Tourist’s guide to Georgian dishes and the best ones to try when in Georgia

Dishes of Georgian cuisine – this is what you need to try more than once. They combine the Transcaucasian traditions, customs of the Black Sea and Asia, have a bright taste and an appetizing look.

National dishes of Georgian cuisine

Among the main features of Georgian cuisine are:

  • Tasty meat without limits. When cooking, they use both pork and lamb, as well as poultry and beef.
  • Soups without vegetables. Instead, a raw egg, spices and flour sauce are added to the broth during cooking.
  • The abundance of cheeses. Each region of Georgia produces a separate type of cheese.
  • Sauces for every taste. They are served with all dishes and are prepared only with fresh products.

In order not to get lost among the huge number of dishes of Georgian national cuisine, find out what you should definitely try while relaxing in this country.

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Meat cuisine

Khinkali
Photo: Georgian Khinkali

The famous dish of Georgian cuisine. Nutritious and juicy Georgian dumplings are made from pork, beef or veal, less often – from mutton. There is also a vegetarian option – they use boiled potatoes, mushrooms and cheese for the filling. It is necessary to try khinkali in different regions of Georgia, because each region has its own recipe and cooking features.

The traditional list of ingredients for khinkali is:

Traditional Georgian dish - Khinkali
  • Wheat flour
  • Meat
  • Bow
  • Garlic
  • Water
  • Fat
  • Salt and spices (cilantro, red pepper, ground cumin)

The meat and fat are passed through a meat grinder, finely chopped onions and garlic are added to the minced meat. Then it is poured with a small amount of water, mixed with spices.

To prepare the dough, the flour is mixed with water and salt. Then it is rolled out as much as possible, often using special devices that every Georgian housewife has in the kitchen.

Cut the finished dough into small squares and lay them on top of each other, each time sprinkling with flour (there should be at least 15 such layers). Stuffing is prepared in advance. It is placed in the center of the square, folding the edges of the dough with an accordion, as densely as possible. This is the most difficult step in making khinkali.

Georgian dumplings are cooked in small batches, 10-15 pieces for 7-10 minutes each. Then carefully take out and serve the dish on the table.

Georgians themselves usually abundantly sprinkle khinkali with black pepper, but pungency is a feature of their cuisine. You do not have to do this.

The taste of juicy meat filling in combination with a gentle dough justifies all the difficulties of preparing a dish.

Chanahi
Chanahi in a clay pot

A popular Georgian dish of meat and vegetables. Traditionally baked in clay pots. Its basis is pork or lamb, and vegetables are used in potatoes, eggplant, onions, tomatoes, beans or peppers. The recipe necessarily includes tomato juice and adjika, a few cloves of garlic and various spices.

The dish is prepared in a certain sequence, creating each layer with a new ingredient. Dice the meat and vegetables, finely chopped herbs and garlic. First, onions are poured into the pot, then potatoes, eggplant, herbs, tomatoes, peppers and garlic. Each layer is coated with adjika and sprinkled with spices.

To make the meat as tender and juicy as possible, it is laid out in pots last.

Next, the dish is poured with tomato juice and sent to the oven. During cooking, the ingredients are mixed to create a unique flavor. The dish is hearty and slightly spicy, has a pleasant aftertaste and is suitable for any meal at the Georgian feast.

Chicken Satsivi
Photo: Chicken Satsivi

The dish gives you the opportunity to enjoy the unique taste of baked poultry with spicy sauce of Georgian cuisine from walnuts. Typically, the dish is served separately from the side dish, adding some greens, eaten with pita bread or flatbread. The main feature – Satsivi eat cold.

How to cook?

First, boil the chicken. Filter the broth, leave for further dressing. Then bake the chicken until crispy. The bird is cut into pieces, separating bones and meat.

To make the sauce, walnuts are crushed to the state of crumbs. Then they are mixed with spices, stewed onion and chopped cloves. The resulting mixture is poured into chicken stock, beat in a blender, pomegranate juice is added.

The consistency of the sauce is similar to sour cream.

At the end, the meat is put in a saucepan and put in the refrigerator.

Vegetarian food

Many national Georgian dishes consist only of vegetables. The most popular in sunny Georgia are beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms and onions.

Lobio

There are many options and features for preparing this dish, depending on the region of the country and the availability of necessary products in the kitchen of the hostess. But traditionally, onion (the main ingredient) is added onions, garlic, cilantro and spices, for example, cinnamon, adjika, coriander.

Photo: Lobio

Before you start cooking, the beans are soaked in cold water for 8-12 hours. Then it is cooked by adding chopped onions. During cooking, the beans become soft and get a piquant taste.

After making the fire a little quieter, the beans in the pan are partially kneaded so that one half of it is in the form of gruel, and the second remains intact. Stirring, sprinkle it with seasonings and salt. After this, the dish is sprinkled with chopped cilantro and chopped garlic. After 15-20 minutes, the lobio is removed from the heat and allowed to brew a little.

A healthy and unusual dish is served with corn porridge, in Georgian it is called “gomi”.

Lobio is one of those Georgian dishes that you should definitely try.

Georgian soups

Kharcho
Georgian Kharcho Soup

The most popular soup of Georgian national dishes. The islandy flavor and unique spicy aroma will awaken the appetite of even the most demanding gourmet. Perhaps you decide that you have already tried the kharcho and should not spend money on it on vacation. Nevertheless, this soup is worth a try in Georgia, at least for comparison. Believe me, not everything is so simple.

Real kharcho can be tasted only in Georgia. After all, it is here that tklapi is added – plum puree dried in the warm sun. It gives an unusual sourness to the dish, enriching its taste.

Kharcho is traditionally made from beef. But cooks, both in the country itself and abroad, sometimes use chicken and lamb.

How to cook national Georgian soup?

Photo: Kharcho Soup

First, the beef brisket is cut and boiled for 1.5-2 hours, while soaking the tklapi. Then, in the resulting broth, rice is cooked with beef. Along the way, cut onions and hot peppers, pass nuts through a meat grinder.

After that, pepper, nuts and garlic should be mixed and added to the broth. Pour finely chopped greens there. All these ingredients are sent to the pan to the meat, which is seasoned with the remaining spices and tklapi. After 15 minutes, kharcho soup is removed from the heat.

Hash
Khash meat soup

Soup made with virtually no vegetables is what makes it special. This is a fat broth on beef with herbs, spices and, of course, garlic. Many Georgian families eat this national dish for breakfast. Delicious hashs energize them for the whole day. With such a composition – still!

National Cuisine of Georgia - Khash Soup

For cooking, use beef legs, cut lengthwise into two parts. For one day they are kept in the kitchen in cold water, after which they are placed in a large pot and boiled without salt, removing the foam as it appears. When the meat is easily separated from the bones, proceed to the next step.

Cooked beef is cut into several pieces, salted, filtered stock, returned to low heat. At this time, garlic needs to be crushed, and finely chopped herbs. Then the ingredients are mixed with pieces of pita bread and added to the soup. In a few minutes, I can all enjoy the delicious Georgian national dish hash.

National Desserts

Churchkhela

National Georgian delicacy. To make this wholesome and tasty sweet, different types of nuts and badagi are used – special grape juice.

Churchkhela is of different colors and tastes, since each grape variety has its own characteristics. The delicacy is a bit malleable, pleasantly sweet and very soft.

Churchkhela walnut dessert

To prepare this dessert, Georgian cuisine is used:

  • Grape juice
  • Nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds)
  • Wheat and corn flour

For several minutes, nuts are fried in a pan, then left to cool. After cleaning, they are strung on a thick thread and hung in a dry place where there is access to the sun.

To prepare grape jelly for this national delicacy, part of the juice is boiled over a quiet fire. At this time, flour is added to the second (chilled) part, stirring thoroughly, preventing the appearance of lumps. The resulting mixture is poured into boiling juice and boiled until gruel forms.

Each thread with nuts is dipped in jelly and hanged. Two days later, the delicious Georgian dessert is ready to eat.

Since the dish does not contain sugar and dyes, even small children can try churchkhela in Georgia.

Georgian pastries

Khachapuri
Khachapuri - tortillas with cheese

Insanely delicious and very popular cake with viscous cheese, which spread far beyond the borders of Georgia. When preparing them, they use a special “young” cheese – Imereti. It differs from all other varieties by its unusual sour, but at the same time delicate taste.

Adjarian Khachapuri

Georgian Khachapuri consists of:

  • flour
  • cheese
  • yogurt
  • sour cream
  • salt and sugar
  • butter and soda

Before cooking, the butter is left to melt, and the cheese is left in the water briefly to make it less salty. Salt and sugar are added to the yogurt, mixed and the melted butter is poured. Gradually pouring flour, knead the dough.

Shredded or grated cheese is placed in khachapuri. Also in the recipe you will find sour cream, a little oil and salt. All ingredients are mixed. Flat cakes are formed from the dough, inside of which they put the cheese filling. Then spread in a pan and fry until crusty.

Before serving khachapuri lubricated with butter. They are eaten by hands, breaking off small pieces from a cake.

You can experience all the features of the amazing taste of khachapuri not only in the cafe, but also simply on the streets of sunny Georgia.

And be prepared for the fact that the portions in Georgia are very large – it is almost always enough to order one dish for two. So for one meal you can’t try a lot.

Georgian cuisine snacks

Phali
photo: different types of phali

This appetizer is based on vegetables. The most popular are phali from mushrooms, beets, spinach and zucchini, green beans and cabbage. The consistency of the appetizer resembles a paste, it takes pride of place on the festive table.

Phali is prepared in two stages:

  • Peel and stew vegetables until cooked. Wait until they cool.
  • Pass the vegetables through a meat grinder along with the rest of the ingredients: onions, cilantro, garlic, walnuts and spices. Shapes are formed, decorate.

Greens or pomegranates are often used to decorate phali. A soft and cooling snack goes well with lobio, hot cakes and Georgian national wines.

Sauces

Bage

Georgians are masters in the preparation of sauces, which are an integral part of Georgian cuisine.

Bazhe is an incredibly soft, fragrant sauce that impregnates meat and fish, significantly enriching their taste. It is cooked from nuts, served cold.

Photo: bage sauce

In Georgia for the preparation of bage use:

  • walnuts
  • water
  • cilantro
  • garlic
  • hops-suneli
  • vinegar
  • spices (saffron, pepper)

First, the nuts are crushed to form flour. Then they add cold boiled water, salt, vinegar and spices. All ingredients are thoroughly mixed, passed through a blender and refrigerated.

Bazhe is a universal sauce that suits both vegetable and meat dishes, it gives them a spicy taste and aroma.

National dishes of Georgian cuisine are a true gourmet delight. Have a good trip!



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