Georgian cuisine is exquisite and tasty, but at the same time simple and satisfying. The recipes for many dishes and drinks of the peoples of this region are quite ancient and have hardly changed over the last thousand years. The formation of the traditions of national cuisine was influenced by the Turkish and Iranian tables.
Characteristics of the national Georgian cuisine
In Georgia, most of the main dishes are made from lamb, pork, turkey and chicken. When preparing them, spices and herbs are used. Food is often served alongside hot and sour sauces. Vegetables are often used as a side dish. An important part of the diet is tortillas, bread, pies, casseroles made from wheat and corn flour, as well as chumiza.
Georgian cuisine is hearty and delicious.
There are not many fish dishes in Georgian cuisine. Their recipes are popular in settlements located near rivers and lakes. This country has a special tradition of cheese making. Various types of product are used as an independent snack and in the preparation of meals. Pickled cheeses are especially common.
History of Georgian cuisine
The history of Georgian cuisine goes back several millennia. Basic national dishes were invented by ethnic groups that lived on this territory during the period of the ancient states of Colchis and Diaoh, which existed here as far back as the 2nd millennium BC.
Many recipes have remained almost unchanged since then. The climate in Georgia is quite mild, which creates conditions for the development of agriculture and winemaking. The country is rich in flora and fauna. This was reflected in the formation of culinary traditions.
The eastern and western parts of Georgia are separated by the Suram pass. This is largely due to the regional differences in the national cuisine.
The western regions bordered on European and Turkish lands, so the locals gradually adopted the subtleties of cooking Mediterranean and Turkic dishes. In this part of the country, Georgian cuisine has a neutral taste. the use of hot spices and herbs has become less widespread.
Inhabitants of the eastern regions of the country adopted Iranian traditions of cooking. Here food is often served with hot sauces.
Basic cooking methods
Most dishes in Georgia are prepared by baking, boiling and stewing. In addition, heat treatment over an open fire is common. The roasting method is used less often.
Popular products in Georgia
Georgians love tasty and satisfying food. Especially popular in this country:
- meat dishes;
- fatty soups;
- tortillas and pies with cheese and meat filling;
- salads with the addition of mayonnaise;
- legume dishes, etc.
Among dairy products, yogurt stands out – Georgian yogurt with a pleasant creamy taste.
In addition, cheeses occupy a special place in the cuisine of this country. They are served during feasts as an independent snack and are used in the preparation of some dishes of the national cuisine.
Meat dishes are an important part of traditional Georgian feasts. Khinkali, satsivi, shashlik and chicken tobacco are especially popular. Georgian meat dishes are highly valued by gourmets from other countries.
In Georgia, special traditions of barbecue frying have developed. For the preparation of this dish, fresh meat is used, more often pork or lamb, preferably with a fat layer. In most cases, the product is not marinated before frying. Thanks to the fat layer after frying, the kebab is juicy and soft. It is served with satsebeli and tkemali sauces.
Satsivi is a national Georgian dish based on fatty broth. Its main feature is its thick nut sauce. According to the classic recipe, chicken and turkey are cooked in this way. However, in some regions of Georgia, the sauce is used for filling fish. The dish is served cold.
Not a single Georgian feast is complete without barbecue and satsivi.
Chicken tabaka is cooked in a Georgian pan with a heavy lid. The chicken is pre-compressed under a pressure of about 20-30 kPa. When flattening, damage to the bones is not allowed. Then it is rubbed with a mixture of spices and garlic. The bird is placed in a frying pan greased with vegetable oil and pressed down with a heavy lid. With this method of cooking, the meat is juicy and aromatic.
Guruli is chicken cooked in a spicy wine sauce. The poultry is first cut into small pieces, put in a pan, seasoned with garlic, ginger, suneli hops, red and black pepper. The dish is stewed until half cooked over high heat, and then chopped onions, nuts and dry red wine are added.
Guruli can be served with any side dish.
Chashushuli is made from beef or veal. The meat is stewed in tomato sauce with hot spices. It turns out to be soft and tender, but at the same time quite greasy. Traditionally, this dish is prepared in clay pots, in which it is served to the table. Sprinkle it on top with chopped onions and herbs. Chashushuli is eaten with flat cakes or bread. Garnish for meat is rarely served.
Khinkali are large dumplings made in a special way with an elongated top. For the filling, minced lamb, pork or beef is used with the addition of herbs and spices. The dish is often served in broth. Sprinkle it on top with ground pepper and chopped herbs. They eat with their hands, taking the khinkali by the elongated top. In some diets of Georgia, they are consumed with satsebeli and other traditional sauces.
Chanakhi is a multicomponent dish reminiscent of a mix of grilled meat and stews. Most often it is prepared from lamb, pork and beef. The dish contains tomatoes, potatoes, onions and other vegetables. During stewing, chilli, basil, cilantro, parsley, garlic, etc. are added to it. Chanakhs are prepared in clay pots, in which they are then served to the table.
Chakhokhbili is a cross between a stew and a soup. When preparing it, the chicken fillet is first fried without adding oil, and then stewed with finely chopped onions, toms, herbs and wine. The meat is cooked in a thick gravy. In different regions of Georgia, the recipe for this dish is slightly different.
Soups in this country are prepared with a minimum amount of vegetable matter. To increase the density of the yushka, eggs mixed with acidic additives are introduced into the composition of most of the first courses, which prevent the protein from rapidly curdling upon contact with boiling water. Soups are prepared in fatty broths. They are eaten with lean cakes or bread.
Kharcho is a Georgian soup that is cooked in fatty beef broth with large pieces of meat. It is also often made from chicken. The dish contains rice, walnuts, herbs, tomatoes and other vegetables. When cooking, sour tklapi is added to it. This is a local semi-finished product, for the production of which plum puree is dried in the sun. Spices and herbs are added to kharcho, so it has a pungent taste and spicy aroma.
Real kharcho soup can be tasted only in his homeland – in Georgia.
Sheshamadi is a vegetarian soup with fresh, dried, or canned red beans as the main ingredient. When cooking, red pepper, garlic and herbs are added to it, so the dish turns out to be quite spicy. The soup is prepared in clay pots. In some diets of Georgia, sheshamadi are additionally ground in a blender to a puree state. It is eaten both hot and cold.
Khashi is a traditional Georgian broth made from the peritoneum, stomach and beef legs. When cooking, add cilantro, parsley and other herbs. The soup is rich and fatty. Crushed garlic and dried lavash are served separately.
Tatariahni is a soup prepared with beef bones and meat. It turns out a strong and rich broth with large pieces of pulp. Garlic, onions, carrots and herbs are added to it. The dish is served with Georgian bread.
Chikhirtma is a chicken or lamb soup. The meat is boiled for a long time to obtain a fatty broth. To increase the density of the soup, eggs mixed with an acidic base, as well as flour, are introduced into it. Be sure to add saffron, coriander, mint and other spices to the soup when cooking.
When preparing the dish, no hot seasonings are used, so it has a neutral taste.
Traditional Georgian flour products are baked in large round ovens – tone. In addition to lean crumpets and boat-shaped cakes served with main dishes, many products are baked in this country filled with meat, herbs, cheese, jam, fruits, etc.
Khachapuri is made in the shape of a boat with cheese and egg on top, or rounded. The filling can be either open or covered with a thin layer of dough. Cheese, herbs, meat, etc. are placed inside. Yeast is not used in the preparation of khachapuri. Instead, yogurt is added to the dough. Khachapuri is eaten both hot and cold. They are often served with traditional sauces.
Mchadi are unleavened cakes. They are cooked in water from cornmeal. In some regions of Georgia, flat cakes are stuffed with cheese. When preparing mchadi, herbs are often added to the dough. Flatbreads are served with first and second courses.
In Georgia, they love and know how to cook a variety of flour cakes.
Lobiani are pies filled with boiled beans and spicy spices. More often the dough is made puff. It is rolled out and cut into squares. Place the filling in the middle and fold the dough into an envelope. Lobiani is often baked so that a crispy crust appears on its surface.
In some regions of Georgia, achma is considered an independent dish, while in others it is a kind of khachapuri. This pastry can be with cheese or meat filling. Products are prepared from unsweetened boiled dough. In this case, the filling must be salted.
Chizhvari is a tortilla stuffed with cheese. It is prepared from corn flour. For the filling, they often use feta cheese or suluguni. The tortilla is fried on both sides. The sur inside must melt and be pulled by threads when the chizhvari breaks.
Kubdari is a traditional pie stuffed with lamb or veal and spiced. It is baked in a round shape. Prepared from yeast dough. It is a separate dish that is eaten with sauces and wine.
A good addition to kubdari is a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and garlic.
Nazuki is a traditional spice bread. It is prepared on yeast dough with the addition of cinnamon, cloves and raisins. They are baked in the oven. Nazuki is served with first and second courses.
Dairy products and meals
The most popular dairy product in Georgia is yoghurt, yogurt, yogurt. In addition, more than 10 varieties of cheese are prepared in this country. They are used to prepare main courses and snacks. Gadazelili is made from young Imeretian cheese. For this, the main ingredient is diluted in milk.
Gebjali is also popular here. It is a combination of mazioni, cheese and mint. Elarji is a traditional milk porridge. For its preparation, corn grits are mixed with a lot of cheese and cooked in water. There is also an analogue of fondue in Georgia. This dish is called erbohacho. It is made from sliced dambalhacho cheese and ghee.
Cheese is extremely popular in Georgia. They are boiled in milk, kept in vegetable oil and honey, baked in dough, fried, etc.
Georgian cuisine offers a huge variety of cheeses. Georgian cuisine offers a huge variety of cheeses.
The most popular varieties include:
- Suluguni is a cheese made from cow or buffalo milk with a moderately salty taste. It has a dense and elastic consistency. It is used to make khachapuri and achma.
- Imeretian cheese is made from cow and sheep milk. It has a salty taste. It is used for the preparation of khychina, penovani, khachapuri, pide and many other traditional dishes.
- Tenili is an extract cheese with a viscous structure. It is made from sheep’s milk. This is a standalone snack. For the preparation of other dishes, shadows are not used.
- Nadugi is a cheese with a delicate airy consistency. It is sourish. Cheese is spread on bread, sandwiches are made with it.
- Guda is made from sheep’s milk. It matures in a wineskin. Sour and salty cheese with a creamy flavor. It is used in the preparation of lobio and casseroles.
- Kobe – made from a mixture of sheep and goat milk. It has a yellowish color and a neutral taste. It is often fried in butter. Kobe is used to make cheese sauces.
- Kalti – is made from baked milk, which is further curdled. It has a sweet and creamy flavor. This cheese is used to make khachapuri and cheese cakes.
- Chechili is made from cow’s milk. It’s salty enough. It is often additionally smoked and fried. This cheese is an appetizer. It is not used for preparing other dishes.
There are many recipes for hot and cold appetizers in Georgian cuisine. Most are made with herbs, vegetables and spices. Mushroom dishes are less common. Pickles are very popular.
Phali is a rounded flat cake based on any herb or vegetable. Most often, spinach or beets are the main ingredient.
Phali is served with meat dishes as a side dish, but it can also be an independent snack.
Badrijani is a traditional eggplant appetizer. Vegetables are cut lengthwise, fried and stuffed with a mixture of walnuts, ground with Imeretian saffron and garlic.
Sauces and spices
Sour and spicy sauces are especially popular in Georgia. They are prepared from thorns, tkemali plums, blackberries, barberry, dogwood, crushed nuts, spices, etc.
Tkemali is a Georgian cherry plum and spice sauce. It is served with fish, meat and poultry. In addition, it acts as a good addition to side dishes. Tkemali contains garlic and pepper, so it is quite spicy.
Various sauces are very popular in Georgia.
Bazhe is a traditional Georgian sauce made from nuts, garlic, white wine vinegar. In addition, suneli hops, pepper, saffron and other spices are added to the sauce. The gravy is quite thick and has a moderately pungent flavor. It is served with pastries and main courses.
Satsebeli is a tomato sauce with red pepper, suneli hops, garlic, cilantro, etc. More often it is served with boiled and fried poultry.
Traditional Georgian desserts
In Georgia, most desserts are prepared on the basis of nuts with the addition of honey, thick caramel, flour, butter and other ingredients.
In most cases, such dishes are sweet and high-calorie.
Churchkhela is an extremely unusual dessert, for the preparation of which nuts are first strung on a string and then dipped in hot pelamushi. After that, they are dried in the sun. Now the dessert is made in chocolate, caramel, etc.
Pelamushi is a traditional Georgian dessert, for which grape juice is boiled with corn flour. Then it is cooled. Thickened jelly is served to the table.
Tklapi is a sun dried dogwood and plum puree. This dish is also called sweet and sour lavash. It is eaten as a stand-alone dessert and added to main dishes.
Kozinaki is a traditional Georgian delicacy. For its preparation, nuts are mixed with honey, and then the resulting mass is left to freeze in a cool room.
Winemaking is well developed in Georgia, therefore many varieties of white and red wines are produced here. In addition, many tasty and healthy non-alcoholic drinks are prepared on the territory of the country.
The most popular red and white wines in Georgia are of the following varieties:
Chacha belongs to spirits. This is moonshine made from grape pomace.
Georgia is famous for its drinks, especially wine and borjomi.
Tarragon and lemonade are the most popular in Georgia. In addition, useful mineral waters are produced in this country, incl. borjomi.
Homemade Georgian cuisine recipes
Some Georgian dishes can be replicated at home.
If you wish, you can easily make traditional Georgian dumplings – khinkali, as well as lobio, kharcho and other dishes.
This dish requires the following ingredients:
- pork – 300 g;
- beef – 600 g;
- wheat flour – 0.5 kg;
- cilantro – 1 bunch;
- onions – 2 pcs.;
- parsley – 1 bunch;
- egg – 1 pc.;
- salt and pepper to taste.
Stages of cooking
- The flour is mixed with 250 ml of cold water, an egg and salt, and then thoroughly mixed for 10 minutes until a homogeneous mass is obtained and put into the refrigerator.
- Grind meat and peeled onions in a meat grinder, add chopped herbs and salt to them.
- Minced meat is diluted with a small amount of water to obtain the consistency of thick sour cream.
- The dough is rolled into a sausage with a diameter of 5 cm, and then cut into pieces about 1.5 cm thick. The blanks are rolled out until thin rounded plates 15 cm in diameter are obtained.
- Place the dough in a shallow dish and put 1.5 tablespoons inside it. minced meat.
- Pinch the edges of the plate and cut off the excess dough remaining on top.
- Ready khinkali are dipped in boiling water and boiled for about 15 minutes.
- The products are removed with a slotted spoon, placed on a plate and sprinkled with ground pepper and herbs.
To prepare lobio, you will need the following ingredients:
- red beans – 400 g;
- fresh cilantro – 100 g;
- onions – 300 g;
- red hot pepper – 1 pc.;
- butter – 40 g;
- garlic – 10 g;
- ground coriander – 2 tsp;
- wine vinegar – 1 tablespoon;
- vegetable oil – 3 tablespoons
- ground black pepper – 1 tsp
- water – 1 l.
- The beans are washed, poured over with water and soaked for about half a day, and then boiled for 2 hours over low heat.
- Finely chop the onion, mix with ½ tsp. salt, black pepper and 40 g of butter, and then fried in a pan.
- Frying, vinegar and other spices are added to the finished beans and cook for another 3 minutes.
On top of the lobio, you can decorate with chopped herbs. When preparing this dish, you can reduce the amount of spices. In this case, the appetizer will not be too spicy.