neděle 2. srpna 2009

Khinkali - Хинкали

Tortellini, pelmeni, xiao long bao, vareniki, gyoza, manty are all types of filled dumplings. So is khinkali, a famous Georgian dish. When I was a kid me and my mom lived in Georgia for 2 years and my mom learned to cook many Georgian dishes. Caucasian cuisines are not very known in Europe which a great pity because they are truly unique and very healthy. However many of the most famous dishes cannot be cooked outside their country of origin because Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani cuisines take great pride in local products that are rarely available outside these countries. Although these 3 countries are very small and located very close to each other their cuisines differ extremely.
This recipe is a combination of my mom's recipe and this one. The author of the latter, Milena from Tbilisi, is a great cook and a specialist on Georgian cuisine. Her recipes are always very well explained and she dedicates much oo her time on explaining the origins of the dishes and when and where they are eaten. She is also a great photographer and often takes her readers on trips around Georgia. Her recipe is probably more authentic but as my mom's recipe differs a bit, I decided to put together my "own" recipe. Khinkali can be also filled with cheese or vegetables or mushrooms. But I cooked the most traditional ones with meat.

1 kg of mince - a combo of pork and beef. If you use lean meat the dish will be ruined!!!
finely chopped onion - Milena uses 300gr, I add much less about 50gr
salt, pepper
finely chopped coriander - Milena does not add coriander, but 1 teaspoons ground caraway seeds
hot paprika to taste

1 litre or more of warm water - the amount depends on the flour

1. Make filling from ingredients the meat and spices. It should not be lean!! Add some water to make it "juicy", about 100ml. The filling should be shiny, soft and "slimy". I don't know how to explain it better.
2. Make dough. Pour lukewarm water in a bowl, add a bit of salt and continuoulsy add flour to make a very stiff dough. I think you could do it in a good, strong stand mixer or breadmaker. I do it in a breadmaker. The dough shouldn't be soft, in fact it should be almost too hard to roll out. Let it stand covered for 30minutes.
3. Devide the dough and form sticks out of each part. Cut the sticks into round pieces. Milena says they should be the size of a walnut, my mom makes them bigger. So I decided to do somethin in between, let's say the size of a plum. Roll them out one by one and fill with filling, about 1 tablespoon of filling per each parcel. Now, there should be some unfilled space inside the dumplings because a tasty soup will form inside, so do not fill them completely! Milena has beautiful pictures on how to form them, my mom does it the same way but when she assembles them she leaves a big "tail" on top of them. Milena's is not so profound. Khinkali are eaten grabbed by this tail and the tail is thrown away when the dumpling is eaten.
4. Boil some water in a big pot. Boil the khinkali for about 5-10 minutes, depending on the size. Smear a thin layer of oil on a plate and serve the khinkali on it. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.
Be careful when eating, they are filled with a very hot soup.

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