Ajapsandali Recipe: How to Make Georgian Eggplant Stew

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by Maggie Turansky


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One of my absolute favourite vegetarian Georgian dishes is ajapsandali, which is a stew of eggplants and other vegetables that is incredibly flavourful!

It astonishes me how delicious Georgians have been able to make their vegetables, but it also just has to do with how fantastic the local produce is in this beautiful country.

Georgian ajapsandali is refreshingly easy to make and the flavour really pays dividends. If you’re interested in trying your hand at this ajapsandali recipe, you are sure to be surprised by how simple and delicious this incredible Georgian eggplant stew is and it is certain to become a favourite way to eat your veggies for years to come.

Delicious homemade ajapsandali!
Delicious homemade ajapsandali!

How to Make Georgian Ajapsandali

At its core, ajapsandali is essentially a Georgian ratatouille as it’s just a hodgepodge of vegetables stewed together for a period of time, breaking them down and releasing their flavours.

Where ajapsandali differs from something like French ratatouille or Spanish pisto is that it is typically served cold at least one day after it is cooked – somewhat similar to Sicilian caponata!

All the vegetables needed for recipe!
All the vegetables needed for recipe!

The first step in making ajapsandali is to heat about a tablespoon of a neutral vegetable oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.

Add a diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and softened, about five minutes.

After your onion is sufficiently sauteed, it’s time to add the tomato paste. This is an essential aspect of the flavour profile of ajapsandali. Stir in the tomato paste so it’s evenly combined with the onion and it is fragrant.

Cook for about 1-2 minutes — this is to further deepen the tomatoey flavour and add a touch of acidity to the ajapsandali. You don’t want to be stingy with the tomato paste!

Next, add your diced eggplants — cut the eggplants into small cubes about 2 centimetres in diameter — and a good amount of salt in order both to season your ajapsandali and to encourage the eggplants to release their moisture. Eggplants contain a lot of water and you’re going to need that to cook out to get the cohesive, stew-like texture of the finished ajapsandali.

Adding eggplants to the cooked onion in this ajapsandali recipe
Adding eggplants to the cooked onion

Stir the eggplants to combine with the onion mixture, cover your pot and let cook until the eggplants have released quite a bit of liquid and they have reduced in size, about five to ten minutes. Uncover and stir every so often during this process, but make sure to put the lid back on right away so you don’t lose any of the moisture released by the eggplants.

Next, add your diced peppers, diced chilli and diced tomato (Georgians will typically encourage you to peel the tomato — I find this to be more hassle than it’s worth, but feel free to).

Stir to combine, cover the pot again and allow to cook down for about ten to twenty minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure to taste for seasoning.

It may be necessary to add a bit of water every so often to loosen your ajapsandali and to make sure it isn’t too thick. Only add about 50-100 millilitres at a time to avoid thinning out your stew too much — it should be thick, not soupy.

Adding in the peppers and chilli to this Georigan eggplant stew
Adding in the peppers and chilli

Continue cooking the ajapsandali until the eggplants and tomato have completely cooked down and the peppers are quite soft — the mixture should be thick and cohesive without a lot of discernable pieces. When you have reached this stage, it’s time to add your garlic and half of your cilantro.

Georgians are bold with their garlic flavour and aren’t afraid to add a lot of if. To mellow the garlicky-ness slightly, stir in your minced garlic and cilantro and cook for a further five minutes or so.

Add in the garlic and cilantro to this ajapsandali recipe
Add in the garlic and cilantro

Then turn off the heat and stir in the remaining half of your cilantro, making sure to taste one last time for seasoning and adjusting with salt and pepper until your desired outcome is reached.

Your ajapsandali is cooked!
Your ajapsandali is cooked!

Allow your ajapsandali to cool slightly before transferring to an airtight container and refrigerating for at least 4 hours and, preferably, overnight. This allows the flavours to meld and everything to taste better.

While you certainly can eat it hot and fresh from the stove, this isn’t traditional in Georgia. It is typically served as a side to dishes like khinkali, lobio or Adjaruli khachapuri.

Delicious homemade ajapsandali!

Ajapsandali: Georgian Eggplant Stew

This delicious stewed eggplant dish is a staple on most Georgian tables. Typically served cold the day after preparation, it packs a lot of flavour in just a few simple ingredients.
4.6 from 49 votes
Servings 4
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 medium eggplants cut into 2cm (1in) cubes
  • 3 red bell peppers diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 green or red chilli minced and seeds removed, if desired
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 25 g (1 cup) fresh cilantro finely chopped, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic minced

Instructions
 

  • Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir until well-combined and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add eggplant and about ½ tsp of salt to encourage moisture release. Stir to combine and cover, cooking for about 5 minutes, or until the eggplants release a fair amount of moisture and decrease in size.
    Adding eggplants to the cooked onion in this ajapsandali recipe
  • Add peppers, chilli and tomato, stir to combine, cover and simmer, adding a bit of water if necessary to thin out the stew. Cook for about 10-20 minutes until eggplants are completely cooked through and the mixture is homogenous and flavourful.
    Adding in the peppers and chilli to this Georigan eggplant stew
  • Add garlic and half of the cilantro, stir to combine and cook for about 2-3 more minutes. Turn off heat and add remaining cilantro.
    Add in the garlic and cilantro to this ajapsandali recipe
  • Allow to cool slightly before transferring to an airtight container and refrigerating for a few hours, preferably overnight. Serve cold.
    Your ajapsandali is cooked!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 47mg | Potassium: 975mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 3735IU | Vitamin C: 157mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg

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!

This Georgian eggplant stew is a deliciously simple dish to make that is sure to transport you to this beautiful nation in the Caucasus.

Are you looking for an ajapsandali recipe? Have you made it before? 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

Comments

  1. This was super tasty! I will definitely save this recipe and make it again. I was very pleased with the intense savory-ness, this gives any meat dish a run for its money. The only change I made was using Asian eggplants in lieu of typical eggplants. I think Asian eggplant is less bitter and more eggplanty in flavor.

    Reply
  2. This looks lovely and I will try. Nice with Kasha or Bulgar I would imagine. I came across this youtube video, about a russian family on holiday who ake this – but they barbecue all the veggies first, which seemed an interesting variant.

    Reply
  3. Have this in the fridge cooling right now while I cook up your Shkmeruli recipe! One question: Mine doesn’t have that nice rich dark color that yours does. Should I try adding more tomato paste next time? Or do you have another recommendation?

    Reply
    • Hi Daniel, I think that the colour really depends on the ingredients – some tomatoes and peppers just happen to be more red than others. So long as it tastes good, I’m not sue how much the colour matters 🙂 Hope your Georgian meal turned out well and I’m happy you’ve used my recipes!!

      Reply
  4. I made this yesterday, and it turned out fantastic – just like in Georgia. 🙂 The only thing I added was vegetable broth for some umami flavour, otherwise it lacks a little bit of oomph. I also made a vegan version of your Imeruli Khachapuri, and it paired perfectly! Thank you for these wonderful recipes!

    Reply
    • That’s so great to hear, Lilith! I like your addition of veg broth rather than water — I think I will do that from now on, as well. Georgian’s don’t typically use stock in their recipes but it’s a swap I’ve made in a number of other recipes and it always gives better results. Thanks again for your kind words and glad you enjoyed!

      Reply
  5. Hi, I’m planning to make this but we don’t really like eggplant. Do you think it’s fine to use zucchini instead? Or any other replacement? I’m sorry if you find this offensive

    Reply
4.62 from 49 votes (49 ratings without comment)

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