Georgian Adjika Recipe: Abkhazian & Megrelian Chilli Paste

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by Maggie Turansky

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Chilli pastes are having a bit of a moment currently with everything from harissa to gochujang to sambal oelek being commonplace in recipes the world over these days. Adding a bit of heat and flavour to otherwise mundane foods, there is one chilli paste that has yet to jump to international fame and fortune among the rest; and that is Georgian adjika.

Because it can be hard to find (especially more traditional versions), I have developed an easy adjika recipe that can be made in a flash and used immediately in any recipe.

Adjika is spicy and incredibly flavourful and I am certain it is only a matter of time before it gains more international recognition. Whether you’re looking to add it to a traditional Georgian recipe, use it as a rub for chicken or lamb or simply spread it on a piece of bread for a snack, adjika is the perfect addition to any refrigerator and absolutely delicious to have on hand.

What is Adjika?

Before I jump into this recipe, let’s first discuss for a minute exactly what adjika is. Adjika — sometimes spelt “ajika” and transliterated from the Georgian აჯიკა — can be one of the most misunderstood aspects of Georgian cuisine because of its popularity throughout Eastern Europe, especially in countries the comprised the former USSR.

Adjika, the traditional Megrelian and Abkhazian versions at least, is a paste made with hot chillies, sweet peppers, garlic, herbs and spices. The paste is then used in countless recipes (such as chakhokhbili, chashushuli or in sauces like satsebeli) or as a rub to season meats.

Georgian Adjika
Georgian Adjika Paste

One of the most iconic uses for adjika is for a New Year’s Eve supra when a suckling pig is rubbed with the chilli paste and then roasted in a tone, a stone oven similar to a tandoor that is typically used for baking bread in Georgia.

Adjika hails from the western Samegrelo region of Georgia and Abkhazia and features heavily in the dishes in these areas. You will see two kinds of the chilli paste in Georgia, red adjika and green adjika. Red adjika uses red peppers and chillies as the base and the green, unsurprisingly, uses green chillies and peppers.

Where adjika can be misunderstood is how it has been interpreted in the rest of Eastern Europe. Adjika sauce is incredibly popular in places like Russia and Ukraine and even in the Baltic countries, however, it is vastly different from what you will find in Georgia.

This adjika sauce is typically a tomato-based sauce (Megrelian and Abkhazian adjika do not use tomatoes) that incorporates things like carrots as well. There is a slight amount of heat from chillies, however, this sauce is more closely related to something like a Balkan ajvar rather than a chilli paste.

The recipe outlined below is far more traditional, so if you’re looking for a Russian style recipe, you should likely look elsewhere!

The key ingredients for Georgian Adjika
The key ingredients for Georgian Adjika

How to Make Georgian Adjika

This adjika recipe is incredibly easy and can come together really quickly, however, it is the easiest to make if you have a food processor. If you don’t have one, you can make the chilli paste in a mortar and pestle or you can do as the Georgians do and put everything through a meat grinder! It will be quickest in a food processor, however.

So without further ado, take the time to remove the seeds and ribs from some red peppers and very roughly chop them.

Then, if you wish, remove the ribs and seeds from some hot red chillies. Depending on the heat level of the chillies and how spicy you want your adjika, you can remove the ribs and seeds from some, all or none of the chillies. Roughly chop these as well.

Chopping the peppers, chillies and garlic
Chopping the peppers, chillies and garlic

Then, roughly chop a few cloves of garlic. Add peppers, chillies and garlic to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until everything is very finely chopped and homogenous.

Next, add a good amount of fresh purple basil (if you can’t find purple basil, Thai basil is a good substitute. I wouldn’t recommend using Genovese basil as the flavour is a bit too sweet to work well in adjika), fresh parsley and a generous amount of fresh cilantro.

Adding the herbs to the food processor
Adding the herbs to the food processor

Then add in about a tablespoon of salt. This may seem like a lot of salt but Georgian adjika is traditionally incredibly salty as this helps extend the shelf life almost indefinitely. When you use the adjika in recipes, I highly recommend really cutting back on any additional salt you would normally add as a result of this.

Pulse this all to combine again just until the herbs are finely chopped and well incorporated into the chilli and pepper mixture.

Now, it’s time to add your spices. This recipe calls for what is essentially the holy trinity of Georgian spices: blue fenugreek, ground marigold powder (referred to as Georgian saffron in Georgia), and ground coriander seed. Blitz these in the food processor just to combine.

Adding the spices to your adjika paste
Adding the spices to your adjika paste

Finally, with the machine running, slowly drizzle in a couple of tablespoons of sunflower oil. Process this until it is well emulsified. Then, turn off the machine and transfer the adjika to a fine mesh sieve to drain off any extra moisture and to ensure that the adjika has a thick, paste-like consistency.

And that’s it! Now, you can transfer your adjika to an airtight container and refrigerate it. It will last indefinitely with the heat and salt level in it, but do use your better judgement if it’s been hanging out in the refrigerator for months on end. You also can use it right away in any recipe that you think will benefit!

Georgian Adjika

Georgian Adjika Paste

This Georgian chilli paste hails from Abkhazia and the Samegrelo region of Western Georgia and is commonly used in sauces or as a rub for meats. Spicy and unique, it is easy to make and incredibly flavourful
4.8 from 12 votes
Servings 20
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 2 red bell peppers roughly chopped seeds and ribs removed
  • 50 g ( cup) red chilies such as Fresno or cayenne, roughly chopped & some or all of seeds and ribs removed, if desired
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
  • 15 g (1 cup) fresh cilantro
  • 10 g (¼ cup) purple basil
  • 10 g (¼ cup) flat-leaf parsley
  • 10 g ( tsp) salt
  • 2 tsp blue fenugreek
  • 1 tsp ground marigold
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil


  • In the bowl of a food processor, add the red peppers, red chillies and garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until the contents are very finely chopped.
    Chopping the peppers, chilies and garlic
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the cilantro, basil, parsley and salt. Pulse again until the herbs are finely chopped and everything is well incorporated
    Adding the herbs to the food processor
  • Scrape the bowl once more and add the fenugreek, marigold and coriander. Pulse again just to combine. Then, with the machine running, slowly stream in the oil until it is well emulsified.
    Adding the spices to your adjika paste
  • Transfer the adjika to a fine mesh sieve and drain any excess liquid away until it has the consistency of a thick paste. Taste to adjust for seasoning – it should be very salty as this is what preserves it for a long time. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or use right away
    Georgian Adjika



Calories: 20kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 516IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

Tried this recipe or have questions?Click here to leave a comment!

Making the perfect, traditional Georgian adjika is not a difficult undertaking and the results are seriously flavourful.

Are you looking for the perfect Megrelian or Abkhazian adjika recipe? Have any questions about how to make adjika? Let me know in the comments!

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Maggie is the creator behind No Frills Kitchen. She is a world traveller, home cook and recipe developer who loves to experiment with new cuisines and techniques at every chance she gets. No stranger to improvising and making do with the equipment and ingredients she has available, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Read More


  1. I can’t even tell you how happy I am, to have found your page. For years I’ve been trying to find this recipe but have only ever been able to find the sauce version likened to the name.
    I remember this one from my German aunt who got the recipe when she was studying in Moscow on a scholarship during the former Soviet times. She travelled from there to many countries in the East and made loads of friends. She introduced adjika to my grandmother and my mother but my mum can’t find the recipe any more. I loved my aunt’s adjika in spreadible cheese and with fresh dill on our German sourdough bread – delicious! I have to make it again and try it with meat. Thank you so much for your adjika recipe and the explanation around the variants of it.

    • I’m so happy you liked this recipe and that it was what you’ve been looking for! Traditional adjika really is the best! 🙂

  2. Oh, and I just made cubed steak fried on a pen with dried Adjika and it was the most delicious steak I’ve ever head. It just goes so well (even besides Georgian dishes) with so many things, literally any meat, rice, quinoa, cumber, pasta, tofu, fish, veggies… you name it.

4.84 from 12 votes (12 ratings without comment)

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