Berlin Memories Beef Goulash

I sent the recipe of my candied teriyaki tazukuri to my family, and my middle brother Al asked me if I have the recipe for my goulash, which I cooked up once and served to my sister in law (then to be) and she raved about the flavours and taste. It seems she remembers the dish!

When my brothers and I were children in East Berlin, our school would take us to a very large hall for meals. I recall, we would leave the school to do so, walk down the street and to this large one story building. We would line up with our metal trays, and I remember seeing other people on the far side of the hall, which was cordoned off. Apparently, we were in the school section, and the other side of that cordon was more of a restaurant. Several years ago, I cooked this going by taste and memories of a goulash that I remembered eating from that food hall, and a recipe I found online that seemed to go in the right direction. I have to say, I was surprised I was able to recreate the flavours, and have made it several times since for my family since moving to Australia. To my surprise however, I hadn’t written up the recipe for my blog, though I vaguely remember posting it somewhere else before.

For our family, this is German Goulash. However, I’m told that this is actually Hungarian Beef Paprikash, but it’s something I recreated out of my memories of what this tasted like in Berlin, and it doesn’t use tomato sauce or any of the other vegetables I tend to see in goulash or paprikash recipes. Unlike the usual goulash it’s not soupy, but rather has a thick gravy, and uses only onions, salt, pepper and paprika powder for spices and seasoning originally but I’ve added bouillon cube and onion soup mix to make it even tastier and heartier. The method stays the same however, and probably could be done in an instant pot or a slow cooker.

This takes a long time to cook because of the amount of time needed to caramelise the onions and to slowly cook the meat into softness. Serve over buttered flat pasta noodles for the way I used to eat it in those Berlin school canteens.

Berlin Memories Beef Goulash

A recipe rebuilt from memories, I hope you find this as hearty and as enjoyable as we do!


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 kg beef stew cut meat (must have some fat and ligaments to properly cook.)
  • 1 kg onions diced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • 4 beef broth cubes
  • 4 tablespoons sweet hungarian paprika powder
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp sweet hungarian paprika powder
  • Cornstarch mixed with water for thickening stew


  • Mix flour, pepper and salt together. Use it to coat the beef cubes. Set aside floured beef.
  • In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onions. Caramelize the onions until translucent and golden.
  • Add beef, beef boullion cubes, onion soup mix. Brown meat, stirring every now and again.
  • Add the paprika powder and stir through the beef. Add just enough water to cover the meat and boil for twenty minutes before turning the heat down to simmer.
  • Simmer for 4 hours, or until meat is spoon-tender.
  • Add the 2 tbsp paprika powder, stir through.
  • Add the cornstarch dissolved in water while swiftly stirring the stew. When the stew has thickened, add the sour cream and stir the stew four hours or longer, until the meat can be cut with a spoon and practically melts in the mouth.
  • Serve hot over rice or buttered flat pasta noodles, or over pierogi.

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