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Posts Tagged ‘Georgian’

Pan-grilled vegan khatchapuri

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I apologize in advance for an overly dramatic post. I have very strong feelings about khatchapuri (ha-chee-purr-ee), this wonderful cheese-filled Georgian bread.

Khatchapuri has been described as Eurasian pizza or a Caucasian quesadilla, but it’s so much more. Yes, the wheat and dairy factor is a commonality between the three, but khatchapuri triumphs over her lesser bready/cheesy brothers with the salty tang of pickled cheese. She’s rustic, a little wild, and not the prettiest, but she makes you feel at home. Comfortable.

Once you’ve had a little taste of khatchapuri, you just want more. You’re hooked. Pretty soon, you’re booking flights to Tbilisi. Taking too much time off work. Maxing out credit cards and selling your possessions, then your hair, then your body, just to get your fix. Because you can’t just have one bite of khatchapuri — oh no. What a fool you were to think you could try her and then just walk away.

Khatchapuri consumes you. Haunts your dreams. Reduces you to a fragmented shard of a human being. Destroys you.

Needless to say, I really like the stuff. Unfortunately, it’s not very vegan. So, here’s my attempt to veganize it!

Mo has already veganized khatchapuri, but her version — which looks amazing — is a little different from the one I remember: every region of Georgia has a different take on it.

My khatchapuri, adapted from Delights of Culinaria, didn’t turn out quite as delicious as I remembered, but they weren’t bad.

Pan-grilled vegan khatchapuri

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 TBS cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup “suluguni” cheese (see below)
  • 1 package Daiya, cheddar or mozzarella
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 TBS chopped cilantro
  • oil

Instructions:

  1. Add lemon juice to soymilk and stir until mixed. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add soy milk/lemon mixture and knead until it forms a soft mixture.
  2. In another bowl, combine Daiya, “sulugini,” garlic, and cilantro.
  3. Oil your hands and place 1/4 of the dough onto a generously floured surface. Press it into a pancake, making sure that the dough doesn’t stick. Place 1/4 of the filling in the middle, and fold the edges over all around (making sorta a big dumpling). Sprinkle it with some flour and flatten it out again. Do this three more times.
  4. Heat skillet to medium, spray with a little oil, and grill khatchapuri about 3-4 minutes on each side. Optional: brush each side with oil when done.

Vegan “suluguni”

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb tofu
  • 2 tsp miso
  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender until just combined. It should be a little grainy.

Vegan Katmis Satsivi (Georgian chicken with walnut sauce)

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Аппетит приходит во время еды. {Appetite comes with eating.}

~Russian Proverb

Hot damn — I love katmis satsivi , and I didn’t even know it existed until recently.

This sauce of this nut-based stew is rich, creamy, comforting, and incidentally (nearly) vegan, and because I accidentally kept the spices in the same proportions while halving the original recipe, it’s incredibly spicy and flavorful — reduce my measurements for hot pepper, paprika, coriander, cinnamon and fenugreek if what I’ve put if it seems like too much to you.

I used WestSoy’s chicken-style seitan in my adaptation of Saveur’s Katmis Satsivi recipe and it worked beautifully — it has a shredded, stewed effect that mimics the chicken of the original. I don’t think that Beyond Meat’s chicken would really work, but fried tofu or eggplant would probably be good.

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It looks kiiiiiida like dog food in the pic above (brown food, why are you so hard to photograph?), but seriously — give this one a try.

ძალიან გემრიელი იყო — it was delicious.

Vegan Katmis Satsivi

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or vegan chicken broth, divided
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 hot red pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (the recipe called for Holland peppers — I used cayenne)
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for sauteeing
  • 1 lb (1 package) chicken seitan
  • 3 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp. hot paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground fenugreek
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar

Instructions

  1. Blend walnuts, 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, half each of the cilantro, garlic, and onions, and all of the hot pepper, salt, and black pepper until smooth. Set aside. (I may have only blended half of my pepper and sauteed the rest in the next step.)
  2. Saute chicken-style seitan in oil with the remaining garlic and onions until onions turn brown. Add paprikas, coriander, fenugreek, and cinnamon and cook for a minute or so. Add walnut sauce, the other half of the cilantro, and the rest of the stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or so, until sauce reduces by a third.
  3. Stir in vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Top with cilantro and chopped walnuts, if you feel like it.

Tkemali: Georgian Plum Sauce

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Tkemali is a Georgian sauce, as well as the name of the variety of sour plum from which it is derived. You can buy commerically produced Georgian or Russian versions of tkemali at Eastern European import stores, but since we’re boycotting Russian products, why not make it yourself?

It’s basically the Eurasian version of ketchup, served most commonly on meat, poultry and potato dishes, but really on anything. Much like ketchup, it’s tangy, tart, sweet, all-purpose, and will stain whatever you get it on, so don’t make it wearing your favorite hot-pink work shirt.

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I adapated this recipe from the New York Times and served it with oven-fried tofu ala Cameraphone Vegan, which seems to be the closest vegan version of Chicken Tabaka.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound plums (not too ripe)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or more, to taste — I used a TBS
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (I left this out — you can use fenugreek too)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill or 2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Blanch the plums in boiling water for 30 seconds, then rinse under cold water. Peel (confession: I didn’t peel mine) and remove the pits.
  2. Simmer plums in water with lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and peppers, coriander and cumin/fenugreek for about 5 minutes or until plums are soft.
  3. Transfer to a blender and blend until well blended. Worst. sentance. ever.
  4. Bring back to saucepan and add dill and cilantro. Cook about 5 more minutes until thickened.
  5. Chill it or serve hot.

Badridzhani Nigvsit: Georgian eggplant with walnut garlic filling

Vegtastic! is going to Georgia this week.

That’s right: Georgia the republic, not Georgia the state. The country of 4.7 million people in the Caucasus. The former Soviet Republic. Birthplace of Joseph Stalin (née Ioseb Besarionis dze Jugashvili). Territory that has been inhabited by Homo erectus since the Paleolithic Era. Location of the Golden Fleece sought by Jason and his Argonauts. Kingdom of David the Builder (who I picture as a more badass version of Bob the Builder). Subject to many raids, pillages, and long periods of anarchy. Recently at war with Russia.

A pretty awesome country.

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I’ve never been to Georgia, but fell in love with its cuisine at a restaurant in Moscow.

Here is a naturally vegan Georgian appetizer that I am so happy to have discovered: a flavorful walnut filling sandwiched between thin slices of eggplant. I don’t know what the name of this recipe is in Georgian, but it is pretty darn tasty. (Update 9.11.13: JK. it’s called Badridzhani Nigvsit.)

I’ve combined a couple of different recipes. Most versions call for frying the eggplant, but I baked mine just for convenience — if you want to fry it, be my guest. Most recipes recommend using the small, thin Japanese eggplants — this will make it easier to cut them, but all I could find at the grocery store was the larger Italian kind, which worked too.

My understanding is that this dish is traditionally eaten cold, so it’s a good make-ahead.

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant or 3 of the small thin kind
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbs water (add more if you need to)

Instructions

  1. Slice eggplant into thin slices. Sprinkle with salt on paper towels, and let sweat for an hour. Rinse. Brush well with oil on both sides and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until soft. Set aside.
  2. Fry walnuts, onions, and garlic until onions are soft and browned, stirring so as not to burn the walnuts. Mix in the spices when the onions are almost ready, or whenever you feel like it. I’ve heard that it’s better to brown them in oil to fully release their aroma and flavor potentials, but I just dump ‘em in whenever I like. If someone wants to educate me on the proper time to add spices, please do.
  3. Blend walnut mixture with vinegar and water until it forms a paste.
  4. Spread walnut paste on one half of eggplant slice and fold over.
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