GEORGIA

Georgian Proverb: მდიდარი ჭამა , როდესაც მათ სურთ , ცუდი ჭამა , როცა მათ შეუძლიათ -The rich eat when they want, the poor eat when they can

Georgia is a transcontinental country which lies directly between the most Western point of Asia and Eastern point of Europe. It has been occupied throughout history by many empires including the Roman, Ottoman and Persian due to it’s geographical importance and natural resources. In 1991 Georgia gained independence from the Soviet Union and has since seen several episodes internal conflict and hostility with Russia, most recently in 2008, around the separation of the independent regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia which resulted in the displacement of 250,000 people to date. In 2014 Action Against Hunger helped 46,474 people to gain economic self sufficiency.

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სუფრა

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The ancient trade route the Silk Road which connected Asia and Europe ran through Phazisi in Georgia and although the influence from that is evident in many dishes, Georgia’s cuisine is as independent and distinct as it’s language and culture. Georgian culture is so diverse and each region has it’s own signature dish and I have tried to cook the favourite dishes from  several different regions. One thing that is the same throughout Georgia is the tradition of Supra – an important Georgian feast complete with an elected toastmaster who is responsible for making sure good conversation is always flowing!

Ingredients 

Badrijani Nigvzit

Aubergine and Walnut Rolls

  • Aubergine
  • Walnuts
  • Garlic
  • Coriander
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Olive oil
  • Fenugreek
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Water

Khinkali

Georgian Dumplings

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Beef mince
  • Red onion
  • Chilli flakes
  • Fenugreek
  • Coriander
  • Salt & Pepper

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Tabaka

Garlic Chicken

  • Chicken wings
  • Garlic
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt & Pepper

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Lobio

Kidney Bean Stew

  • Kidney beans
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Chilli
  • Fenugreek
  • Paprika
  • Olive oil
  • Coriander
  • Parsley
  • Vegetable stock
  • Salt & Pepper

Badrijnis Khizilala

Aubergine Caviar

  • Aubergine
  • Cherry Tomato
  • Coriander
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Pkhali

Spinach and Walnut Spread

  • Spinach
  • Walnuts
  • Coriander
  • Garlic
  • Olives
  • Fenugreek
  • Turmeric
  • Pomegranate
  • White wine vinegar
  • Red onion
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

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Acharuli Khachapuri

Georgian Cheese and Egg Bread

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Feta
  • Hard mozzarella
  • Dill
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

Badrijani Nigvzit

Aubergine and Walnut Rolls

  1. Chop the ends off and slice aubergines length ways – Don’t worry if some slices break or come out uneven, use them in the aubergine caviar dish!
  2. Put a splash of olive oil in a griddle pan and grill the aubergine slices on each side. Once cooked season and set aside to cool.
  3. In a mini chopper whiz up the garlic, coriander, parsley, dill, fenugreek, olive oil and salt & pepper. Add a little water to make into a paste.
  4. When the aubergine slices have cooled, roll some paste into each slice and dress with coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds.

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Khinkali

Georgian Dumplings

  1. First make the dumpling dough by mixing flour, salt and warm water into an elastic dough. Knead for 5 minutes then wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  2. In a bowl add red onion, mince, chilli flakes, fenugreek, coriander and salt & pepper and mix with your hands to form a coarse paste.
  3. When ready dust the worktop with flour. Take handfuls of dough and form into balls, with a rolling pin roll the circles and place a ball of the mince mixture in the middle then close the dough completely over to form dumplings. Keep going this way till all the mince is finished.
  4.  To cook add the dumplings to a pan of boiling salted water until the dumplings float and the doughs become slightly translucent – I used the water from steaming the spinach for the pkhali dish plus some extra.
  5. Meanwhile in a mini chopper add salt, coriander and olive oil to make a dressing.
  6. When cooked drain the dumplings and dress with coriander oil and chilli flakes.

Tabaka

Garlic Chicken

In Georgia this dish is traditionally made by putting a brick on top of the chicken to ensure maximum crisp and even cooking!

  1. Add salt, cayenne pepper a little olive oil and the cloves of a whole bulb of garlic to a pestle and mortar and pound into a paste – Adding salt helps to break down the garlic to give a smoother paste! 
  2. Rub the paste well into chicken wings and leave in the fridge to marinate for up to 2 hours – This dish is traditionally made with small flattened out chickens but chicken wings are so good for sharing. 
  3. Add a little olive oil to a hot pan and place the wings skin side down. Place another saucepan on top of the wings then put a pestle and mortar, or any other heavy object, on top of the second pan to way it down.
  4. After 5 minutes check the chicken is crisping up and throw in some butter. The chicken should have miraculously coloured on both sides but if it hasn’t feel free to turn it over and place the weight back on.
  5. Once cooked serve with fresh chopped parsley and a drizzle of the garlicky buttery pan juices.

Lobio

Kidney Bean Stew

  1. In mini chopper whiz up carrot, red onion and celery until very fine. – This mix is called ‘mirepoix’ and is actually the chubakabra of stews and sauces. Use this in a bolognese sauce and you’ll never, ever cook without it again. 
  2. Add the mirepoix to heated olive oil and sweat on a low heat.
  3. Once the mirepoix has sweated slightly add chopped coriander, a generous spoonful of paprika, chopped fresh chilli and fenugreek then cook keep cooking. After about five minutes add kidney beans and stock then stew on a low heat for 45 minutes adding more water if necessary. Season to taste.
  4. In a mini chopper blend walnuts and olive oil into a paste.
  5. When the stew is ready blend with a hand blender – Don’t worry about it being chunky, it’s much better that way!
  6. Stir in the walnut paste and your Lobio is ready! – This stew is delicious hot or cold, just serve with fresh chopped parsley, paprika and warm bread.

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Badrijnis Khizilala

Aubergine Caviar

  1. Place the roughly cut bits of the left over aubergine, and a whole new aubergine if you like, on a baking tray with salt & pepper and olive oil and put in a hot oven to roast.
  2. Half way through cooking add cherry tomatoes to the same tray.
  3. It will be cooked when soft, remove from oven and leave to cool.
  4. When cool squeeze the tomatoes from their skins into a bowl – They will be the sweetest, nicest things ever.
  5. Scrap the flesh of the aubergine from it’s skin and roughly chop. Mix in with the tomatoes and add chopped fresh coriander.
  6. You only need to season slightly to retain the freshness and sweetness. That’s it, no olive oil or anything!

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Pkhali

Spinach and Walnut Spread

These little spinach balls are like perfect sized individual servings. You pick up a ball, put it on your bread then spread and enjoy!

  1. To make pickled red onion just finely chop onion rings and add to white wine vinegar and sugar then set aside till ready to use.
  2. Add water to a pan and bring to the boil, steam the spinach until wilted – I just put the spinach in a colander and the colander on top of the pan to steam.
  3. In a mini chopper whiz up walnuts, garlic, coriander, white wine vinegar, fenugreek, and salt & pepper.
  4. When wilted take the colander of spinach and run under cold water – This shock  of rapid cooling will retain the green colour and stop the spinach darkening. It’s also good for all other green veg (think pea purée) – once it’s ‘shocked’ it can be heated again and will still be a really bright green!
  5. Retain the water in the saucepan to cook your dumplings in later.
  6. Once cold sqeeze out all the excess liquid from the spinach and add to the mini chopper with the paste. Coarsely chop.
  7. Once well mixed roll into little balls ready for individual spreading!
  8. Serve with pomegranate seeds and pickled red onion rings.

Acharuli Khachapuri

Georgian Cheese and Egg Bread

  1. Mix a tablespoon of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar with warm water, set aside for 20 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy.
  2. Add flour, oil and salt then with a wooden spoon mix into a dough. Transfer to a floured work top and knead for 5 minutes.
  3. Return to a slightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and place in a warm place for at least 2 hours. The dough should be ready when it’s doubled in size.
  4. In a bowl mix together crumbled feta cheese, hard mozzarella cheese, dill and salt & pepper.
  5. When the dough is ready roll out and form into a boat shape, there should be clear edges which will form a higher crust. Cover a tray with baking paper and place the boat on top. – If you have a pizza stone, that is the thing to use!
  6. Put the cheese mix in the middle of the boat and put in a hot oven.
  7. Once the cheese has melted and the dough has mostly cooked take the bread out and paint the crust with egg yolk. Crack a whole egg on top of the cheese mix in the centre of the boat then return to oven.
  8. When the bread is golden and the egg white is cooked take the boat out of the oven. The egg yolk should still be runny! Serve with fresh dill and a sprinkle of paprika.

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Enjoy!

Remember to donate to Action Against Hunger by following this link:  https://www.justgiving.com/Sophia-Vassie

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  1. Pingback: The Countries | Sophia's Global Food Challenge

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