One of my absolute favourite things about Georgian food is its heavy reliance on vegetables and nuts to make absolutely delicious dishes, and this badrijani nigvzit recipe is just one example. These delicious Georgian eggplant rolls filled with a garlicky walnut paste are one of my absolute favourite Georgian dishes and something that I’ve been keen on recreating ever since I first ate them on my first trip to Georgia.
Not only do badrijani nigvzit combine a number of classic Georgian flavours and techniques, but they are also completely vegan and make for an excellent appetizer that everyone can enjoy! Full of unique flavours, these eggplant and walnut rolls are sure to be a hit with whomever they’re served to!
They’re also really easy to make and require only a handful of ingredients. So if you want to learn how to make an authentic and delicious badrijani nigvzit recipe, you’ve come to the right place! Here, I’ll go through all the steps and techniques that you need to know (there aren’t that many!) in order to recreate this iconic Georgian dish at home.
What is Badrijani Nigvzit?
Before I get into this great badrijani nigvzit recipe, we need to discuss what it actually is. Literally translated, badrijani nigvzit simply means eggplant with walnuts and, at its heart, that is what this dish is. However, there is a lot more to it.
While these Georgian eggplant rolls are not hard to make, they incorporate a number of delicious Georgian flavours and spices that are found in a number of dishes in throughout the country.
As walnuts play a major role in countless different foods in Georgia from lobio to pkhali to satsivi to churchkhela, you cannot go wrong with adding another dish into the repertoire where walnuts feature so heavily.
In badrijani nigvzit, walnuts are ground into a fine meal and then combined with garlic, a number of spices and a touch of vinegar for a burst of pleasant acidity. A splash of water is added to the mixture in order to thin out the paste and bring it to a spreadable consistency.
The Georgian walnut paste is then spread on thinly sliced pieces of fried eggplant, rolled into a coil and garnished with gem-like pomegranate seeds. The result is both delicious and beautiful.
How to Make Badrijani Nigvzit
Now it’s time to discuss all that goes into making these delicious Georgian eggplant walnut rolls. Like the vast majority of Georgian cooking, the process is not difficult or too involved, however, there are a few steps that do need to be followed in order to get the best results. This recipe will feed around 6 people as an appetizer or side dish, however, it can easily be halved or increased based on how many people you’re trying to feed.
First off is the eggplants. I recommend using medium-sized Italian-style eggplants for this as that is the kind that is widely available in Georgia. They also tend to have a fairly uniform size. Globe eggplants will work fine, as well, however, I would recommend finding eggplants that are as consistent in size as possible just to make rolling up a bit easier.
The first step in this eggplant with walnuts recipe is to thinly slice and salt the eggplants. To do this, you need to cut off the top of the eggplant and slice it lengthwise very thinly – we’re looking for about 5mm (or 1/4 inch) thick slices. Make sure you have a very sharp knife to do this as that will make it infinitely easier! If you have one, using a mandoline is the best way to do this to ensure even slices.
Once you’ve sliced your eggplants, lay them on a baking sheet and sprinkle them generously with salt and then set aside for at least 30 minutes. Salting the eggplants does two things – one (the most important factor, in my opinion), is that it draws out a lot of moisture and ensures that your badrijani nigvzit won’t be waterlogged and unpleasant.
And two, salting also allegedly drives out some bitterness from the eggplants. I’m not actually sure if there is much merit to this claim these days as hyper-bitterness has been all but eliminated from eggplants due to selective breeding. This aside, however, you do need to salt the eggplants to remove the moisture and maybe the bitterness.
While your eggplants are dry-brining, make the walnut filling. First, you need to grind your walnuts very finely so that they have the consistency of wet sand. You can do this either in a food processor (the fastest way) or in a mortar and pestle.
If you don’t have either of these, you can even put the walnuts into a bag and bash it with a pan or a rolling pin, though this method will take the longest to reach the desired consistency. In any case, I highly recommend investing in a marble or granite mortar and pestle as it can be an invaluable asset to any kitchen.
Once your walnuts have been ground, transfer them to a bowl and grate in some garlic (yes, raw garlic. It features heavily in Georgian cuisine!) and add some blue fenugreek, ground coriander seed and cayenne pepper.
Add a splash of white wine vinegar and, a little at a time, stream in a bit of water. Stir, adding water where necessary to loosen the paste – it should be thick but easily spreadable, like the consistency of hummus. Taste and adjust for seasoning, adding salt and pepper where you think necessary.
Moving to the stovetop, add enough oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat until it’s shimmering. Pat your eggplant slices dry and carefully add them to the skillet — it’s likely that you will need to work in batches here.
Fry them for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until they are lightly golden brown and they have softened. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined baking sheet (to soak up excess oil) and allow to cool for a bit.
Once your eggplants have been cooked, it’s time to assemble your badrijani nigvzit! This is super duper easy and it’s arguably the most fun part of the whole process (aside from eating them, of course!).
Working one at a time, lay a slice of cooked eggplant on a work surface. Take a large spoonful of walnut paste – about a tablespoon’s worth- and evenly spread it across the entirety of the eggplant slice. Then, carefully roll it up in a coil and set aside. Repeat this process with the remaining eggplant slices and walnut filling.
You can serve the badrijani nigvzit immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days in advance. They are typically eaten at room temperature. Before serving, garnish with pomegranate seeds in order to provide them with a fruity and lightly acidic punch that complements them so incredibly well.
- 2 Medium Eggplants (Italian or globe)
- 200 grams (2 cups) walnut halves
- 4 cloves garlic
- 15ml (1 tablespoon) white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon blue fenugreek
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 120ml (1/2 cup) water
- Salt & pepper
- Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
- Remove the tops from each eggplant and slice lengthwise into 5mm (1/4 inch) thick slices. Arrange on a baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt. Set aside for about 30 minutes to allow the salt to pull the moisture from the eggplants.
- Meanwhile, finely grind walnuts and add to a bowl. Grate in garlic. Add vinegar, fenugreek, coriander and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Add 60ml of water and stir, adding more water (up to 120ml) if needed to loosen consistency -- you're looking for something similar to hummus.
- Pat eggplant slices dry. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat a few tablespoons of oil until shimmering and add eggplant slices -- it's likely that you will need to work in batches. Fry eggplants until softened and lightly golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and allow to cool.
- Working one at a time, spread about a tablespoon of walnut paste evenly onto each eggplant slice. Roll up into a coil and repeat with the remaining eggplant slices.
- Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 27mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g
Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This recipe for Georgian stuffed eggplant rolls is sure to be a crowd-pleaser and it is one of the most delicious dishes in the country’s lexicon. Badrijani nigvzit looks impressive, but it is easy to make and absolutely delicious and it is sure to delight your vegan friends along with the strictest of carnivores.
Have you tried this badrijani nigvzit recipe? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!