Ex USSR countries are joined still today by the food culture and dishes that might have come from far away but now are kind of part of the local culture as well.
Armenian, Georgian, Russian cuisines have all mixed with the Latvian local cooking, and so many dishes just seem part of our childhood, even though a hundred years ago we probably hadn’t even heard of them.
Khinkali, shashlik, pelmeni, shuba herring salad, olivier, all bring back great memories and thanks to Covid and not being able to visit my home country this whole year, I am excited to cook some of these fantastic dishes.
Khinkali are these big dumplings from Georgia you eat by hand with a nice brothy liquid pouring out. Be careful not to mess up all your clothes, if you don’t know how to handle them!
Preparation time – 30 min
Cooking time – 10 min
Makes about 9 dumplings
Ingredients for the dough
- 250 g flour
- 1/2tsp fine salt
- 1 egg
- 125 ml water
Ingredients for the filling
- 150 g ground beef
- 150 g ground pork
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1/2 onion finely chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp blue fenugreek, a.k.a. Utsho Suneli (if you can’t find it, skip. Thanks to my Russian friend Anna, we have so much of the Caucaus spices, you should look for them in Russian shops, or buy some online)
- some freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 20 grams melted butter (don’t be stingy with the fat here, you want the filling to come out nice and juicy, this will help the brothy liquid to taste better)
- 150ml water
Makind the dough
Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl.
Add the egg and water, stir until all is well incorporated with a wooden spoon. Add some more flour if the dough is too wet, but be careful! It doesn’t have to be a very stiff dough. I want to remind you that each flour has a slightly different capacity to absorb water, so if your dough is extremely sticky, add more flour while you kneed it a bit.
Grease a bowl with some olive oil, so the dough doesn’t stick, cover with a towel and leave aside while preparing the filling.
As you can imagine, this step is pretty basic.
Mix all the ingredients together by hand.
Don’t be afraid to add so much water, the filling should be nice and creamy, so the broth develops inside while the dumplings are cooking.
MAKING THE DUMPLINGS
Sprinkle some flour on a kitchen surface, divide the dough in three pieces and start with rolling out one in a sausage-like shape 2,5 cm in diameter.
With a silicone spatula or something sharp, cut the piece in three other pieces (about 3,5 cm), roll the smaller pieces into balls. Do the same with all of the dough to get 9 smaller balls.
Take each ball and roll it out with a rolling pin in a circle, the dough shouldn’t be too think or too thin, so it doesn’t break during cooking.
Fill each dumpling with 1 tablespoon of filling and close it on top as seen in the photo giving it a slight twist. Be sure there is no meat coming out or touching the edges, the dumpling could open during cooking.
Leave the top part like shown, that is usually used to pick the dumpling up with the fingers.
Put the filled ones on a floured surface until cooking.
Just like you would with pasta, bring a big pot with water to boil. Add some salt, and a bay leaf for more flavour, if you like.
Once the water is boiling, carefully throw all the dumplings in and cook for 8 to 10 min.
Once cooked, serve with some fresh ground pepper on top. In some places this is served with some sour cream or plain yogurt.