Meat wrapped in dough. Every culture seems to have one. You may remember my love affair with Argentine baked empanada’s in South America, but alas there are no empanada’s to be found in the Caucuses. There are however…dumplings.
Piled high on a metal tray, Khinkali, or Georgian meat dumplings, are served in enormous quantities. About the size of your fist, the minimum order at a restaurant is usually five. Frankly, that’s more than I can eat, and I usually leave some dough behind when I am unable to fufill the Khinkali challenge. Grown men will sit and eat 10 and 20 at time while downing pints of their favorite local brew.
Spiced meat balls mixed with onions, peppers and a little garlic wrapped in dough, Khinkali are like the chicken soup of Georgian cuisine, they instantly make you feel like you’ve been sitting in Grandma’s kitchen all day. The juice is probably the best part. Steamed inside the dough, the meat’s spiced juices fill the dumpling and spill out when you bite or cut into it. The best technique is to try and eat them whole or suck out the juice, but that’s one I haven’t mastered. Instead I just soak up the juice with the little dumpling “tops” where the dough has been pinched together. Easy enough!