Khinkali are Georgian Dumplings. They are so yummy! I was brought up on Pelmeni and Varenyky by my Belarussian & Ukrainian family but there are so many more dumplings across the region of Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia. My grandmother has been mentioning Georgia to me for the last 15 years and only recently have I started to become really interested in this region. She and her husband (my late grandfather) used to travel across the USSR and Georgia was one of their favourite destinations. They would go there, visit the markets in Tbilisi, eat Khinkali, drink Georgian wine and hike the mountains. The flavours and culture of Georgia has began to fascinate me. I cant wait to travel to this part of the world to discover more. But for now, what better way to start discovering a culture than begin cooking their dishes? After much research, going through every cook book and online recipes that I could find, I ended up using a mix of recipes as a guide and the ingredients that I had at home.
In Georgia, Khinkali is one of their most popular dishes and is commonly found in restaurants, street food stalls and households. The fillings vary in different parts of the country. You can use anything as the base from beef, pork, lamb, mushrooms, potato, etc. Add seasonings like parsley, coriander, cumin, nuts, and more. So I worked with what I had and that was pork and fresh parsley. I definitely want to try making a lamb spiced Khinkali next time. I think that would be so delicious! I also used spelt flour, even though most modern recipes show plain white flour, but I believe they would have started making Khinkali with a more un refined flour. It worked, although of course I had to make different adjustments, like more water, more kneading time and so on. You want the dough to be kneaded well, as the dumpling needs to hold a good amount of heavy filling (Like a bag), a couple of my dumplings burst so I would say I needed to knead it for even longer! I’ll be making a demonstration video soon to show you guys how to put the dumpling together visually. For now you can find the recipe below.
Makes approximately 30-35
For the dough:
650 gm spelt unbleached flour (most recipes use plain white flour) plus extra for kneading
300 ml lukewarm water
1 tsp salt
For the filling:
500 gm pork mince (many recipes use half beef mince & half pork mince)
2 medium sized onions (chopped very finely or use a blender)
1 bunch of parsley, approximately 1 cup if roughly chopped
1 tsp coriander powder
1 large tsp black pepper
1 large tsp salt
water (at least 150 ml, depending on the moisture in your mince)
Cayenne pepper, cumin powder, fresh coriander instead of parsley
Sour cream and dried red pepper powder (any paprika will do) or see other serving options below
- In a large bowl, place the flour, water and salt and use a whisk to mix the ingredients together roughly.
- Remove from the bowl and place the mixture onto a heavily floured surface. Begin to knead the mixture bringing it together. Knead for at least 10 minutes. This step is really important! You want the dough to be tough and not sticky. Use additional flour during the kneading process (See picture below). If you have a stand mixer then use the dough hook and mix for a good 5 minutes, finishing off by hand.
- Place the dough to the side in covered bowl whilst you prepare the filling.
- Blend the onion and parsley together until paste like.
- In a large bowl place the pork, onion & parsley mixture, spices, salt, pepper and water and use your hand to mix all ingredients together. Adding more water if you need, mince can be quite dry and you want this filling to be quite watery so add as much as you need to.
- Once your filling is ready set it aside in the fridge whilst you roll out the dough.
- Start by cutting the large ball of dough into 2 pieces so it will be easier to roll the dough out.
- Roll out the dough until it’s about 1 cm thick and then use a glass or cup to cut out 6 cm or so in diameter circles. You will have left over dough after cutting out the circles so roll the leftover dough up, knead it until a smooth ball again and use again by rolling out, repeating the process. Repeat the process with all the dough.
- Once you have the dumpling bases cut out, roll them out 1 by 1 until nice and thin.
- Fill each dumpling with 1 large tbsp of filling then fold the dumpling together. The best way to do this is create mini folds from the edge to the centre of the filling, then you want to pinch the top part to create a knob to make sure the dumpling holds together. Some cooks remove the very top part and leave a little bit of the dough just to grip onto whilst eating. Others use scissors to cut the gathered edges off from the knob and then create a clean knob. I will add a video soon to demonstrate how to do this and the variations. It’s really simple to make the dumpling once you get the hang of it. Once you make each dumpling, place on a floured tray.
Note: The top part of the dumpling is traditionally left to hold the dumpling upside down when eating it. The more folds you make the better!
Cooking the dumplings:
- Prepare a large pot of water with plenty of salt and bring to the boil.
- Place 10 or so dumplings into a large boiling pot, you don’t want to overcrowd it!
- Use a wooden spoon to lightly stir the water, making sure the dumplings dont stick to the bottom, they should come up to the surface floating. Once they are floating, give them 5-6 minutes more to cook.
- Remove with a strainer and place in a bowl, add some of the liquid from the pot to the plate or serve as is (When opened the dumpling should have liquid come out).
Once again there are lots of variations, you can have the khinkali simply by itself, the juiciness should be enough inside. I believe traditionally they are served simply with some black pepper. I tried a few options and It just depends what you are in the mood for! but they are also super delicious with:
- Freshly ground black pepper, butter and the liquid from the pot.
- Sour cream
- Sour cream with paprika
- Sour cream with paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper
Khinkali demonstration video coming soon