Tarhonya is a type of Hungarian pasta, usually glossed remarkably unintuitively as "egg barley nuggets". The egg part is understandable, as the dough does contain egg, but barley it ain't -- tarhonya are made from ordinary (wheat) flour, the end result just looks similar to pearl barley. In these days of McDonalds the word "nuggets" also seems a bit bizarre, although the handmade variety (produced by grating the dough with a cheese grater) does resemble gold nuggets if you drink a liter of Unicum and squint. The mass-produced factory stuff, on the other hand, looks like dry spaghetti chopped into tiny pseudocubes.

Naming aside, tarhonya are used as a substitute for rice, potatoes or dumplings, especially as an accompaniment to pörkölt, the beef stew known as goulash in the rest of the world. The method of preparation differs quite a bit from normal pasta, but the end result is (IMHO) quite excellent and far superior. I'll assume you can get your hands on commercial dried tarhonya -- ubiquitous and ridiculously cheap in Hungary at about 100 Ft/500g, and shouldn't be too difficult to find in Eastern European groceries -- since making tarhonya from scratch is (like all fresh pasta) time-consuming and difficult.


  1. Heat the tarhonya in a pan with oil on low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown. (This may take up to 20 minutes; haste makes waste!)
  2. Add broth and pepper. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add more broth or water if necessary.
  3. Let stand for 10 minutes and serve immediately.
Serves 6-8. You can also spice up the tarhonya by adding some paprika, a crushed clove of garlic or some chopped onions at the end of the frying. You may also wish to reduce the amount of oil or substitute some of the broth with water if you find the end result too greasy/salty, but then again, people on low-fat, low-sodium diets shouldn't be eating Hungarian food anyway...