Citizens – as you know, I am inordinately fond of Georgian cuisine (the country) – it is now time to introduce you to another of their fantastic recipes!
Khinkali (Georgian ხინკალი) is a Georgian dumpling which originated in the regions of Pshavi, Mtiuleti and Khevsureti. Varieties of khinkali spread from there across many different parts of the Caucasus region, even outside of Georgia. In northern and eastern Georgia, Khinkali is as common as a pizza or hamburger in the West.
Khinkali is filled with various fillings, mostly with spiced meat, herbs (usually cilantro), onions, and garlic. Mushrooms, potatoes, or cheese may be used in place of meat. Khinkali is eaten plain, or with coarse black pepper. The meat filling is uncooked when the khinkali is assembled, so when cooked the juices of the meat are trapped inside the dumpling. Think of them as a Georgian Xiaolongbao (The Chinese soup dumpling whose recipe I posted last week) and you would be on the mark. There are many specialized Khinkali restaurants throughout Georgia, called “sachinkle”.
The khinkali is typically consumed first by sucking the juices while taking the first bite, in order to prevent the dumpling from bursting. The top, where the pleats meet, is tough, and is not supposed to be eaten, but discarded to the plate so that those eating can count how many they have consumed. In Georgia, this top is called the “kudi” (Georgian: ქუდი, hat). Khinkali is eaten by sticking a fork in the thick dough knot on top and eating away the stuffed part. The thick dough knot is then left on the plate. Khinkali is best enjoyed with a glass of beer and many good friends.
A video that shows how to make Khinkali (from Japan of all places?!) may be seen here
A gluten-free khinkali dough recipe may be obtained here for those who require it.
Battle on – The Generalissimo
(Makes 25 dumplings)
4 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cups warm water
1 pound mixed ground beef and lamb (not too lean)
3 Tablespoon lamb fat (Found at most butchers, or buy a fatty cut of meat and don’t trim it.)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground caraway seed
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp. dried fenugreek leaves (methi) found at Indian grocers or online
Pinch of cayenne
3 small onions, peeled
1 cup warm beef stock
Combine the flour, salt, and warm water to make a firm dough. Knead for 5 minutes, then let sit, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes.
Make the filling: Mix the ground meats, fat and spices. Grind the onions well until oozing juice and stir them into the meat mixture. With your hands, knead in the stock.
Divide the dough into 25 round pieces, using the mouth of a glass. On a floured board, roll each piece out to a 6-inch round. Place about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each round.
Cup the rounds of dough in the palm of your hand and put a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center. For convenience, you can put the open dumpling into a small rounded dish before you start to pleat the rim to form a small package.
Use your thumb and index finger to make an accordion type fold all around the outside. In Georgia, if you can make 19 folds, you’re considered prime marriage material!
Make accordion pleats all the way around the filling by folding the edges of the dough in toward the center.
Move in a clockwise direction, allowing each fold of dough to overlap the previous one, until the filling is completely enclosed in dough.
Hold the dumpling in one hand and twist the pleats together at center to seal. Make a knot of the excess dough at the top.
Cook the khinkhali in salted, boiling water for 12 minutes (they should float). Drain, sprinkle with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with Georgian ტყემალი (tkemali) sauce thinned with a bit of sesame oil. There are recipes for both green and red tkemali sauce here on TFD (just search for it) or you can buy pre-made bottled tkemali sauce from any Russian deli or online.