10 Most Popular Georgian Dishes
Georgian cuisine has very long history. Dishes prepared in this country, attract too many travelers and locals. Georgia has several famous dishes and in this article, we will be talking about some types of food produced in this beautiful country.
Khinkali, also spelled as Hinkali is a Georgian dumpling, which originated in the Georgian mountain regions of Pshavi, Mtiuleti and Khevsureti. Varieties of khinkali spread from there across different parts of the Caucasus. The fillings of khinkali vary with the area. The original recipe, the so-called khevsuruli, consisted of only minced meat (lamb or beef and pork mixed), onions, chili pepper, salt, and cumin. However, the modern recipe used mostly especially in Georgian urban areas, the so-called kalakuri, uses herbs like parsley and cilantro (also called coriander). In Muslim-majority areas the use of beef and lamb is more prevalent. Mushrooms, potatoes, or cheese may be used in place of meat.
Khinkali is eaten plain or with ground black pepper. The meat filling is uncooked when khinkali is assembled, so when it is cooked, the juices of the meat are trapped inside the dumpling. To make khinkali juicier usually warm water or broth is added to the minced meat. Khinkali is typically consumed first by sucking the juices while taking the first bite, in order to prevent the dumpling from bursting. The top, where the pleats meet, is tough, and is not supposed to be eaten, but discarded to the plate so that those eating can count how many they have consumed. In Georgia, this top is called the kudi or k'uch'i.
There is a widespread etiquette in Georgia to use only one's bare hands while consuming these dumplings; the using of utensils, like a fork, is considered impolite.
The towns of Dusheti, Pasanauri and Mtskheta are particularly famous for their khinkali.
Khachapuri, also spelled as Hachapuri is a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread. The bread is leavened and allowed to rise and is shaped in various ways, usually with cheese in the middle and a crust which is ripped off and used to dip in the cheese. The filling contains cheese (fresh or aged, most commonly sulguni), eggs and other ingredients.
It is more popular among men and older people. As a Georgian staple food, the price of making khachapuri is used as a measure of inflation in different Georgian cities by the Khachapuri index, developed by the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University.
It is Georgia's national dish that is inscribed on the list of the Intangible cultural heritage of Georgia.
Types Of Khachapuri:
There are several distinctive types of khachapuri in Georgian food from different regions of Georgia:
• Imeretian (Imeruli) khachapuri, which is circular and probably the most common type.
• Adjarian (Acharuli/Adjaruli) khachapuri, in which the dough is formed into an open boat shape and the hot pie is topped with a raw egg and a pat of butter before serving.
• Mingrelian (Megruli) khachapuri, similar to Imeritian but with more cheese added on top.
• Achma, from Abkhazia, which has multiple layers and looks more like a sauceless lasagna.
• Gurian (Guruli) khachapuri has boiled eggs inside the dough and looks like a calzone. Arguably, it is not a type of khachapuri. Gurians make them for Christmas and call them simply 'Christmas pie'. In the rest of Georgia, it is called 'Gurian pie'.
• Ossetian (Osuri) khachapuri, which has potato, as well as cheese in its filling. It is commonly called Khabizgini.
• Svanuri Lemzira
• Rachuli khachapuri
• Penovani khachapuri is made with puff pastry dough, resulting in a flaky variety of the pie.
3. Georgian Bread
Tradition of bread baking in Georgia counts centuries and is very important part for every Georgian’s everyday life.
in Georgia, bread is called puri (pronounced “poo-ree”) and is traditionally baked in a deep circular clay oven called a tone (pronounced “ton-AY”). Traditional bread, especially the long pointed bread called shotis puri, is very popular and usually specially during holidays. . Georgians are bakersa and very good ones at that. Almost every meal is served with fresh, warm bread, perfect for dipping in stews or filling you up even more! You can find traditional bakeries with a stone oven on almost every corner and the bread is baked fresh constantly. Fresh Georgian bread is so tasty you can eat it without any meal and you will enjoy.
There are several types of Georgian Bread
• Shoti Puri
• Tonis Puri
• Meskuri Puri
• Qvis puri
• Kveri and etc.
Bread for Georgians is so important as wine, especially after that when Georgia became orthodox country. Nowadays in every corner you can buy Fresh warm bread and don’t forget some Georgian cheese!
4. Georgian Cheese
Georgian tradition of cheese making counts more than 80 centuries. This is evidenced by the pottery for the cheese manufacturing, found in archeological excavations, which are stored in the Mtskheta Museum.
Georgia is in the top ten of "cheese" countries and makes about 250 kinds of this product, but only 14 varieties of Georgian cheese are registered officially. As you guess Cheese is very popular in Georgia, over 250 varieties of cheese are produced in Georgia. You can not see covered table without cheese and cheese product, Georgians produce very healthy, natural and tasty types of cheese, every region has tens of types of it but all of them have favorite one.
Most popular cheese types among Georgians are:
• Dambal’khacho (cheese from eastern Georgia's mountain region)
• Sulguni (cheese from Samegrelo region. It is sometimes smoked)
• Imeruli (cheese from Imereti region)
• Guda (Cheese from Tusheti, mountain Region)
• Tenili cheese (a variety of string cheese from Meskheti region of southern Georgia)
• Svanetian marchvi (Cheese from Svaneti Region)
• Kalti (Cheese from Tusheti, mountain Region)
• Chechili (Adjara and Samtskhe-Javakheti region)
• Kobi (Cheese from Kazbegi, mountain Region)
Georgian Cheese goes well with Georgian wine!
Shkmeruli is a chicken dish from the village of Shkmeri, Racha region of Georgia. Chicken in a special spicy sauce with garlic and milk, often cooked on a clay pan.
Its ingredients are: chicken, mashed garlic and milk.
Dish could have originated in Village of Shkmeri, Racha. If you decide to try Shkmeruli In Shkmeri, I can tell you that this quite exotic village (elevation 1700m) is home to Usholta Caves. It’s usually served in the pan and, like most Georgian portions, is enough to feed an army! You can, of course, try Shkmeruli in the most restaurants in Tbilisi or other cities. Locally it can be tried in some other places of Racha. A must-try for garlic lovers!
is a traditional Georgian dish of various kinds of prepared beans (cooked or stewed), containing coriander, walnuts, garlic and onion. There are many varieties of lobio, both hot and cold.
It is said to have originated in Georgia. The dish most likely predates any division of the lands into countries. As with many Georgian dishes, lobio is spicy, but not necessarily hot. One of the traditional recipes for lobio does not call for hot peppers (as other recipes do) but relies solely on ground black pepper for its spice. While there are many ways of making lobio, the most common of which is a cold dish called lobio nigozit, typically made with dark red kidney beans which are cooked and then mashed with garlic, onions, walnuts, coriander, marigold petals, chili pepper and vinegar, and then allowed to marinate overnight. A hot version is usually made with white beans.
In other hot varieties lobio may contain meat. Beans would be put in the pot with water and spices and allowed to sit overnight. The following day, the pot would be placed over a fire or, if available, in a small exposed oven, and the beans slowly cooked. At the appropriate stages, meat and other vegetables would be added to cook. The cooked lobio would then be served in the clay pot, along with a flat bread.
Lobio, in its traditional format, progressed to become a standard recipe the ingredients of which varied depending on the area in which it was cooked.
Ghomi is a traditional Georgian dish from western region of Samegrelo. It is made with cornmeal and slices of cheese put in the hot portions to melt before tasting, cheese is usually it is consumed with, but it also perfectly goes well with Bazhe - spicy walnut gravy, Satsivi – chicken/turkey in walnut sauce, fried fish, Kharcho – meat in heavy walnut soup or Lobio- red Georgian beans. Elarji is another sort of Ghomi, but prepared in different way, Its preparation is quite simple - you need to boil the cornflour in the cauldron and gradually add cheese until you get some kind of a dough. It is one of those meals I would not order at the restaurant - it tastes best in Samegrelo. Interesting is also the serving style - shepherds just pour the content of the cauldron onto the bench, cut it into strips and you can eat. This is traditional old way of serving Ghomi/Elarji.
It is considered to be one of the most popular dishes in Georgia. It is made from lamb chops or veal, onions, tarragon leaves, cherry plums or tkemali (cherry plum sauce), dry white wine, mixed fresh herbs (parsley, mint, dill, coriander), garlic and salt. Chakapuli can also be made with beef or mushrooms instead of lamb. Meat stewed with the leaves of tarragon and a sour additive (usually tkemali, but a better cook will use sour plums). The meat is soft and has an unusual, exotic taste. True chakapuli should be cooked from veal or lamb meat, but common is also one made from chicken or mushrooms, the last one is very popular during the fasting time in Georgia. You can try Chakapuli everywhere in Georgia, but if you want to feel real tals of Chakapuli, visit Kakheti region.
9. Tomato-cucumber salad
To prepare this traditional salad, one needs only a few minutes. Cut cucumbers and tomatoes, add few rings of red onion, some parsley and it is all done. It is very simple, but the true appeal of this salad lies in ingredients. Why this salad is special in Georgia? Because of ingredients, all vegetables in Georgia taste much better, are more natural and healthy than anywhere. If you want to try this salad with whole Georgian taste in it, you can order it also with the walnut-garlic paste and Kakhetian oil, this is the best one! Besides this lasad you can eat tens of Georgian salads made with different vegetables and plus fruits.
10. Nigvziani Badrijani
Probably the best-known Georgian appetizer and also a safe bet if you want to introduce this cuisine to the newcomer as almost everybody likes it. Preparation process is not difficult, salted eggplants are sliced lengthwise and rested for a while, bitter juice of the eggplants is pressed out. Then they are fried in oil and stored in the refrigerator. The filling is prepared with walnuts, garlic, coriander, cayenne pepper, salt, fenugreek and vinegar. All of these ingredients are mixed in a food processor with water. Seasonings are added to this puree. It is recommended to let the fried eggplants and the stuffing to chill separately and to assemble them just a couple of hours before serving. A layer of stuffing is placed in each slide of the eggplants, and the latter should be rolled up tightly. Badrijani can be garnished with red onions, coriander or pomegranate seed.
If you’re travelling to Georgia make sure you leave some space in your schedule and stomach to try some delicious local food. It varies throughout the country but most of the staples are available everywhere, in every restaurant but most of Georgian dishes are Side-meals, so we recommend you to try each food in its homeland. Food is also very cheap in Georgia so you can order Georgian food in local restaurants without any stress. Georgia is one the most undiscovered foodie destinations in the world with its old, traditional and unique cuisine. Hurry up and visit Georgia, before rest of the tourists arrive and eat everything!
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Blog By Shota Cherkezishvili