Last week, I was in Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia. The country is known for two things, amazing landscapes and great food. The landscape was attractive. However, being a chef I must confess, the food was even better.
One of the things the country is known for is Khinkali. Wherever I went, I tried Khinkali or the Georgian Dumpling for a layman. Khinkali is different from its cousins Bao from Japan and Momos from Nepal ( now usually made in Lajpat Nagar Delhi) in a lot of ways. The few differences I could figure out instantly were
- The filling is a mix of two different kinds of Meat. Usually, Pork and Beef.
- The filling is juicy and not dry unlike Momos
- Unlike Dimsums, where you have that translucent sheet, Khinkali sheets are thick and you cannot see what’s inside till you taste it, which is like an explosion of flavors
Coming to the origin story of Khinkali, few of the guides told me that the great Mongols brought this to Georgia and it never left the country. Other say that it is from the Georgian mountain regions of Pshavi, Mtiuleti, and Khevsureti.
I tried Khinkali in Tbilisi and also in the Khevsuteri region. Finally, when I went to Kutaisi, I tried making it on my own at a masterclass at Khareba Vinery. Here’s what I learned.
- Mix two types of minced meat. It can be chicken and lamb or pork or lamb. Red meat is always tender than white
- Add salt, Black pepper, cayenne pepper, and white pepper, garlic powder, and finely chopped basil
- Marinate the mix till the salt and pepper cuts through the meat making it tender and juicy
- Take a rice tortilla or puff pastry sheet. Put a spoon full of the mixture inside the puff pastry and start sealing it tightly. The more pressure you apply the better. That way, the juices stay intact
- Once ready, keep it aside for a while and prepare a pot of boiling water
- leave the khinkali to boil for 10 minutes and its ready to serve to eat
The below image is the final output of Khinkali as created by a professional chefs at the Khevsureti region in Georgia. This is a much more difficult technique and I need more practice to create such perfect dumplings. The video of creating the Khinkali below.
Although, I must confess this recipe might differ from the original one and any Georgian reading my blog can fix this. But, I am surely giving it a try in my kitchen and post videos. It amazes me how a country, which has most of the food items based out of cheese and milk has something with such Asian flavors in it.
I will post soon about the various other fantastic things I learned in Georgia. It’s an amazing country and I will be back soon. Till then, keep cooking!
Read all of my recipes here