Yes, potato dumplings are endlessly versatile. Instead of a filling, these diamond-shaped gnocchi are coated in butter and sugared poppy seeds (or ground walnuts). People in Hungary usually eat mákos nudli as a main course after a hefy soup.
Yield: 4-5 servings; Total time: 1 hour
For the dumplings
700 grams (1 ¾ pounds) potatoes, peeled coarsely chopped
250 grams (2 cups) flour
1 tablespoon semolina flour
2 tablespoons soft butter
½ teaspoon salt
For the poppy seeds mixture & finish
140 grams (1 ⅓ cups) finely ground poppy seeds
8 tablespoons (½ cup) powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter
Step 1: Cook the potatoes in a pot of 3 liters (3.2 quarts) salted and boiling water until they turn soft, almost mushy, about 20 minutes, then drain. In a mixing bowl, using a potato masher or a ricer, mash potatoes while still warm into a fine paste.
Step 2: Combine flour, semolina, egg, soft butter, and salt with the potato paste. Lightly knead with hands into a ball, about 2 minutes. Dough should be firm and not sticky. Add more flour to it if still sticky.
Step 3: Heat 3 liters (3.2 quarts) salted water in a large pot to a low simmer.
Step 4: Sprinkle plenty of flour on a counter or pastry board, cut the dough in half, and roll one half with a rolling pin into a 1 cm (½-inch) thick dough. With a knife, slice it into 1 ½ cm (⅔-inch) wide long strips. Then cut each strip into small pieces diagonally, around 2 ½ cm (1 inch) each. Take one piece of dough between your palms, roll it into a log (rub your palms against each other once), and place it into the simmering water. Repeat for the remaining dough pieces, and then for the other dough half. The whole thing takes about 15 minutes.
Step 5: Cook dumplings at a low simmer until they rise to the surface, about 5 minutes. When dumplings have accumulated on the surface, scoop them out with a fine mesh strainer and add to a pot. Place the butter into the pot and mix well so dumplings don't stick together.
Step 6: Mix together poppy seeds and powdered sugar in a small bowl and then pour the mixture over the dumplings. Combine so that each dumpling is coated in poppy seeds. Serve the mákos nudli on plates or in bowls while hot.
Words of advice
Don’t fuss too much about the size of the dumplings. Some people cut bigger chunks because it’s less effort and those work just as well.
I created these recipes with the help of nearly a dozen historical Hungarian cookbooks, adjusting ingredients, cooking times, and methods to reflect my own preferences and tastes of the current day.