(Georgian meat-filled dumplings)
Khinkali are a specialty of the Caucasus nation of Georgia. They are most often enjoyed at special restaurants where the tasty, meat-filled dumplings are served simply with a generous sprinkling of crushed black pepper. While ground beef and lamb are the most common fillings, you can also make khinkali stuffed with chopped mushrooms or cheese.
Makes 12 to 15 dumplings
- Flour -- 3 cups
- Salt -- 2 teaspoons
- Egg, beaten (optional) -- 1
- Water -- 1 to 1 1/2 cups
- Ground beef or lamb -- 1 pound
- Ground pork -- 1/2 pound
- Broth or water-- 1/2 cup
- Onions, minced -- 2
- Parsley, chopped -- 1/4 cup
- Dill, chopped -- 1/4 cup
- Ground caraway -- 1 tablespoon
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the egg and 1 cup of the water. Stir the egg and water into the flour with a fork. Add more water as needed to form a soft dough. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 5 to 6 minutes. Cover and set aside for at least 20 minutes to rest.
- In another bowl, mix together the ingredients for the filling. Cook a small portion in a greased skillet to taste seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- Cut the rested dough into 2 portions. Roll out one portion of the dough to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 3-inch rounds of the dough using a cookie cutter or large glass. Roll each round out into a 5- or 6-inch round. Sprinkle each round with a little flour and set aside as you finish with the rest.
- Place about 1/4 cup of filling in the center of a round of dough. Working around the dumpling, bring an edge of the dough up over the filling, making pleats in the dough and bringing the edges together over the top of the filling. Pinch the top of the dumpling together to seal it and form a knob. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the dumplings to the water and cook at a low boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the dumplings to a serving dish with a slotted spoon. Season generously with cracked black pepper and serve hot.
- How to eat khinkali: Grab the top knob of a dumpling and bring it to your mouth. Take the first bite carefully. If the dumpling has been sealed properly, delicious, brothy juice will gush out. Eat the remainder of the dumpling except for the top knob. The knob is never eaten by Georgians. Instead, line them up on your plate to keep a tally of your appetite.
- Meat fillings: Beef and pork filling is most common in the lowlands and cities, whereas lamb is more common in the mountains. You can also try using ground chicken or turkey.
- Cheese khinkali: There are two local cheeses commonly used in cheese khinkali. Sulguni is a fresh cheese similar to mozzarella. Chanakh is a more pungent, brined cheese and can be replaced with feta. Grate or crumble about 2 pounds of the cheese of your choice and mash it together with about 4 tablespoons of softened butter and some chopped herbs to form a filling.