|Place of origin||Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Georgia|
|Main ingredients||Filling: spiced meat (beef, pork, or lamb), herbs, onions, and garlic. Cheese, potato, or mushroom fillings are alternatives to meat.|
Khinkali, also spelled as Hinkali (Georgian: ხინკალი listen (help·info)) is a Georgian dumpling, which originated in the Georgian mountain regions of Pshavi, Mtiuleti and Khevsureti. Varieties of khinkali spread from there across different parts of the Caucasus. The fillings of khinkali vary with the area. The original recipe, the so-called khevsuruli, consisted of only minced meat (lamb or beef and pork mixed), onions, chili pepper, salt, and cumin. However, the modern recipe used mostly especially in Georgian urban areas, the so-called kalakuri, uses herbs like parsley and cilantro (also called coriander). In Muslim-majority areas the use of beef and lamb is more prevalent. Mushrooms, potatoes, or cheese may be used in place of meat.
Khinkali is eaten plain or with ground black pepper. The meat filling is uncooked when khinkali is assembled, so when it is cooked, the juices of the meat are trapped inside the dumpling. To make khinkali juicier usually warm water or broth is added to the minced meat. Khinkali is typically consumed first by sucking the juices while taking the first bite, in order to prevent the dumpling from bursting. The top, where the pleats meet, is tough, and is not supposed to be eaten, but discarded to the plate so that those eating can count how many they have consumed. In Georgia, this top is called the kudi (Georgian: ქუდი, "hat") or k'uch'i (Georgian: კუჭი, "stomach").
There is a widespread etiquette in Georgia to use only one's bare hands while consuming these dumplings; the using of utensils, like a fork, is considered impolite.
- The World Cookbook for Students, Volume 1 by Jeanne Jacob, Michael Ashkenazi
- The Georgian Feast: The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia by Darra Goldstein
- Georgia: in the Mountains of Poetry by Peter Nasmyth, 2006
- Armenian food: fact, fiction & folklore by Irina Petrosian, David Underwood, 2006
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