The only Georgian food I’ve been able to help cook so far is khinkali.  Khinkali are a favorite national dish of Georgia, and though they are very similar to the plethora of dumplings made all over the world, they have one particularly unique trait: they’re filled with broth.  I didn’t participate in the whole khinkali-making process, but since it’s a rather labor-intensive job I got to help with the filling and folding.  I don’t have a recipe, but I can tell you that the trick to broth-filled khinkali is to add lots and lots of water to the ground meat filling.

To make your khinkali in the traditional shape, you start with a fairly small circular piece of dough, and add the filling to the middle.

Dough for one khinkali dumpling.

You then pick up the dough at the back, and pleat the dough, folding such that you put the folds on top (I’m not sure why this is important, but my host mother says it is very important).  Keep holding the pile of folds in your hand, and continue until you have made it back to where you began.

Folding khinkali.

If you’re a pro at this or a generally tidy person, the folds should all be the same size, and you should have quite a lot of them.  You will now have a nubbin of pleated dough in your hand.  Pick up the khinkali by the nubbin and spin and pinch a few times to get the dough glued together.  Now you only need to do about 100 more…

Homemade Khinkali.

(Photos by my host sister, Ani)