Cooking exercise before travelling. Georgian Khinkali

Another great recipes for you today. Enjoy the Georgian Khinkali as interpreted by my very good friend Monica Maiolo.

Georgian cuisine is extremely tasty and varied depending on the region. From a cultural point of view, eating and drinking are vital aspects of Georgian culture, as well as their love for friends and family. Georgians perfectly combine them – and show their great hospitality – during the so-called feast “supra”, offered spontaneously to the lucky guests.

As you may know, Georgia is also one of the oldest wine regions in the world. In 2013, the traditional Qvevri Georgian winemaking method with clay jars was also enlisted in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

A particular kind of wine that my host Ernesto kindly offered me (at 7 am in the morning) is the “orange wine”, a white wine made without removing the grape skins.

When I travel, I love trying traditional food and Tbilisi was a great surprise for my palate, too. I was undecided: should I suggest here the Khachapuri recipe – the addictive cheese-stuffed bread – or  something else? And then I opted for the Georgian – maybe – most traditional dish: khinkali.

Khinkali – big traditional Georgian dumplings date back to the Mongolian invasions in the 13th century. People from both mountain regions Tusheti and Pshavi claim to have invented them.

There are several varieties of khinkali: the most common are filled with minced beef or pork, but you can also try them with lamb or in the vegeterian versions, with cheese or mushrooms. When you order them at a restaurant, they will ask you how many you would like to eat. Five to seven khinkali is considered a large meal.

When I was in Tbilisi, I tried them all, except for the lamb ones, but now I would like to share with you the most traditional recipe.

Georigian Khinkali – Photo by Monica Maiolo

Ingredients for about 30 khinkali

For the dough:

  • 600 gr. of flour
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • Water

For the filling:

  • 500 gr. of mixed minced beef
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 3 tbsp of chopped cilantro
  • 3 tbsp of chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 11/2 tsp of blue fenugreek
  • Water
  • Black pepper (to serve them)


First of all, in a bowl mix together the minced meat, diced onion, salt, cumin, blue fenugreek, cilantro, parsley and water. Then, set it apart.

Pour flour into a bowl, add salt and warm water and knead firmly. Transfer to a work surface and knead until the dough is smooth. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover it with a cloth and allow it rest for about 40 minutes.

Put a big saucepan full of water on the heat. When it boils, add salt and turn down the heat.

The Orange wine – Photo by Monica Maiolo

While waiting for the water to boil, take the dough and flatten it (the thickness should be 1.5 centimeters). Take a glass with a diameter of 7 centimeters and use it to cut circles out of the dough. Flatten these circles as thinly as possible. But pay attention: their central part should be thicker than the edges. Sprinkle them with flour. Put about two  tablespoons of minced meat on each of the dough circles and wrap them carefull by forming a sack by pinching pieces of dough into each others.
Now, go back to the saucepan. Turn up the heat and drop khinkali carefully into the boiling water. Boil them with the lid on for 7-8 minutes and stir regularly. When they float, take the boiled khinkali out of the saucepan with a wooden skimmer in order not not to damage them. Drain them and serve them with black pepper.

N.B. there is a specific way to eat khinkali: first of all, hold the “crown”, so that the khinkali is upside down. Then, carefully bite a small hole in it and drink its juice, then enjoy the rest. The “crown” you’re holding is typically not eaten. Interesting, isn’t it?

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