Georgian cuisine

National cuisine is an integral part of the culture of Georgia. Incredibly original and original, it has absorbed the traditions of many nationalities that have inhabited the territory of the country over its centuries-old history, and combines the best culinary finds of the peoples of the Transcaucasus, as well as Asia and the Black Sea region.

At the same time, Georgian cuisine managed to preserve its own identity, thanks to which Georgian delicacies are known far beyond the borders of the country.

In Georgia, there is a very unusual legend that tells how exactly Georgian cuisine appeared. According to this legend, in ancient times, God once had to cross the Caucasus Mountains. The ascent to their top turned out to be so long that God was very tired and did not notice how the meat and bread he had taken on the road fell out of his knapsack. The place where God's supplies fell was later called Georgia, and meat and bread became two cornerstones of the local cuisine.

A Georgian meal is not just a process of eating, but a leisurely conversation, during which time flies by unnoticed. The national feast in this country is always held on a grand scale, and the range of dishes is very wide.

General characteristics

Georgian cuisine boasts an ancient history that goes back thousands of years. The formation of Georgian cuisine took place on the basis of the culinary traditions of numerous ethnic groups that lived in the country.

Among the factors that played an important role in the formation of Georgian cuisine, should be highlight, first of all, the favorable geographical position of the country. The mild climate with long hot summers and fairly warm winters, as well as fertile soil have created almost ideal conditions for both agriculture and winemaking.

The role of the Suram pass should not be underestimated either. He conditionally divided the country into western and eastern parts, each of which developed its own culinary traditions. Experts note the difference in the use of a number of basic products, as well as in the aromatic and flavor range, which implies the use of a different range of spices and sauces.

Thus, Western Georgia borders on Turkey, which had a huge impact on the development of culinary in the region, and Eastern Georgia gravitates towards Iranian traditions. As a result, for example, in Western Georgia, bread and cakes are mainly baked from corn flour, and in Eastern Georgia - from wheat flour. In addition, in Western Georgia, the main meat is poultry ( chickens and turkeys, ducks are not eaten here), while in the eastern region they eat beef and lamb. Also in the west, dishes are spicier, and local chefs are quite skilled in preparing a variety of sauces.

Experts believe that there is no particular reason to draw an insurmountable boundary between the two regional cuisines of Georgia, since there are features that are inherent in cooking both in the western and eastern parts of the country.

Characteristics

To understand how Georgian cuisine managed to win the hearts of gourmets around the world, we should consider its main features.

  1. Georgian chefs have a great love for spices and aromatic herbs. This has partly contributed to the stereotype that Georgian cuisine is too spicy. In fact, this is not true at all. Spices are part of most sauces and gravies, but they are added solely to add flavor to dishes. At the same time, truly “fiery” food is prepared only in two regions: in Abkhazia and Megrelia (although Abkhazia is not formally part of Georgia today, culinary traditions are preserved here). Of the herbs, the most popular are basil, mint, savory, tarragon and cilantro.
  2. Wine is an obligatory component of any Georgian feast. Love for winemaking is literally in the blood of the local population. According to historians, grapes began to be grown on the territory of present-day Georgia as early as the sixth century BC. Since then, winemakers have passed down recipes from generation to generation. At the same time, different varieties of wines are prepared in the west and in the east.
  3. Meat dishes are the basis of Georgian cuisine. Their recipes are also rooted in the deep past and have remained unchanged for centuries. So, one of the main Georgian delicacies is a complex roast, which is prepared as follows: a calf carcass is placed in the carcass of an ox, a lamb carcass in a calf, a turkey in a lamb, a goose in a turkey, a duck in a goose, and a chicken in a duck. The free space between the components of this strange "matryoshka" is filled with spices and spices. Roast the meat on a spit for several hours.
  4. Fish dishes are especially popular in areas that are located on the banks of rivers. Cooked in Georgia mainly trout and fish of the carp family.
  5. Vegetable dishes are incredibly popular in Georgia. Vegetables are boiled, pickled, baked, salted, fried, and also added to sauces.
  6. Nuts are used in Georgian cuisine as a flavoring along with spices. They are added to sauces, desserts, as well as meat and fish dishes.
  7. Georgian cheeses are one of the main components of most national dishes, and can also be served separately as a snack. Cheeses in Georgia are fried, soaked, baked in dough, and also boiled in milk.

Main dishes

The range of national Georgian dishes is unusually wide and varies from region to region.

Meat dishes

The main feature of Georgian cuisine is the fact that there are no restrictions on the use of meat varieties in the country. Beef, lamb, veal, as well as pork and poultry meat are used here for cooking.

At the same time, many meat dishes of traditional Georgian cuisine have gained fame outside the country, becoming truly international. This is, for example, satsivi - a cold dish made from chicken or turkey. This dish owes its name to the Satsivi sauce, which is cooked in broth, adding spices, seasonings and nuts to it.

Also popular are tapaka chickens (or as they are often called "tabaka") - chicken carcasses that are fried in a wide frying pan (tapa) under a lid and a press. Although tapaka chicken is considered a separate dish outside of Georgia, in the country itself it is more of a semi-finished product that will then be used to prepare other dishes. According to the traditional recipe, tapaka is fried with virtually no spices, adding only salt and red pepper.

Georgian cooks use tapaka chickens to make borani. This is a dish in which chicken meat is combined with vegetables cooked separately from poultry. For borani, spinach, eggplant, green beans, as well as a huge amount of spices are used. Vegetables are first stewed, and then divided into two equal parts. One of them is placed on a plate, the chicken is placed on top, the meat is covered with the remaining vegetables, and then everything is poured over with sauce from matsoni with the addition of cinnamon and saffron.

Another popular Georgian dish is chakhokhbili. These are pieces of chicken or turkey stewed in tomato sauce, which are pre-fried without adding fat. Savory, cilantro, red pepper, garlic and other spices are added to the chakhokhbili sauce, thanks to which it turns out to be incredibly fragrant.

Other Georgian dishes include kuchmachi (fried beef offal with spices), muzhuzhi (pre-marinated pork, which is then boiled, seasoned with wine vinegar and served cold), lamb baglama stewed with spices, as well as khinkali, minced meat for which is prepared from veal or lamb. It is noteworthy that in Georgia this dish is eaten with the hands, taking the upper “tail”, which is then thrown away.

The Georgian barbecue mtsvadi deserves special mention. It is usually made from beef or lamb, and there are three types of this dish. The most common is the tenderloin skewers. Mtsvadi is also made from basturma. The greatest delicacy is mtsvadi from eggplants stuffed with meat.

Cheeses

Incredible popularity of cheeses is another distinguishing characteristic of Georgian cuisine. There are many types of cheese in the country. Each region of the country boasts its own delicacy.

Georgian cooks can serve cheese on the table both as part of a variety of dishes, and as an independent snack. Cheese in various forms is included in several hundred meat and vegetable dishes, as well as pastries, but khachapuri undoubtedly belongs to the palm. This national Georgian dish has many varieties. Adjarian khachapuri managed to gain the greatest recognition. They are baked in the shape of a boat, an egg is poured into the middle of each. Externally, khachapuri looks like very large cheesecakes stuffed with cheese, herbs, beans and other products.

To prepare khachapuri, the dough is kneaded with Georgian sour milk matsoni, which makes it surprisingly tender. The cheese used for the filling is first soaked, then squeezed and crushed, mixed with beaten eggs and butter.

The dough for khachapuri, generously lubricated with oil, is folded several times, making it puffy. Then they put the filling in it and bake it in a pan. Khachapuri is served hot.

Vegetables and greens

The abundance of meat in the diet of the population of Georgia is "balanced" by a large consumption of vegetables and greens. Vegetables on the Georgian menu are present raw, boiled, baked in the oven, stewed, fried and salted.

The lion's share of Georgian national vegetable dishes are made from beans, eggplants, tomatoes and beets. It is eggplants and beans that are a kind of "calling card" of local cuisine. So, eggplants are boiled, baked or stewed, and then seasonings and spices are added to them. Beans are used to prepare lobio - a dish in which boiled beans are combined with cheese, tomatoes and an incredible amount of spices: cilantro, parsley, celery, mint, walnuts, cinnamon, coriander, saffron and black pepper.

Mkhali is a popular dish. This is a salad, 90% of the mass of which is one type of vegetable, usually boiled. It can be cabbage, sweet peppers, beets. The remaining 10% of the mass falls on the dressing, which necessarily includes wine vinegar and various spices: onion, garlic, cilantro, salt, parsley, tarragon and savory. Another "trick" of mkhali is chopped walnuts.

Soups

Georgian cooks prepare three types of soups: meat, vegetable and dairy. It is noteworthy that vegetables are absent in almost all first courses, but flour-based sauce and raw eggs are added to them. Fruit juices are an ingredient in most soups, as well as wine vinegar and a fermented milk drink called yogurt.

Shechamandy soups are very popular in Georgia. This category combines many varieties of vegetarian soups that are prepared without the addition of vegetables and cereals based on a special dressing. In addition to flour, it includes matsoni, sour fruits and greens.

Many Georgian families serve khashi for breakfast. This is a broth that is boiled from beef giblets and legs with the addition of garlic and pepper. No less popular is kharcho – beef soup with rice and walnuts. A special base is prepared for it - a thick puree of plum tkemali, one of the varieties of cherry plum. This soup is seasoned with cilantro and basil.

Bozartma is a real Georgian delicacy. This soup is prepared from fatty lamb or poultry meat, which is previously stewed with onions and tomatoes, as well as with pomegranate juice. Due to the fact that this dish is very thick, it is perceived rather than as a soup, but as meat with sauce.

Sweets

There are almost no sweet dishes in Georgian cuisine. Fruits, berries, nuts and honey are used here as a dessert. It is on a walnut basis that a few Georgian sweets are prepared, including churchkhela. This delicacy is nut kernels strung on a string in grape juice, which is pre-thickened with flour.

Traditional Georgian churchkhela is a product that takes a very long time to cook. The juice for her is first boiled for half an hour, then they are allowed to stand for at least ten hours. After that, flour is added to the juice and the stuffing strung on a thread is dipped into the mixture: nuts and raisins. The delicacy dries for two weeks, and then ripens for about three months. Only after that it is served to the table.

Other Georgian sweets include kisel made from pelamushi grape juice served with nuts, as well as kozinaki - flat honey candies made from nuts, which have gained fame far beyond the borders of Georgia.

Useful properties

Georgian cuisine is a real find for people who follow a healthy lifestyle. A huge number of vegetable dishes in combination with spices help to provide the body with all the necessary vitamins and minerals, and the dietary fibers contained in them effectively prevent diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and contribute to the prevention of intoxication.

Also, nutritionists note, Georgian cuisine is unique in that it excludes the possibility of overeating. An excess of animal fats effectively neutralizes wine, which the local population accompanies almost all their meals. In addition, fermented milk products, which are part of many dishes, prevent overloading the digestive system.

Cooking eggplant borani

To prepare this dish you will need the following ingredients: chicken carcass, two tablespoons of melted butter, half a teaspoon of ground red pepper, ten eggplants, seven onions, two tablespoons of chopped cilantro, the same amount of basil and mint, half a glass of melted butter, two teaspoons of salt, three teaspoons of cinnamon, and matsoni for sauce.

Gutted chicken cut along the breast. Beat the meat with wooden milk so that the carcass becomes slightly flattened. Fill the legs and wings into the cuts previously made in the skin so that they do not rise during frying. Salt and pepper on both sides. Fry for half an hour, turning the carcass when the meat is browned. Please note that the chicken should be fried under pressure.

Peel the skin off the eggplant. Cut them into thin circles, salt and let stand for five minutes. Then pat dry to remove excess salt.

Cut the onion into rings and fry together with eggplant in oil, adding greens.

Divide cooked vegetables in half. Put the first part on the bottom of the plate. Put the chicken on the eggplants, after cutting the meat into eight to ten pieces. Lay the remaining vegetables on top. Serve drizzled with matsoni and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Cooking chakhokhbili with Georgian chicken

Chakhokhbili is one of the incredibly popular dishes of Georgian cuisine. In its classic version, pheasant meat is used, but now, due to the fact that this ingredient is too expensive, chakhokhbili is cooked with chicken meat. You will need the following ingredients: 1.2 kg of chicken thighs, three tomatoes, two onions, a bunch of cilantro, the same amount of basil, four cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of suneli hops, salt to taste.

Rinse the chicken thighs. Pat them dry so they don't get too wet. Heat up a frying pan and fry the chicken over low heat until golden brown. After that, make the fire very weak and cover the pan with a lid.

Peel the onion and cut into thin half rings. Fry it in butter until golden brown, then add to the chicken.

Peel the skin off the tomatoes. Cut them into small cubes and add to the meat. Simmer for about twenty minutes. Add finely chopped garlic, cilantro and basil. Simmer for another ten minutes.

At the final stage, add suneli hops and salt. Stir thoroughly and let stand over low heat for another five minutes.

Please note that during the preparation of chakhokhbili water or any other liquid is not added. The "chip" of this dish is that the vegetables are stewed in their own juice.

Sources
  1. Wikipedia. - Georgian cuisine.
  2. Georgian Journal. – Top five healthy ingredients found in Georgian Cuisine.
  3. Oede's first culinary school. – Every Georgian dish is a poem.
  4. Guide to Georgia. – Georgian cuisine: main dishes and tips on what to try.
  5. Caucasus-trekking.com. – Georgian cuisine.
  6. Gruzinskaya-kuhnya.ru. - Georgian cuisine: the best recipes.
  7. Guide book “Georgia starts here.” – Georgian food and cuisine: top 10 Georgian dishes.
  8. Tourist guide “Viva Georgia.” – 30 Georgian dishes you must try.
  9. Georgian recipes. – Recipes.
  10. MedPortal.ru. – Georgian cuisine for health.