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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Georgian Cuisine

Georgian cuisine refers to the cooking styles and dishes with origins in the nation of Georgia and prepared by Georgian people around the world.Georgian cuisine in part has been influenced by Middle Eastern and European culinary traditions. Dishes use a lot of various herbs and spices. Each historical province of Georgis has its own distinct culinary traditions, such as Megrelian, Kakhetian, or Imeretian cusiines. The food not only includes various meat dishes but also offers a variety of vegetarian meals.

Appetizers are important in Georgian cuisine. They are meant to enhance the appetite so they are usually salty, spicy or astringent. One of the main ingredients in these dishes is cheese.

Khachapuri (cheese bread) a filled bread dish which is similar to the Turkish pevnirli (pide). Bread is leavened and allowed to rise, then shaped in various ways. The filling contains cheese (fresh or aged, most commonly suluguni), eggs and other ingredients.
Lobiana a "Bean Khachapuri" where the bread is baked and filled with a seasoned bean stuffing. It is especially eaten on the Georgian holiday of Barbaroba or St. Barbara’s Day (December 17).

Chanakhi – Mutton or lamb is cut in pieces and placed at the bottom of a pot. Then a layer of eggplant with garlic, finely chopped onions, parsley and basil. On top of this is placed tomatoes and potatoes. Sprinkled with salt and pepper and baked.

Gadazelili – Cheese is finely sliced and placed in hot milk then cooked on low heat. The cheese mass is then blended with chopped mint and shaped into a flat cake and served with the milk in which the cheese was cooked.

Georgian Cheese Pastries – A pastry dough is prepared and refrigerated at least 1 hour or up to 30 days. Then the dough is rolled out and circles are cut out to be filled with a filling made of muenster, cheddar, parmesan cheeses and parsley, chives and mint. Baked until golden brown.

Mchadi - corn flour is mixed with water and kneaded into a dough then shaped into round flat caked and baked.

Tolma (stuffed grape leaves) - Lamb is minced and mixed with boiled rice, chopped onion and dill. Seasoned with salt and pepper and filled in grape or cabbage leaves rolled up into a sausage shape. Then placed in rows in a casserole and butter and stock are poured over. Covered tightly and simmered for an hour. Served with sour cream mixed with grated garlic and salt or cinnamon mixed with powdered sugar.

Soup is usually served between the appetizer and the main course. Most of them contain vegetables, rice, poultry, eggs and garlic. The most famous soup is kharcho which consists of mutton and rice. There is also chikhirtma based on chicken and khashi soup made from beef and garlic and is one of the best known Georgian dishes, all over the world. It gives energy to those who consume it and is a known remedy for hangovers.

Khashi (Tripe Soup) - Suet is ground and placed into a stockpot. A split calf’s foot, beef tripe is added and cooked over low heat. When the meat gives off juices water is added and the soup is cooked 5 to 6 hours until the tripe is tender. Bread is soaked in milk. Before serving the soup the calf’s foot is removed and the bread is stirred into the soup. Salt and pepper are added and grated garlic is stirred in.

Chikhitma (Georgian Mutton Soup) - Mutton is boiled until tender and the stock strained through a cheese cloth. Then chopped onion is sautéed in butter and sprinkled with flour and browned. Mutton is returned to the stock and the onions are added along with saffron, salt and pepper. Grape vinegar is boiled separately and added to the soup and brought to a boil and removed. Egg yolks are beaten with a little stock and stirred into the soup. Sprinkled with coriander leaves and served.

Gulaschsuppe (Goulash Soup) - Onions are fried and combined with green peppers and tomato paste. The lean cubed beef, garlic cloves, red pepper, paprika, beef broth, lemon juice and caraway seeds are added and stewed until meat is tender. If you wish cubed potatoes may be added as well.

Kharcho (Georgian Beef Soup) - A brisket is cut into pieces then brought to a boil. After simmering for 2 hours finely sliced onion, crushed garlic, rice and tart plums are added. After another 25 minutes sautéed tomatoes or tomato puree is added and cooked for another 5 – 1o minutes. The soup is then sprinkled with chopped coriander, parsley or dill and served.

Kremithosoupa (Onion Soup) – Cubed potatoes are combined with sliced onions in a stock pot to which tomato sauce and water or broth are added to cover them. This is boiled for 30 minutes.

Lobio is the most famous Georgian salad made from kidney beans. This name is shared by the dried beans and the salads that use them as main ingredients. Georgia has two varieties of kidney beans - red and white. Georgia is well known for both its salads and dressings.

Adjapsandal of Eggplant - Eggplant is cut into pieces, sprinkled with salt and let sit for half an hour. Then finely shredded onions are fried, eggplant is added and stewed. Then a laurel leaf and Bulgarian pepper is added along with shredded greens, garlic, salt and pepper.

Beet Salad Georgian Style - For a smooth style salad or spread boiled beets, prunes, garlic, walnuts are processed in a food processor then salt and pepper is added and mayonnaise. For a chunkier salad beets may be grated and walnuts chopped.

Georgian Garlic Salad - 50 cloves of garlic are peeled and placed into boiling water. Turn off heat and wait 3-5 minutes then place garlic into cold water. Salt in dissolved into lemon juice and a vinaigrette is made of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and herbs. The garlic is placed into jars and the oil mixture is poured over and refrigerated.

Lobio Beans and Walnuts - Beans are cooked until tender. Then chopped onion, crushed walnuts are added to the beans. Season with salt and pepper and mixed well. Can be served hot or cold sprinkled with chopped greens.

Different types of meat can be found in Georgian dishes such as chicken, lamb, pork, beef and various types of game meat, such as boar. To conserve food for a long time Georgians smoke, salt or dry it.

Meat dishes:
Bazhe - A typical western Georgia dish. A whole chicken is boiled and cut into pieces. Walnuts are ground and garlic pounded with salt. The ground walnuts get sprinkled with saffron and the garlic is added. The mixture is diluted with chilled broth. Then the chicken pieces are placed in the sauce and served.

Chicken Chakhokhbili - A chicken is cut into pieces and browned in a casserole. Finely chopped onion, tomato puree, vinegar, wine (Madeira or Port), meat stock and seasoning are combined and added to the chicken. This is simmered for an hour. Then sliced tomatoes are added. The chicken pieces are served with a slice of lemon on each piece and sprinkled with chopped greens.

Country Beef Strew (Georgian manner) - Beef tenderloin is cut into small pieces. Finely chopped onion is sautéed. These are transferred to a pan. Tomato puree, peeled and sliced pickled cucumbers, garlic, salt, grape wine and some meat stock are added. This is simmered for about 40 minutes. Served with chopped parsley.

Chanahi – Cubed potatoes, chopped onion, lamb slices are topped with eggplants, pepper and greens. Tomato paste dissolved in broth with garlic is poured over all and stewed. Just before it’s ready tomatoes are added.

Georgian Basturma – Cubes of beef are marinated with sliced onion, pepper, salt and vinegar for 2 days. Then skewered and grilled over charcoals.

Tarti Tetri ghvinit (Salmon in Walnut Sauce) - Walnuts and garlic are ground into a paste. Transferred to a bowl and boiling water is added until the mixture is smooth. This sauce is served with a whole grilled salmon.

Moshushuli Tevzi Pamidvrit (Poached Fish with Tomatoes) - Fillet of sole or flounder is cut into pieces. Placed in a pan and covered with onion rings and herbs. Water, cloves, allspice and bay leaf are added and fish is poached until done. While poaching tomatoes and fried with pepper, cayenne, garlic and salt until thickened. The poached fish is served with the tomato sauce and granished with minced dil or cilantro.

Oraguli Dzmarshi (Salmon in Vinegar Sauce) - A salmon fillet is rubbed with pepper and crushed bay leaves then left to sit for 30 minutes. A sauce is prepared made with onion, vinegar, water and salt and simmered for 15 minutes. The salmon is grilled and served with this sauce.

These are just some of the wonderful recipes among so many. Georgia has a wide array of recipes which are rich in culinary history.

Among drinks there is Chacha which is a clear fruit homebrew. It is sometimes called "vine vodka", "grape vodka" or "Georgian vodka". Chacha is made from grape pomace (grape residue left after making wine). This is likely one of the oldest distilled products in the world. The term "chacha" is used in Georgia to refer to any type of moonshine made of fruits, though commonly it refers to grape distillate. Many Georgians claim that Chacha has medicinal properties and is suggested as a remedy for various ailments including ear blockages and indigestion.

Georgia is one of the oldest wine producing regions of Europe. The source of the world’s first cultivated grapevines and neolitihic wine production is believed to come from the fertile valleys of the South Caucasus. Among the best known wine producing regions are Kakheti (further divided onto micro-regions of Telavi and Kvareli), Kartli, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, and Abkhazia.

Lagizde water is a popular Georgian soft drink based on soda and a variety of natural syrups. It was originally mixed in a glass in soda fountains but now comes bottled in a range of flavors.

Borjomi is a resort town in south-central Georgia. The town is famous for its mineral water industry (which at present is the number one export of Georgia). Borjomi mineral water is particularly well-known in those countries which were part of the former USSR.

Gulaschsuppe (goulash soup)


-2 c Onion, chopped
-1/4 c shortening
-3 green bell peppers, chopped
-3 T tomato paste
-1 lb Beef cubes, 1-inch cubes
-red pepper, dash
-1 t paprika
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-6 c beef broth
-1 T lemon juice
-1/4 t caraway seeds

-Fry onions in hot fat until transparent.
-Add green peppers and tomato paste.
-Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
-Add lean Beef cubes and remaining ingredients.
-Simmer about 1 1/2 hours, until meat is tender.
-(Add cubed potatoes if you like and simmer until potatoes are done.)
-Best when reheated and served the second day.



-1 Chicken
-2 Onion
-2 tblsp tomato puree
-1 tblsp vinegar
-a cupful meat stock
-2 tblsps Madeira or
-port wine
-2 or 3 tblsps butter
-salt and pepper to taste
-Chopped greens
-lemon slices


-Prepare the Chicken, wash and joint it into medium-size pieces, brown in hot butter in a shallow casserole.
-Add finely chopped Onion, tomato puree, vinegar, wine, meat stock and seasoning.
-Cover the casserole with a lid and simmer for 1 hours.
-Add sliced tomatoes and cock for another 5 to 7 minutes.
-Serve the Chicken with a slice of lemon on each piece of Chicken.
-Sprinkle with chopped greens. By Rasma Raisters

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