Nokedli or galuska (better known by its German name, späetzle or spaetzle) is a typical and popular soft egg noodle in Hungary and throughout Central Europe. It is best homemade, with fresh eggs and flour.
Nokedli or galuska is very easy to prepare, though you will need a special späetzle maker (available online, see below) and be prepared to have a messy kitchen!
There are four secrets to make a perfect nokedli or späetzle, which I’ll share with you in this recipe.
Nokedli recipe – How to make Spaetzle
- The first secret to make a perfect nokedli is to prepare the batter right before cooking. Timing is important in this case. I personally put a large pot of water on the stove 10 minutes before serving the noodles. Use hot water or use your kettle so that the water rapidly comes to a boil.
- Also have a large skillet on hand in which you can toss your cooked nokedli with a little bit of oil
- Put your egg noodles’ ingredients in a bowl: 4 cups (500 g) all purpose flour, 5 large eggs, 2 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Mix the ingredients very loosely and add about half a cup of water (120 ml).
- Mix the ingredients just until the point that you don’t see the flour anymore. The second secret for making perfect nokedli is that you don’t overmix it. Never ever think about using a hand mixer.
- When your water is boiling, add some salt and oil to it.
- Start heating up 2 tablespoons of oil or lard in a large skillet. Youll fry your spaetzle right after being cooked, so you need your oil to be hot by that time.
- Put your spaetzle maker (see below) over the boiling water. Fill it up with the batter. Start moving the upper part back and forth with strong movements. The small nokedli noodles will drop from the spaetzle maker into the boiling water. You can cook this quantity in 2 or three batches. Do this with caution, as you’ll be working over hot boiling water.
- Ritght after one batch of batter is in the water, stir it with a wooden spoon. Turn the heat high under the skillet with the oil.
- The third secret for making perfect nokedli is not to overcook them. Once they come up to the surface, they are ready. This takes no more than a minute.
- Use a strainer to get them out of the water and transfer them to the skillet.
- In my opinion, frying your spaetzle for a couple of seconds is the fourth secret for making the perfect nokedli. Use high heat, toss your noodles for about 1 minute.
- Serve immediately! It is best with any kind of paprikás or pörkölt, but you might try it with any food that has a lot of sauce.
You can never determine the exact water amount the spaetzle or nokedli batter needs. It depends on your flour, the size of your eggs. What you want is a sticky, almost runny consistency.
If you like softer nokedli or spaetzle, you can substitue water for 1 or two eggs. Use 50 ml, about a quarter of a cup of water for each egg. Some people also like to substitute some milk for part of the water, which will make your noodles even softer.
And once again the question of oil or lard. Of course you can use vegetable oil, that’s fine (don’t use olive oil though because you need a higher smoking point oil for frying your noodles). But if you want the real deal, use good quality lard. Goose fat, duck fat or mangalica fat are the best.
You can keep these in the fridge for a few days, but it’s just not the same. Make it fresh and eat it fresh.
Spaetzle, Nokedli, Galuska – The Origins
You can find this kind of soft egg noodles everywhere throughout Central Europe. The internationally known spaetzle name is from the southern part of Germany, although spaetzle there means more of a lengthy shape noodle. This kind of fat noodle that we have in Hungary is called Knöpfle in German.
In Hungary we use the names nokedli and galuska interchangeably, but even those names derive from German and Slavic origins. You can find them also in Austria, Switzerland, Slovakia and Poland.
These egg noodles are best made fresh, but if you find this process difficult and want to try them anyway, make sure you order some nokedli or spaetzle that is not dried. In Hungary and Central Europe you can find these in the frozen food section of supermarkets, but I think this is not an option in the US or in other countries. Here are a few pre-packaged spaetzle recommendations from Amazon, would you try to order them online. Please note that sometimes these are made of durum wheat, but we only use regular all purpose wheat when making nokedli.
Spatzle maker or galuska maker (galuskaszaggató in Hungarian) is a special kitchen utensil designed for making nokedli.