GEORGIA

The ‘Five Cross Flag’ of Georgia was an original banner of the medieval Kingdom of Georgia.
COUNTRYGEORGIA
DishesLobio, Pkhali
Time 1.30 hrs
Effort 5/10
Rough cost £5
COUNTRY GEORGIA
Capital Tbilisi
Population 3,716,858 (131st largest)
Land mass 69,700 km2 (119th largest)
Languages Georgian, Abkhaian
Religions88% Christianity

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region, sandwiched between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, and bordered to the West by the Black Sea. It is a nation with rich ancient and medieval historical roots, and once formed parts of the Ottoman, Mongol, and Russian empires. Georgia is now a developing country, aspiring for NATO membership, and is a representative democracy.

Georgian feasts – supras – are full of salads, stews, breads and music, and can even last for days on end! The classic accompanying drink is orange organic wine, which is in fact an item of UNESCO cultural heritage status. The cuisine is a combination of Eastern and Western flavours and techniques, creating an interesting and delicious mix.

Meat has historically been saved for special occasions in Georgia, meaning there was a multitude of great veggie/vegan recipes to choose from. Bridget went for Pkhali – a vegetable pate made from ground walnuts (classic Georgian ingredient) and spices with cooked veg mixed in – and Lobio – a red kidney bean stew full of spices and herbs. Both dishes were delicious but be warned of having very very garlic breath afterwards!

RECIPES

Lobio (red kidney bean stew)

INGREDIENTS

  • 400g red kidney beans (if using dried beans soak prior to use)
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp blue fenugreek (or normal fenugreek)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup veg stock
  • a good glug of oil
  • salt + pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Using a pestle & mortar, grind up the fenugreek with the garlic and coriander into a mushy paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium heat and fry the diced onion until golden. Then add the spice paste and cook for 3 mins until fragrant.
  3. Lower the heat and add in the kidney beans along with a little bit of the bean water. Mash the beans a little with the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Mix everything well and then add in the stock and bay leaves. Cook the stew for about 20 minutes until a nice consistency is reached.
  5. Add salt + pepper to taste and serve with fresh Mchadi (fresh cornbread)!

Pkhali (beetroot + walnut paté balls)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp blue fenugreek
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups of walnuts
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dill
  • 1/2 fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 0.5 lbs beetroots (I used pickled beets)

METHOD

  1. Using a pestle & mortar, grind the blue fenugreek, and cayenne pepper together.
  2. Then the spices into the food processor with the walnuts, chopped onion and garlic. Grind roughly. 
  3. Add the herbs into the food processor, then add vinegar and salt. Mix well to make a homogenous paste and transfer this to a bowl.
  4. Grate the pickled beets, and add the grated beets into the bowl for the walnut paste. Mix by hand and add salt to taste.
  5. Take a tablespoon of mixture and roll it in yours hands to make small balls. Make a small dimple on top and garnish with a walnut. Serve as pre-dinner horderves.
გმადლობთ and see you in Germany! M + B x

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