Five most delicious dishes straight from the Georgian mountains
05 September, 2015
Georgian cuisine boasts immense variety, with the menu being almost completely different depending on the country’s region. Unfortunately, many dishes originating in Georgia’s mountainous regions are slowly disappearing, with people who know how to prepare them properly becoming few and far between. Ambebi.ge has invited Ketevan Adeishvili, executive editor of Gemrieli magazine, to shed some light on five most mouth-watering dishes Georgian highlands have to offer.

Ketevan Adeishvili:

- In addition to comprising the list, I also conducted a small
survey among my friends to find out which dish they liked most. Khinkali was named as the most popular dish, followed by khachoerbo, kubdari, choban kaurma and Rachan ham. Kaimaghi and pkhali-derived dishes were also mentioned. But let us start from the beginning.

Khinkali

geotv.ge

These enormous dumplings are considered to be a Pshav dish in origin that was gradually adopted by the rest of the country. There are also rumors of the dish being introduced by Mongols, but they are yet to be verified. However, great Georgian scholar and linguist Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani describes khinkali in one of his manuscripts as fatty mutton ham, which has absolutely nothing to do with what the dish looks like today. On the other hand, Chinese dumplings called baozi are very similar in shape to our khinkali, with stuffing and preparation method being the only differences.

Nevertheless, the dish has a whole set of rituals associated with it in Georgian highlands. Not a single festive supra (feast) goes without a massive plate of khinkali on the table. Pshavi region alone has several variations of the dish; khinkali dough is universally made from flour and water, but the list of stuffing ranges from cottage cheese and mushrooms to far more popular pork, lamb and beef. Meat stuffing always comes with salt, black pepper and onions; in addition, highlanders add mountain savory to it, while plain-dwellers prefer to use cumin instead. Sometimes meat stuffing is made with mint, which alters the taste of khinkali radically.

Unfortunately, the dish has been twisted beyond recognition in urban areas, with restaurants being the main culprits. The list of ingredients has been expanded to include starch, and very few cooks nowadays have qualms with using frozen dough and meat, the resulting dish having nothing in common with genuine khinkali. However, the warm and welcoming restaurants are also a main contributor to khinkali becoming the most popular dish in Georgia, with locals and foreign visitors alike.

Khachoerbo

geotv.ge

This dish is made from mixing dambalkhacho and boiled butter. The former is a type of cottage cheese made from curd that is dried using a traditional Pshav method. Cottage cheese is split into portions (roughly 300g each) and is drained of moisture. After that, it is knead by hand and put into jobani – small wicker baskets – to dry. Once the cottage cheese dries, it is put into clay pots and covered. It takes about a month and a half for it to develop a special kind of mold that is very beneficial for health when consumed. In order to make khachoerbo, dambalkhacho is grated, melted in warm butter and used as spread.

Kubdari

geotv.ge

Kubdari is a Svan delicacy. Many are familiar with Georgian khachapuri, which is made from dough and cheese. In case of kubdari, cheese is replaced with minced meat. The round shape of khachapuri, lobiani and kubdari has its roots deep in pagan Georgia’s sun cult. This is also the reason why they are all daubed in egg yolk before baking.

Traditional kubdari is made from yeasted dough with either mutton or veal. Pork is almost never used, and beef taken from old cattle is unacceptable. The minced meat must be kneaded by hand for half an hour while adding garlic and savory. After that, the meat is wrapped in dough and first fried on a pan and then put into an oven. Kubdari made by an experienced cook ends up crunchy on the outside with a tender and soft stuffing inside. This is achieved by making the dough thick enough to hold the meat while not thick enough to puff up in the oven completely due to yeast. Svans also have a habit of heating up cold kubdari on coals, which makes its taste even more exquisite.

Choban kaurma

geotv.ge

Choban kaurma is known not only in Georgian highlands, but also beyond, in the North Caucasus. “Choban” is a Turkish-derived word that means “shepherd”. As the name says, it was originally made with whatever limited methods and tools the shepherds had. A sack stuffed with meat was buried in a shallow pit and then a fire was lit above it. Once the meat got cooked, it was removed and flavored with any spice the shepherd had at his disposal – it could be salt, garlic or even wild peppermint. Despite simplicity and relative rusticity of the dish, it is immeasurably delicious when made properly.

Rachan ham

geotv.ge

Preparation of Rachan ham is a ritual in itself, since the traditional recipe takes six months to complete. It begins with properly raising and feeding the pig before slaughtering it, which is a very costly process both due to time it takes and the high quality of fodder it requires.

After the pig is slaughtered, it is gutted, treated with boiling water, cut into pieces, salted and smoked. The latter takes about half a year, but the result is simply mouth-watering. Rachans habitually add this ham to their lobiani, but it is almost always served whole at holiday meals.

Two other popular highlander delicacies are kaimaghi and pkhali-derived dishes. Kaimaghi is freshly skimmed cream into which finely ground cheese is dipped. The dish is Adjarian in origin, but it is very popular in the mountainous Mtskheta-Mtianeti region. As for pkhali, it is made from very finely minced and chopped vegetables, but highlanders often use it as stuffing for khachapuri instead of eating it raw. Regardless of whether pkhali is made from beetroot or spinach or chard, the methods of its preparation vary. Some cooks add grated cheese to the mix, others prefer chopped onions. However, the end result of oven-baked khachapuri with pkhali stuffing is always immensely delicious.

By Tako Esebua
Print
Other Stories
Georgian cheese boat Adjaruli Khachapuri - New York Essential Dish
Now everyone knows Khachapuri, popular cheese bread from Georgia, that has become a must dish in New York city.
Red eggs, Wheat, Paska - Meaning of Easter symbols
There are several symbols that have become a part of Orthodox Easter celebration. Eggs dyed in red, frequently served on the wheat planted at home
How to Dye Easter Eggs the Traditional Way
Symbols of Easter and life itself, red eggs are one of the main attributes of the Easter table. They are dyed on Good Friday, the color representing
“My dream is to visit Georgia one day” - Traveler from NY prepares Georgian dinner with friends
Georgian food and trademarks such as khachapuri, cheese bread, khinkali, meat dumplings, nigvziani badrijani, eggplant rolls with walnut
Famous American culinary show teaches how to prepare Georgian cheese boat
Extremely delicious cheese bread Adjaruli Khachapuri from Georgia’s mountainous Adjara Region
Famous US chef and author recommends: Visit Georgia!
Anthony Bourdain is well-known in the US for his Emmy-winning travel show “Parts Unknown,” on CNN. One of the last episodes was dedicated to Georgia.
Georgian cheese boat video captivates internet users
Popular Georgian cheese bread Adrajuli khachapuri has been spotlighted by world-famous website Culture Trip.
Top Georgian wine and cheese pairings – Simple guide
Combining wine and cheese is an unquenchable subject and it is being discussed by many gourmets and experts around the world.
Borano – Cheese omlette from Adjara
Adjarian dishes are an integral part of Georgian cuisine and its culture.
Top 9 must try Adjarian dishes
All regions of Georgia stand out for their local delicious dishes and they make up the entire Georgian cuisine
Famous Adjaruli Khachapuri featured at Food Network
World famous American food channel Food Network published a video recipe of a popular Georgian cheese bread Adjaruli Khachapuri.
 Chocolate Khinkali: Italian Chef’s extraordinary version of Georgian dumpling
Georgian cuisine, known for its hearty dishes and unique spicy flavors, has gone beyond Georgia's borders and captivated the hearts of many food enthusiasts around the world.
Most amazing cheese boats served in Georgian restaurant in NY
Georgian boat-shaped cheese bread named Adjaruli Khachapuri is not only Georgians’ beloved dish but now has already become a favorite dish of many people internationally.
Machari – New wine fermentation process in kvevri
Machari in Georgian is the name for new wine, when the pressed grape juice reaches the condition of fermentation. Machari has intensive aroma and sweet taste.
Delicious process: Preparing famous Georgian candy churchkhela
Georgian candy churchkhela, also known as Georgian Snickers, is widely popular with locals and especially with tourists.
Georgian wine vs. popular international varieties - Famous Master of Wine gives comparison
The first recipient of the Master of Wine title in Asia and a multi-media wine journalist Debra Meiburg compares Georgian
How perfect khachapuri is made in Guria
There are various methods of baking Georgian cheese bread khachapuri in different regions of the country.
How to make Adjarian Khachapuri at home
Adjaruli Khachapuri is another version of Georgian cheese bread. The dish originated in the seaside region of Georgia, Adjara.
Georgian food, wine gaining ground in US culinary scene
A former plastic surgeon, Maia Acquaviva left Georgia 3 years ago and went to live in New York, where she opened a Georgian restaurant.
Tbilisi Sketches: In the Court of the Khinkali Queen
Culinarybackstreets, the English language website reviewing authentic places to eat and discovering local interesting dishes, features Khinkali,
Tbilisi Sketches - Muscling Up Some Churchkhela
Culinarybackstreets has dedicated yet another article to Georgian cuisine after the previous thorough description of how Georgian bread Shoti
Tbilisi Sketches: Bread, the Georgian Way
Culinarybackstreets has dedicated a special article to Shotis puri or simply Shoti, a traditional Georgian delicious bread shaped like a canoe.
Imeruli khachapuri – One of Georgia’s most popular type of cheese bread
Khachapuri! When you hear this word, know that it means crispy thin bread filled with soft tender cheese, which stretches from your mouth as you take a bite.
It’s definitely worth a try – Golden eggplants filled with walnuts
The eggplant has a long history in Georgian cuisine.
Soup-Kharcho with rice - Time to warm up!
Soup-kharcho is one version of the traditional Georgian soup Kharcho, which is made with beef, walnuts and rice.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
16.11.2018
17.11.2018
USD
1
USD
2.6818
2.6727
EUR
1
EUR
3.0299
3.0268
GBP
1
GBP
3.4332
3.4240
RUB
100
RUB
4.0185
4.0447
750ml
Kvevri
Zangaura  / 2015
19.90
750ml
Red Semi-Sweet
Schuchmann Wines  / 2015
23.95
750ml
White Dry
None  / 2016
18.30
Other Stories
The website TasteAtlas which provides tourists and people interested in traditional cuisine with a wide range of dishes from different parts of the world.
Georgian food is popular. Not only in Georgia but also abroad.
Khinkali, Mtsvadi and Khachapuri are the most famous words about the Georgian cuisine.
The website TasteAtlas which provides tourists and people interested in traditional cuisine with a wide range of dishes from different parts of the world.
Georgia includes regions of the different climate, which produce many different fruits or food.
The mountainous regions of Georgia preserve the oldest recipes for their traditional dishes.
The website TasteAtlas which provides tourists and people interested in traditional cuisine with a wide range of dishes from different parts of the world.
The website TasteAtlas which provides tourists and people interested in traditional cuisine with a wide range of dishes from different parts of the world.
Georgia offers a whole range of local dishes. Georgian cuisine has been shaped by different cultures
Bozbashi is a Georgian hot meal. Each region of Georgia has its own way of cooking Bozbashi.