Citizens, I will never tire of sharing with you the boundless cornucopia of recipe riches from the amazing country of Georgia – and this is a very popular variant of the national Georgian dish of Khachapuri!
Khachapuri (from ხაჭო xach’o “curds” + პური p’uri “bread”) is a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread. The bread is leavened and allowed to rise, and is shaped in various ways, usually with cheese in the middle and a crust which is ripped off and used to dip in the cheese.
The filling contains cheese (fresh or aged, most commonly sulguni), eggs and other ingredients. It is unquestionably Georgia’s national dish.
According to a 2009 survey, 88% of Georgians prefer khachapuri to pizza. It is more popular among men and older people.
As a Georgian staple food, the price of making khachapuri is used as a measure of inflation in different Georgian cities by the Khachapuri index, developed by the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University.
In a fascinating article on georgianjournal.ge:
Apart from traditional round Khacahpuri called Imeretian, prepared in Georgia’s Imereti region, each part of country has its own version of cheese bread, like cheese boat in Georgia’s Adjara Region.
Yet recently a shocking discovery has been made by Georgian researchers. To our surprise, another 83 types of khachapuri with various fillings have been discovered, that once again stresses the importance and rich history of this unique Georgian staple.
According to the researches who have been working for several months on this subject, 53 out of 83 pies, represent varieties of Khachapuri, while the rest is made of different fillings. The names of khachapuri varietis are as follows: “Bachula,” “Kotori,” “Ghomush” “Achash,” “Fetdviar”, etc.
These are several of the most distinctive types of khachapuri in Georgian food from different regions of Georgia:
- Imeretian (Imeruli) khachapuri, which is circular and probably the most common type.
- Ajarian (Acharuli/Adjaruli) khachapuri, in which the dough is formed into an open boat shape and the hot pie is topped with a raw egg and a pat of butter before serving.
- Mingrelian (Megruli) khachapuri, similar to Imeritian but with more cheese added on top.
- Achma, from Abkhazia, which has multiple layers and looks more like a sauceless lasagna.
- Gurian (Guruli) khachapuri has boiled eggs inside the dough and looks like a calzone. Arguably, it is not a type of khachapuri. Gurians make them for Christmas and call them simply ‘Christmas pie’. In the rest of Georgia, it is called ‘Gurian pie’.
- Ossetian (Osuri) khachapuri, which has potato, as well as cheese in its filling. It is commonly called Khabizgini.
- Svanuri khachapuri
- Rachuli khachapuri
- Penovani khachapuri is made with puff pastry dough, resulting in a flaky variety of the pie.
We are obviously focusing today on the Ajarian variant, which for the record makes one of the all-time great breakfasts of all time! The only real tricks in making this are getting the correct shape (see the pictures below from georgianrecipes.net):
The correct Georgian cheeses are impossible to find outside of Georgia, so I have given you effective substitutes – you can buy Bryndza cheese here. I’ve taken the liberty of making two important changes to the classic recipe: I use some classic Georgian herbs in the filling and 1 clove of grated garlic (Georgian garlic is the best in the world!). You can easily leave these out for the canonical recipe, Citizens!
Ajarian khachapuri is beloved all over Georgia and is – in the inestimable opinion of the Sagacious One – perhaps one of the best dishes from a pure comfort and flavor perspective you can find anywhere in the world! Truly, Georgians have every reason to be proud of their most well-known dish outside the country!
I have every confidence you will be blown away by this recipe! Consider enjoying it with some another delicious Georgian appetizer – pkhali!
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