If using a cut of beef (instead of minced beef), put the cubes in a saucepan with just enough water to cover, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender. The cooking liquid is your broth. If using minced beef, make a broth with bouillion.
4 aubergines, cut into medium dice
500 ml water + 10 g bouillion
400 g beef, minced / beef, cut into medium dice
400 g chickpeas, boiled
2 lemons, juiced
150 g onion, sliced
45 ml olive oil
60 g red pepper paste / tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, mashed
5 g salt
Sauté the onions in oil. Add garlic and, if using, the minced beef. Cook until the meat is brown, add choice of paste. After a few minutes, add aubergines, cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chickpeas and, if using, the cubed beef, the broth or bouillion and salt. Cook on a low heat for 60 minutes. With 15 minutes to go until the end of cooking, add the lemon juice.
Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian bread with regional variations. Imeruli khachapuri from Imeretian in western Georgia is the common variation, with a vein of cheese through the middle of a flatbread. Acharuli or Adjaruli from Adjarian is a boat-shaped bread. Other shapes and sizes include Achma khachapuri from Abkhazian, Guruli from Gurian, Megruli from Mingrelian, Ossuri from Ossetian, and Penovani, Rachuli and Svanuri for a total of 53 varieties.
In her book The Georgian Feast, American academic Darra Goldstein described the bread. ‘Khachapuri is found throughout Georgia in many guises – round, rectangular and boat-shaped. The dough can be yeasty with a thick crust, many-layered and flaky, or tender and cake-like. The bread is usually filled with a fresh, slightly sour cheese like imeruli or suluguni, but salty cheeses like bryndza may also be used … even the smallest towns have hole-in-the-wall cafés where piping hot khachapuri may be consumed on the spot or taken out.’
In 2018 Levan Qoqiashvili discovered 83 versions (53 varieties and 30 fillings). These include beans, mushrooms, onions and potatoes, and this revelation crushed the purist attitude that khachapuri is a ‘cheese bread’ and only authentic with a cheese filling.
‘I often thought, which Georgian dish is worthy of national dish status? We interviewed about 500 people and almost all of them named khachapuri. Then I shared my idea to start exploring the dish with my friend, writer Diana Amphiamid. The first questions that popped into our minds was when was the first khachapuri prepared and which utensil was used for its preparation? In order to find it out, we teamed up with a historian and an archaeologist. We also had other questions during research, for example, approximately when Georgians started cultivating wheat and which are Georgian wheat species.’
Georgians insist that the dough is the secret to a successful khachapuri, not the shape and not the filling, and each home baker has their own secret recipe for the dough. Generally the dough is made with matzoni (the Caucasian fermented milk), although kefir or yoghurt are appropriate substitutes. Milk is preferred in some recipes. The ratio between dough and filling varies from region to region, and from baker to baker.
500 ml milk 15 ml matsoni / sour cream (for the first batch)
Heat milk, pour into a bowl or pot, leave to cool, add matsoni or sour cream, stir. Cover the bowl or pot, wrap it in a warm towel for three hours, refrigerate.
1 kg white wheat flour, t500 400 ml matzoni / kefir / yoghurt 1 egg 50 g butter, melted 20 g yeast, dissolved in 30 ml warm milk 5 g salt
1 kg white wheat flour, t500 20 g yeast, dissolved in 500 ml warm milk or water 150 g butter 15 g sugar 5 g salt
900 g white wheat flour, t500 400 g butter 300 ml water, warmed 1 egg 3 tbsp oil 3 tbsp vinegar
Filling for doughs 1 and 2
1 kg Suluguni cheese / Mozzarella cheese, grated 2 eggs 100 g butter Salt, large pinch
Filling for dough 3
1.2 kg curd cheese / soft cheese 3 eggs
Finish for dough 2 and 3
2 eggs, whipped Oil, for hands
For doughs one and two combine wet and dry ingredients. Knead into a smooth dough, rest for 4 hours. Divide into four pieces. With oiled hands shape into rectangles or rounds, roll out 1 cm thick and spread each piece with an equal amount of cheese mixture. Alternatively place cheese mixture on each piece, collect edges and bring them into the middle to form an envelope, then roll out 1 cm thick and egg wash. Place on oiled trays, leave to rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 300ºC for 10 minutes.
For dough three combine flour, warm water, egg, oil and vinegar to form a smooth dough. Divide butter into three parts. Roll out the dough, 2 cm thick smear surface with one third of the butter, fold into an envelope. Place in refrigerator for an hour. Take the cold dough and roll it out again, smear second third of butter over the surface, fold into an envelope and refrigerate for an hour. Repeat this process with the final third of butter. Oil a tray and preheat oven to 240ºC. Divide the dough into two pieces, roll out the first dough to the size of the tray. Place it on the tray. Whip eggs into the cheese, pour onto the layer of dough in the tray. Roll out the second dough to the size of the tray, place on top of the cheese-egg mixture. Wash surface with egg. Bake for ten minutes.
1 kg beans 200 g butter 20 g green peppercorns, ground 20 g salt
1.2 kg cheese 4 eggs 30 g butter 20 g green peppercorns, ground
900 g onions 120 g red pepper paste 75 ml sunflower oil 60 ml pomegranate molasses 10 g salt
1.2 kg potatoes, cooked, mashed 200 g butter 30 g salt 20 g green peppercorns, ground
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease a baking tray with the oil. Place peppers on the tray, bake in oven for 25 minutes, until the peppers have wilted and the skin and seeds are easily. When cool liquidise the softened peppers. For a deeper flavour add paprika flakes. Store in fridge or in sterilised jars.
The Kalkanoğlu restaurant in the heart of the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul has maintained the culinary tradition of Trabzon with its signature dish, rice with beef and tomato paste, so good it is sold by the kilo! We have tweaked their version with the option of red pepper paste.
800 ml water300 g beef fillet, cut into medium dice300 g rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained150 g tomato paste / red pepper paste60 g butter15 ml olive oil15 g salt5 g black pepper
In a large pot combine choice of paste with the water and salt. Boil, add rice, reduce heat. Cook until rice has absorbed the liquid. Melt butter and oil in a large frying pan, brown the beef, no more than that. Fold meat into the rice. Serve, dressed with black pepper.