generations?


  1. We are hungarian and make have a version of this, but made with homemade dumplings. The kind tht are often served with chicken paprikash. both delish

  2. There are probably too many dishes that get lost in translation around my home. My mom was Korean/Japanese but we didn't learn the language growing up....that didn't stop her from telling us the Korean names of things. To this day I am not sure if what she taught us was really Korean or some made up word half between Japanese, Korean and english.

  3. one of my favorite foods on earth. i do it simply though- saute a bag of shredded cabbage in combo olive oil and butter-flavored margarine, sprinkle a bit of bouillon powder, and add instant egg noodles. nothing wrong with it.

  4. At least you have a name? Every time I try to translate the things that my mom used to make it comes out sounding slightly odious and not a little inedible--except for potstickers (a name that I only encountered in college).

  5. I'm of Scandinavian/German/Swiss descent and many of our comfort food dishes actually translate pretty well into English (same language root!) but I had a good laugh when a friend told me that her version of "crumb cake" was a meat dish rather than the crispy cookies I had given her for the holidays! :)

    I've heard of this too, though I've never tired it before (It's on my list - but we haven't gotten to it yet - we're waiting for cabbage season here again). And I've heard it so cleverly called cabbage and noodles. :)

    Thanks for sharing - I'm book marking this page for when my over-abundance of cabbage comes from my CSA this summer!


  6. I love, love, love haluski. We make it with butter and vast amounts of shredded cabbage, put it all in the giant iron skillet, and slow-cook it for an hour, stirring often to keep it from burning. Cook the noodles separately, then when the cabbage is done mix it all together. Slow cooked cabbage is a glorious thing though the house smells funny for a while.

  7. wow this actually seems like the perfect lunch dish for on the go people like me. I feel that this could totally be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge to be divided into several meals.

    Thanks for the great post.

  8. This is one of my favorite dishes. Since I'm Polish, we make it a little differently. We don't add sweetener to it and usually use some kind of bacon or cracklins in the dish. Love it!


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