Regular TFD readers know that I am exceptionally fond of Georgian recipes – not the state, but the proud country of Georgia located in the Caucasus mountains at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.
This cuisine has it all – spice, complexity, healthfulness and flavors that simply cannot be beat. Case in point: Adzhika (also spelled Ajika in English), a Georgian “salsa” made from hot and sweet peppers, lots of herbs, spices and garlic (sometimes with a touch of walnut as well).
Despite its red color, there is no tomato in a true Adzhika – but the flavor complexity here will blow away a Mexican-style salsa. Try it for yourself and you’ll be a convert to the Georgian recipe as well! 🙂
No Georgian cook would think of serving grilled or roasted meat plain, without any sort of condiment or garnish. In the area of Megrelia where this version was created, meats are served with this sauce along with melon on the side to soothe the tongue.
Try Adzhika with chips, spread on meats (the traditional Georgian way to enjoy this recipe), or as the base for a pan sauce – it is an extremely versatile recipe that enhances pretty much everything savory, IMHO.
Enjoy, my Citizens! 😀
Battle on – The Generalissimo
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large celery stalk, including leaves
½ pound of fresh hot peppers, including seeds – TFD typically uses red fresno peppers
1 large red bell pepper, cored and seeded
2 cups of coarsely chopped fresh dill
1 ½ cups of coarsely chopped cilantro
1/3 cup of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoons Ajika khmeli-suneli, made from:
½ tsp finely minced dried basil
½ tsp finely minced dried parsley
½ tsp finely minced dried dill
½ tsp finely minced dried cilantro
½ tsp finely minced dried mint
½ tsp finely ground bay leaf
½ tsp finely minced dried summer savory
½ tsp finely ground Utskho Suneli, wild blue fenugreek – buy it from here or substitute regular ground fenugreek
½ tsp finely minced dried marjoram
½ tsp Zaprana, finely ground marigold petals – buy it from here or substitute 2 threads of saffron or turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne
to finish ajika:
a few drops of walnut oil
Using the pulse control of a food processor, grind the garlic slightly. Coarsely chop the celery, hot peppers and red bell pepper and add them to the garlic. Pulse again. Add the chopped herbs and pulse to a medium coarseness. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the vinegar, khmeli-suneli, salt and walnut oil.
Cover and let stand overnight before packing into jars, where it will last for weeks, refrigerated. Either store in the refrigerator or process in a water bath for longer storage. This relish tastes best when allowed to sit for 3 days before serving.