Kalakuri Khinkali Recipe (Georgian Dumplings)

Given that we have been living in Tbilisi for over a year now (time flies!), I figured it's high time I perfect some of my Georgian recipes to share with you. Georgian food is - well, how can I put this mildly? AMAZING. It's dense, loaded with character, and has just the right amount of Slavic, Middle Eastern, and Caucasus influence, making it one of the world's most diverse and unique cuisines. I'm not even kidding - I put Georgian food right next to old school Mexican food slopped piping hot on a plate in a flickered light taqueria tucked away in Coyoacán CDMX, and nobody can change my mind. Anyway, you're here for the food, right? This khinkali recipe is just what you need.

What is khinkali?

So, I guess you're curious about khinkali. Khinkali are Georgian dumplings filled with meat and sometimes potatoes, mushrooms, or cheese. In Tbilisi and mountain villages alike, you'll see these meaty pockets served piping hot everywhere. Today, we are going to be making kalakuri khinkali, which is meat and herb loaded khinkali that is simply unforgettable.

Where does khinkali come from?

Khinkali originated in the Mtiuleti, Pshavi, and Khevsureti regions of Georgia which sprawl the slopes of the Caucasus. In the winter, temps in these areas regularly sit around -15 c / 5 f and are virtually cut off from the rest of the nation by endless snowfall. Now, tell me, what's more comforting in freezing weather rendering you invisible to the rest of the world than palm-sized dumplings packed with meat, juices, and herbs? History says that the mountain regions in Georgia got the idea for khinkali from the Mongols as they made their way west over the Silk Road - which the capital, Tbilisi, sits right on top of. No wonder khinkali is one of Georgia's national dishes and is the first thing tourists are eager to try when they visit.

Whether you have visited Georgia or are just looking for a little oomph in your kitchen - this is the recipe for you. I took a cooking class from an old Georgian couple in Dzveli Tbilisi in January and have tweaked it at least a dozen times since to be sure I am bringing you the most practical, delicious khinkali while staying in line with tradition. So, let's get to it.

Here's what you'll need for the dough:

4 c flour, 1 3/4 c warm water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 egg