Citizens, Khalia is a zesty beef stew from the proud and magnificent country of Georgia that is redolent with garlic and lots of fresh herbs, given extra body with walnut pieces. It is a dish rather closely tied to the Jewish community of the country.
As noted in an article on Forward.com:
“On those Friday evenings, my mother often made a tangy beef stew specific to Georgian Jews, Khalia, which her own mother and grandmother used to make for Shabbat.
A dish she prepared throughout my childhood in Georgia, and then in Israel, the smell of the spices and tamarind paste was so familiar and soothing, it lessened the sting of the unfamiliar.
Jews in Georgia can trace their history to the 6th century BCE. when they settled along the small Black Sea region.
In the shadows of the Caucaus Mountains, Georgian Jews lived in communities removed from their Muslim and Christian neighbors, developing a subculture of traditions, and of course, a cuisine that was distinctly Jewish.
Khalia stew is often served on Shabbat and rarely eaten outside of the Jewish community in Georgia. Simple to prepare, its aromatic scent comes from a mix of freshly ground dry coriander, fenugreek and tart tamarind paste, added to the slow-cooked beef. The stew can also be prepared with chicken thighs, using the same recipe.
Traditionally, when khalia is made with chicken, whole hard boiled eggs are carefully added to the final stages of cooking. In some regions of Georgia, color and flavor were added with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley in the last moments of cooking, right before turning off the heat.
And depending on one’s preference, khalia can be prepared as a thick sauce (TFD‘s preference) or served as a soup, but it is most often served over traditional Georgian savory grits (though rice and tandoori bread pair well with it too).
Citizens, this is a deliciously tangy and herbaceous beef stew that I hope you will see fit to try! 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo
1 ½ lb Beef chuck boneless
For the beef spice rub:
● 1 clove garlic, crushed in a press
● 1 ½ tsp. paprika
● 1½ tsp. ground coriander seed
3 tbl Olive oil
½ cup Beef stock
¼ cup fruity and soft red wine (Georgian Kindzamarauli ქინძმარაულის preferred)
3 Onions chopped fine
2 tsp Green Tkemali sauce (preferred) – buy it here or use Tamarind concentrate
2 ½ tbl Tomato paste
½ tsp Hot Hungarian Paprika
¼ tsp ground Georgian Blue Fenugreek (preferred) – buy it here or use regular fenugreek
¾ tsp ground Coriander seeds
1 tsp minced Tarragon
1 ½ tsp Black pepper freshly ground
3 Garlic cloves minced fine
3 tbsp Cilantro leaves chopped
¼ cup finely chopped Walnut pieces, tossed in a heated non-stick pan until they smell “toasty”
1 tbsp honey
Microplaned zest of 1 lemon
Chopped parsley leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 160˚C (325˚F, gas 3).
Combine the garlic, paprika and coriander and rub into the beef. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Just before cooking, cut it into 4 cm (1 ½ inch) cubes.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add as many cubes of beef as will comfortably fit without crowding, brown quickly on all sides then transfer to a deep casserole.
Repeat with the remaining beef, adding some more oil to the pan if needed between batches.
Add the onions with a pinch of salt to the sauté pan, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Add the 3 cloves of chopped garlic, fenugreek, paprika and ground coriander, with 2 tsp salt and 20 grinds black pepper. Cook uncovered for 5 more minutes.
Add the wine and bubble for 2 minutes then add the tomatoes, stir well and pour over the meat. The liquid should barely cover it — if not, top up with hot beef stock.
Bring to a simmer then cover and cook in the oven until the meat is almost tender.
Add the tkemali/tamarind paste, walnuts, lemon zest, honey and fresh herbs and cook for a further 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with the chopped parsley garnish and serve.
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