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 and are about the size of a billiards ball in Georgia (but are usually made smaller outside the country).
Mushrooms, potatoes, or cheese may be used in place of meat. They are 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).
They are 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. The dish 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.
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