Tbilisi Sketches: In the Court of the Khinkali Queen
17 February, 2016
Culinarybackstreets, the English language website reviewing authentic places to eat and discovering local interesting dishes, features Khinkali, the king of Georgian delicacies, in its latest article. Beside traditional sketches by Andrew North, an artist and journalist based in Tbilisi, the website offers its readers a footage shot in one of the famous cafes, Sofia Melnikova’s Fantastic Douqan, depicting the process of mak
ing Khinkali, big juicy dumplings.

“The khinkali, the modern-day Great Khan of Georgian cuisine, is generally believed to have originated in the isolated mountain hamlets of Khevsureti, where the Caucasus mountain range borders Chechnya. What’s known as the khevsuruli variety is usually made with minced beef or lamb and pork, mixed with onions, chili, coriander and cumin.

Lena, the cook at the restaurant, reckons she makes an average of 500 khinkalis a day, sometimes with a mushroom filling instead of meat. With customers often ordering dozens at a time, most restaurants now use a machine to make their khinkali. But “we make all ours by hand,” says Lena, “fresh for each order.”
I watch as she shapes 12 meat khinkali and then tips them into boiling water for a few minutes. The only thing she ever changes is the proportion of meat, adding more pork “to make them juicier.” Usually, it’s about one-third beef, two-thirds pork.

In khinkali’s journey from the mountains to the lowlands, shocking innovations have occurred over the years. Herbs like parsley have been added, and this variety, known as kalakuri (meaning “urban”), is now more common in Tbilisi. In some places, you can even find them filled with potatoes or cheese.

And if you’re new here, don’t think of trying to use a fork. You eat khinkali with your hands. I venture to ask Lena if she would make khinkali filled with potato. She shakes her head and turns back to making the next batch. “That’s not khinkali”, - reads the article.

Read full article at Culinarybackstreets

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