"Jókai", the Hungarian bean soup

bean soup jókai

🍴Servings: 10 

🥣Category: Soup

💪Difficulty Level: 4/5 

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The story of Jókai bean soup

This bean soup with sour cream (with knucklessausagepinches), i.e. Jókai bean soup, is named after the Hungarian novelist Mór Jókai. The writer‘s favorite food was bean soup cooked with smoked tender pig’s nails. Jókai “preferred to eat bacon with paprika for breakfast, and at the age of  79 he considered bean soup with pork claws to be the most desirable food”. However, the “great storyteller” would not even recognize the modern version of the soup born in the Gundel restaurant. The recipe for the sour cream joint bean soup named after him and which became famous was published in Károly Gundel‘s “Kis Magyar” (Little Hungarian) cookbook in 1937 under the name “multi-flavored delicacy”.

Ingredients are crucial!

Pay close attention to the ingredients you use when making this bean soup. Particularly with the two primary components, smoked knuckles and beans. The knuckle should ideally be a quality smoked butcher’s product, not a quick-marinated piece of meat suffused with the scent of smoke. In the case of beans, it is important to use dry beans (canned, pre-cooked beans are not suited for making soup; instead, we use them to make a superb chili con carne). The night before, soak the washed beans and knuckle in cold water. This softens the beans and eliminates any overpowering smoked and salty taste from the meat. When purchasing veggies, strive to get high-quality, potentially organic produce.

Roux is used to thicken practically a lot of Hungarian dishes

It’s not particularly nutritious, but it’s tasty… in general. This is also true with roux: they include fat and flour and are not suitable for dieting. However, the soup will be different without it. It adds silkiness, flavor, and thickness to our soup. When making the roux, keep the following in mind:

– use pork lard if feasible, the soup will be better

– stir continually over low heat

– only add paprika immediately after the pan has been withdrawn from the fire

Toast the stir-fry until the mixture turns a light brown color and a toasty aroma wafts into the air – this is a definite indicator that we have heat-treated our roux for an adequate amount of time.

What is the significance of the pinched noodles?

This variety of noodle, known as “csipetke” in Hungary, is an essential component of various meals. Goulash soup and our current favorite, Jókai bean soup, are also examples of such dishes. It is simple to make; we use the standard pasta proportions: 1 medium egg, 100 g plain flour, and a sprinkle of salt mix together. When the dough is done, set it aside for a few minutes before pinching out little pieces and shaping them into small noodles between your fingers. If you don’t want to bother making it, make your favorite pasta and serve it with the soup.


    • 1 medium smoked pork knuckle
    • 300 g of pinto beans
    • 2-3 bay leaves
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1-2 carrots
    • 1 small celery root
    • 1-2 parsley roots
    • 250 g of smoked sausage
    • 150 g of debrecener sausage
    • 1 tbsp of lard
    • 1 onion
    • 2 tbsp of plain flour
    • 2 tsp of paprika
    • 1/2 cup of sour cream
    • salt
    • black pepper
    • To pinched noodles:
      • 100 g of plain flour
      • 1 egg
      • salt to taste



  1.  Soak beans and knuckle in water overnight.
  2. The next day put the knuckle into 3 liters of fresh water and cook with the smoked sausage until are almost tender. Remove knuckle and sausage, then cut them into small cubes and slices.
  3. Add the beans and sliced vegetables to the stock. Season with salt & pepper and bay leaves. Cook the greens until almost tender.
  4. Fry the sliced Debrecener in hot lard until golden brown. Remove and put aside.
  5. Prepare the roux: sauté the finely chopped onion in the remaining lard for 4-5 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of flour, mix and cook until light brown. Remove from the heat and add paprika. Stir well and pour in a cup of water. Stir well again.
  6. Add the roux, chopped meat and, fried sausage to the soup.
  7. Knead pasta from flour, egg, and salt. Pinch out tiny dumplings from the dough. Put the prepared dumplings into soup and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Serve with sour cream and fried sausage pieces.

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