To fully appreciate the Caucasian recipes, we had to roll up our sleeves before sitting down, learn how to feed ourselves by tearing a piece of Lavash (bread) and eat Caucasian dishes with our fingertips. Today, we invite you to discover these stomach-filling dishes, with their coriander, tarragon and dill flavors, which take us straight to the heart of the snowy highlands of the Caucasus!
Keys: AM/Armenia – GE/Georgia
Tolma (GE, AM)
The equivalent of Turkish Dolma! Recipe can be found on our Turkish recipes post. Variation: during winter, Armenians replace the vine leaf by a cabbage leaf (boil it in hot water for 2 minutes to make it more malleable).
– 100gr of butter
– 400gr of flour
– 300gr hard sheep’s milk cheese, like pecorino
– 1 egg
– dry yeast
– salt, sugar, oil
In a large bowl, dilute 100gr of melted butter in a little quantity of water and add 1 tablespoon of salt, a spoon of sugar, the yeast and a spoon of oil. Add the flour, knead by hand until a homogeneous dough is obtained. Add a glass of oil and knead to obtain a smooth and greasy dough, without lumps. Leave it to rest in a cool place for 2 or 3 hours. When the dough has rose well, take a ball of dough with your hands, flatten the middle and add the grated cheese on top. Close the ball, flatten it with your hands and put it on a round dish. Spread the dough until it takes up the whole surface and brush the top with egg yolk – before putting it in the oven for 15 minutes at 200°C.
Variant: Adjarian Khatchapouri
In this variant, the dough is spread out and the centre is sprinkled with grated cheese. Then, an egg is broke in the middle and edges are folded over to give the dough a “boat” shape. The Adjaran Khatchapouri is put in the oven and served with two pieces of butter, one on each side. To enjoy this dish, simply tear off the edges and dip them in the mixture of melted butter, egg and cheese.
Close to Katchapouri, Lobiani is a salted turnover filled with a purée of red beans.
Ingredients – for 8 pieces:
– 10cL of water
– 200gr of flour
– 300-400gr of pre-cooked red beans
– 3 onions
– 30gr of yeast
– salt, pepper, sugar, paprika
– Optional: chilli pepper
In a bowl, prepare the dough by mixing water, flour, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let the dough rest for at least an hour, so that it rises. In a saucepan, sauté the chopped onions, then add the previously cooked red beans, paprika, salt and pepper (possibly a little bit of chilli pepper, if you want to spice up your lobianis). Cook until the beans are reduced to a purée. Take the dough, knead it and separate it into 8 pieces. Spread each piece and pour some bean mixture in the middle. [ps2id id=’sinori’ target=”/]Close your lobianis, being careful to not let the stuffing come out, and spread a little egg yolk on top. Cook your lobianis for 10 minutes at 220°C, until golden brown. Serve hot!
Sinori (GE – Batumi region)
– rings of hardened lavash bread (or rings of dried filo pastry)
– 100gr of butter
– 50gr of cottage cheese
– Optional: 50gr of a mix of walnuts and almond powder, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 100gr of additional butter and 100gr of sugar
Arrange the rings of hardened lavash bread (or dried filo pastry) in an oven dish. Mix the cottage cheese with half of cup of boiling water in a saucepan, to obtain a perfectly liquid preparation. Pour the cheesy preparation over the lavash rings. Melt 100gr of butter on the side, until it becomes foamy, and pour the melted butter over the preparation. You can serve!
Variant: Sinori as a dessert
In the dessert version, Georgians pour a sweet mix made with 100gr of butter and 100gr of sugar, melted in 50cl of water, to which they add a mixture of walnut and almond powder. To perfect the dessert, just add 2 tablespoons of sugar on top!
Other caucasian hot meals
- Khinkali (GE): ravioli stuffed with meat, mushrooms, cheese or mashed potatoes
- Basturma (AM): beef jerky with spices
- Tcheburek (GE): minced meat turnover or cheese fried in oil
- Khashil (AM – Goris region): kind of porridge, prepared from bulgur and yoghurt, with melted butter. Khashil has its origins in Iran, and is mainly eaten for breakfast!
Soups and sauces
Aveluk soup (AM)
Aveluk is a kind of wild sorrel, which is found in some regions of Armenia. Its taste is more acidic than wild sorrel; but if you can’t find aveluk in your local market, this soup can be made with wild sorrel or spinach with a bit of lemon juice added!
– 1 bunch of aveluk or wild sorrel or spinach
– 1/2 bulgur cup
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
– 1 sliced potato
– 2 teaspoons of flour
– 2 chopped garlic cloves
– cilantro, salt, pepper
Prepare the aveluk/wild sorrel/spinach in advance by dipping them in a pot of hot water. Drain them well. In another pot, pour 150cl of water and bring it to boil. Salt, and add the bulgur, chopped onion and sliced potato. Lower the heat, and add the aveluk/wild sorrel/spinach with a few tablespoons of tomato paste. Pepper. Cook until bulgur and potato pieces are melting. To make the soup thicker, add 2 teaspoons of flour. Serve when all the ingredients are cooked, adding a bit of garlic and cilantro at the end to enhance the taste!
Nicknamed the Georgian ketchup, Tkemali is a sauce that accompanies most Georgian dishes. Except that instead of a sweet tomato puree, it consists of a plum puree (myrobolan)!
- Lavash (AM): pita type bread rolled, flattened and originally baked on an earthenware oven walls
- Mchadi (GE): special bread, baked with corn flour, ideal to taste cheese
Caucasian desserts and diaries
- Matzun (AM, GE): yoghurt with or without garlic, ideal to accompany Tolma
- Gata (AM): traditional Armenian cake. During the preparation of the cake, a coin can be incorporated into the dough: it will bring luck to whoever finds it!
- Churchkhela (GE): sausage-shaped confectionery, made from grape juice and nuts
- Tchatcha (GE): grape liquor very (very!) strong in alcohol
- Vodka (AM): an appreciated alcohol, prepared from different fruits
- Red wine processed in amphora: if you like good wine, try the red wine vinified in terracotta jars according to an ancestral method, whose paternity seems to be disputed between Armenians and Georgians!…
More about Caucasus:
* Post written according to our personal experience *