What Is Khinkali?

While most cultures have dumplings or buns, Georgia’s khinkali dumplings are particularly tasty and attractive. Typically, the savory soft pockets of food are filled with cheesy mixtures or spicy meats. They’re shaped like meringue knobs, with delicate twists that form hand-sized dumplings, similar to Polish pierogi or Asian wontons.

The most common central filling in Khinkali is lamb. In khinkali, you can use beef, pork, or vegetables. Boiling or steaming the dumplings produces soft, hot, flavorful bites. Though the dumplings could be filled with fruit or other sweet fillings if desired, the traditional ingredients for khinkali are savory meats and vegetables.

When making these dumplings, you can use a variety of spices. In some recipes, red pepper is a popular spice. Onions are frequently used as well. Caraway seeds, curry, and garlic are examples of other spices. To provide a measured amount of sweetness and texture, some cooks may include a small fruit element, such as raisins, without basing the entire dumpling on fruit.

When eating khinkali, a certain etiquette is generally observed. The treats’ pointed tops, known as kudi or “belly buttons,” are generally very hard and are not meant to be eaten. Because the filling is usually very runny and juicy, diners are encouraged to hold the pointed end and take small bites from the rounded side. To avoid dribbling the savory broth down one’s chin, the juicy broth should be quietly sucked out while the dumpling is still steaming!

This is how most people who eat khinkali on a regular basis eat it. Consuming the dumplings on their bottoms and sucking out their juice may also prevent the foods from exploding, which can happen if they’re eaten any other way. Another popular way to enjoy food pockets is to sprinkle pepper on top of them.

Although dipping sauces are optional, they are often used. The dumplings’ inner broth keeps them juicy and moist without the need for a sauce. Keeping track of the number of dumplings consumed is another traditional practice when eating khinkali. The discarded stems are left on the plate to collect and serve as evidence of how many khinkali have been consumed. If you want to make a sauce, a yogurt-based cream or salad dressing will usually suffice.