Pkhali, Traditional Georgian Dishes

Pkhali, Traditional Georgian Dishes

Seasoned, colorful balls of vegetables known as pkhali are an integral part of any Georgian feast. No holiday gathering or wedding celebration would be complete without this incredibly tasty dish, which is also considered a staple when welcoming honored guests to your home.

A symbol of Georgian cuisine, pkhali can be made from a variety of ingredients including spinach, beets, red beans, eggplant and cauliflower. Light yet satisfying, this dish is suitable for a vegetarian diet yet is also a great accompaniment to a meat-based main course. The satiety of pkhali comes from the addition of ground walnuts, while its delicate texture is created from well-cooked, seasoned vegetables.

The classic pkhali recipe is simple. A main vegetable of the chef’s choice is crushed and boiled until soft. Meanwhile chopped nuts and a garlic dressing from grated garlic are prepared. Once the vegetables are cooked, all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. (If desired, some chopped herbs, lemon juice and wine vinegar may be added at this time). The resulting mass is salted to taste and formed into medium-sized balls, ovals or another shape of your choice.

In supermarkets you are likely to find this Georgian dish in its original shapeless form, while in restaurants it is commonly offered as assorted pkhali and served as colorful balls made from several different vegetables. The top of each portion is typically garnished with pomegranate seeds.

Be sure to enjoy plenty of pkhali on your next visit to Georgia!