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National Cuisine of Georgia

Georgian food: popular dishes

Georgian cuisine is probably the most important attraction of the country. Since the traditional Georgian feast is an integral element of culture, Georgian entertainment should match its high level. Georgians have managed to make their cuisine not only magically delicious but also bright, original, exquisite, unique and unforgettable.

Therefore, Georgian cuisine absorbed the best culinary traditions of many people of Transcaucasia, Asia and the Black Sea coast. The western part of Georgia was affected by Turkish cuisine, the eastern – by Iranian. Therefore, in the western Georgia widespread are the corn flour flat cakes from– mchadi, while in the eastern Georgia people prefer white bread baked in huge clay jugs.

The easterners use corn flour to cook thick mash – gomi – and eat it instead of bread with meat and vegetable dishes. Eastern Georgians cook mutton, use many animal fats along with the core Georgian meat – beef, while in the Western Georgia they eat much less meat and favor poultry – chicken and turkeys.

In the western Georgia they prefer rennet cheeses- suluguni and Imeretian. As for the eastern Georgia there they prefer spicy and salty cheeses – Kobian, Tushin and Georgian. Both western and eastern Georgias are famous for their special spice sauce from nuts and spices used with meats.

However, these insignificant differences can not be the reason of distinguishing between western and eastern cuisines. There is only one “Georgian cuisine” when it comes to reception of a guest of honor. And of course only the freshest ingredients, obligatory sauces, seasonings, spices and greens are used for cooking …

Meat

The main feature of Georgian cuisine is the presence of all kinds of meats (unlike in Moslem countries) – poultry, beef, mutton, and pork. Caucasian people love and can cook meat. Such dishes as shish kebab, satsvi, chickens tabaka, chikhirtma and chakhokhbili have long been rated as international. They are cooked in different countries of the world!

The priority in Georgian cuisine is given to meat dishes. There are dozens of recipes!

Satsivi is a cold dish from poultry, chicken or turkey. The name of the dish comes from the original satsivi sauce served with fried chicken. The sauce has more than one and a half dozen varieties. It is prepared from the poultry broth with addition of various spices, seasonings and nuts.

Chakhokhbili are pieces of chicken (or other poultry) stewed in tomato sauce. Prior to this they are fried it a pan without fat. Then tomatoes are added and the dish is stewed in vegetable juice.

The set of spices for chakhokhbili is as follows: parsley, savory, coriander, basil, red pepper, and garlic.

Borani is a main course dish combining separately prepared chickens tapaka and a considerable quantity of vegetables stewed separately in matsoni. The set of vegetables is spinach, string beans and eggplants with a lot of spices. Traditionally, the ready vegetables are divided in two halves; one is to put a piece of chicken on it, the other to cover the chicken from top. The dish is then seasoned with matsoni with saffron infusion and cinnamon.

Tolma – Georgian stuffed vegetables. Fragrant forcemeat is put inside eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, and apples to be stewed in broth with spices and basil, parsley, coriander.

Kuchmachi -a hot dish from liver, heart, lung, and tongue served in butter with spices.

Muzhuzhi – a dish from boiled semi-marinated pork. It is cooked from meat a well as legs and tails. Each kind of meat is cooked separately to be used together in the same dish. The dish is seasoned with wine vinegar and served cold with spring onions and greens.

Sauces

A distinctive feature of Georgian national cuisine is various sauces used to cook first and second courses. All the Georgian sauces are cooked from natural components: fresh vegetables, spices
as well as berry and fruit juices. Tomatoes, pepperidge, pomegranate, sloeberry, tkemali are also often used. The sauces are enriched with garlic, nuts and grape vinegar to enhance flavor and zest . It is impossible to imagine a Georgian dish without greens. They are enhanced by cilantro , sweet basil, tarragon, parsley, mother-of-thyme, dill and peppermint, cinnamon, coriander, cloves and all kinds of pepper loved by all Georgians

Many recipes to cook sauces were passed on from generation to generation, and nowadays cooking of sauces is something like a ritual – a tribute to the traditions. Every sauce is inimitable in its own way, but the unique feature of Georgian cuisine is that every sauce may be used for cooking of several various dishes.

The majority of Georgian sauces are divided into berry-vegetable sauces and satay sauces. The berry-vegetable ones are sauces based on juices of various fruits and berries. Among them
can be mentioned prune sauce tkemali, comprising much pectins, tannins, vitamins improving digestion and metabolism. Thus the berry-vegetable sauces also include sloe, cornel, tomato ones as well as tklapi sauce and, of course, satsebeli, the main Georgian sauce.

Satsebeli is translated from Georgian as “sauce”, so one can say that it is the base for almost all Georgian cuisine. Satsebeli is cooked from fresh tomatoes, flavored with cilantro and dill, the resulted mix is flavored with coriander, menthe pulegium, fenugreek and blue melilot; sweet basil, sweet marjoram, Spanish paprika can also be added to it.

Another kind of traditional Georgian sauces is satay sauces. Nuts are one of the main ingredients for cooking various dishes. The satay sauces also include garo and satsivi (walnut sauce).
Garo sauce is prepared on the basis of nuts and chicken broth, enhanced with some cilantro, garlic and wine vinegar or grenadine juice. This sauce is usually used with roasted turkey or chicken.

Satsivi sauce is specially cooked for the dish of the same name – satsivi chicken. Satsivi is translated from Georgian as “chilled”, that is why the chicken is chilled after being cooked and the sauce itself is served chilled too. The sauce is cooked from chicken broth and the same walnut, and flavored with corn meal or wheat flour, garlic, onion and seasoning.

Georgian sauces add special taste, peculiar only for Georgian national cuisine. The Georgians pay much attention to cooking of sauces and none of Georgian dishes will be served without sauces suitable to it.

Cheese

One more distinctive feature of Georgian cuisine is the use of plentiful of cheeses. The structure of cheeses there is very specific. In Georgia cheese is boiled in milk, fried on a spit, in a frying pan, soaked, crushed, flavored with oil and spices.

Each area of Georgia can brag about having the best cheese type. There are several hundreds of Georgian cheese courses having cheeses as ingredients but the most favorite of all is khachapuri.

Especially well-known are Adzharian khachapuri. They are made as little boats with an egg poured inside each. Khevsur khachapuri are stuffed with greens, and Rachin ones – with string beans.

Khachapuri is a farinaceous meal with big amount of cheese. This national Georgian food is spread everywhere in the republic and is coke differently.

Outwardly khachapuri remind large curd tarts (closed and open) filled with cheeses and baked on cast-iron frying pans.

The dough for khachapuri is necessarily needs matsoni (Georgian sour milk). As a result it turns out especially tender.

The cheese for stuffing is soaked, slightly wring out, and crushed with whipped eggs and creamy or drawn butter.

A pastry layer is heavily greased with drawn butter, then it is rolled in and out several to make it puff. Only then they put the stuffing and baked on a frying pan. Ready khachapuri are buttered and served hot.