I’m not sure if all of you have already heard about the poppy seed (in Hungary it is called ‘mák’ or if something is made of it we call it ‘mákos’). Whether you have tasted it or not, you can’t be satisfied until you know how varied it can be used in Hungary. From the simplest of dishes like ‘mákos tészta’ (noodles with poppy seeds and powdered sugar) to Christmas dinner’s most popular pastry the ‘mákos bejgli’ (pastry roll, it is sweet and has many varieties of fillings, the most common of which are poppy seeds and walnuts). These little black seeds are one of the most indispensable ingredient of our cuisine.

My aim is to show you recipes that are sure to get you addicted to poppy seeds. Once you eat a really good ‘mákos guba’ you won’t want to eat anything else, I promise!

Let’s see the list of our recipes to choose:

  • mákos tészta (quick and easy, for lunch)
  • mákos beigli
  • mákos guba (very easy to make, I advise you to try this at first)
  • poppy seed cake (without flour)
  • poppy seed cake filled with jam
  • mákos zserbó (just for experienced chefs)

Mákos guba

Ingredients (serves 2)

1/3 of a loaf of French stick bread (slightly stale and dry is best) or 4 ‘kifli’

160ml milk

25g raisins (optional)

5g butter

40g poppy seeds

grated zest of one lemon

a few drops of vanilla extract

40g icing sugar

liquid honey (approx. 1 tbsp)


1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Grease a deep baking pan or glass baking tray with half the butter.

2. Melt the other half of the butter in a saucepan. Then add the milk, icing sugar, raisins, a few drops of vanilla extract and the grated lemon zest. Warm it up on a medium heat, stirring often.

3. In the meantime, slice up the French stick bread or ‘kifli’ (approx. 1.5 cm thick slices). Arrange the slices in a flat container and pour the hot milk over them. Soak the bread until the slices are soft, but not mushy. If necessary, turn the slices over to ensure they are evenly soaked through.

4. Remove the slices and arrange them in the baking pan. Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes, or until the bread becomes slightly drier.

5. While the bread is in the oven, grind the poppy seeds in a coffee grinder.

6. Remove the bread from the oven, sprinkle the poppy seed mixture on top, drizzle with about half of the honey, then put it back to bake for another 5 minutes or so. Serve warm, drizzled generously with honey or a dusting poppy seed cakeof icing sugar.

Poppy seed cake (without flour)

Ingredients for 4
  • 200 g ground poppy seeds
  • 50 g dessicated coconut
  • 5 tablespoons of sugar
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • 1 sliced banana
  • 1 chopped apple
  • water (2-3 dl)
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 2 eggs


1.    In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except for thebanana.  Spread batter evenly into a pan. Put the banana slices on the top of the cake.

2.    Bake for 25-30 minutes.


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