Chashushuli Recipe (Ostri): Spicy Georgian Mushroom Stew

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by Maggie Turansky


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Georgia is a country that doesn’t shy away from a good soup or stew – and chashushuli is no exception. This spicy, tomato-based stew (also sometimes referred to as ostri) is incredibly hearty and flavourful and is one of the best dishes to whip up on a cold winter day for a bit of heat and warmth.

Though often made with beef, it is also often made with mushrooms for a vegetarian version that is suitable for the many fasting days on the Georgian Orthodox calendar. This mushroom chashushuli is completely vegan but can easily be adapted if you favour a more carnivorous route.

What is Chashushuli (Ostri)?

As mentioned already, chashushuli is a tomato-based stew that hails from the country of Georgia. It is frequently spiced with a delicious chili paste that hails from the western part of the country known as adjika and is flavoured with the brightness of a lot of cilantro.

Chashushuli is also referred to as ostri depending on where you are in the country or which restaurant menu you may have picked up. Whatever it is called, however, there is no denying that this is one of the most popular and well-known dishes in Georgian and you can find it absolutely everywhere.

By default, it’s typically made with beef, however, it is just as common and “authentic” to find mushroom ostri or chashushuli, as well.

Mushroom Chashushuli (Ostri)
Mushroom Chashushuli (Ostri)

Generally speaking, there are almost always vegetarian versions of popular dishes available in Georgia (such as mushroom ojakhuri or mushroom khinkali) which is why this is one of the best world cuisines for those who don’t eat meat — especially when you’re comparing other Eastern European cuisines.

Chashushuli is also generally made with fresh tomatoes, however, I do use canned tomatoes in this recipe in order to make it an accessible and delicious recipe to make all year round.

And, if you want a chicken dish that has similar flavours, make sure to check out my chakhokhbili recipe!

How to Make Chashushuli (Ostri)

Making chashushuli is a very easy process and the active cooking time is generally less than about 10-15 minutes, so it’s something that can easily be thrown together on a weeknight when you’re looking for something delicious, easy and healthy to make for dinner!

First things first, you’re going to need to brown your mushrooms. I call for basic button mushrooms in this recipe as they’re what are the most widely available in Georgia (and elsewhere), however, there is no reason that you can’t get creative with the kind of mushrooms you do use if you have access to them.

Vegetables you need for this recipe
Vegetables you need for this recipe

Remove the stems and cut your mushrooms into quarters — you don’t want them to be cut too small because you want them to have some texture and meatiness to them.

Heat a tablespoon or two of neutral oil over medium heat until shimmering in a large saucepan and then add your mushrooms into it.

You’re going to want to cook these mushrooms until they’ve reduced in size significantly and have begun to take on a lot of deep brown colour — this is going to be the foundational flavour of your chashushuli so you don’t want to scrimp on this step. Brown the mushrooms for about ten minutes.

Browned Mushrooms
Browned Mushrooms

After your mushrooms have reached the desired colour, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside for a bit. Turn the heat to medium-low and add a bit more oil to the pan if necessary.

Then add in your diced onion, minced chilli (you can remove the seeds from the chilli if you wish, but I like the heat so I leave them in) and finely chopped cilantro stems. Cooking the stems with the stew allows for an even more pronounced cilantro flavour that gives a brightness to the entire dish.

Cooking the onions & cilantro stems
Cooking the onions & cilantro stems

Cook the onion, chilli and stems until softened and lightly translucent but not browned, about five minutes or so.

Then, add in your garlic, dried savory (you can easily sub in thyme if you don’t have savory), tomato paste and adjika and cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, only about 30 seconds to one minute.

If you can’t find adjika (it is available online or can be made yourself), you can substitute some crushed chilli flakes along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. The flavour won’t be quite the same, but you will still get a good punch of heat.

Next, add your mushrooms back into the pot and stir to coat in the onion-adjika mixture.

Adding the mushrooms back to the pot
Adding the mushrooms back to the pot

Then, pour in your canned tomatoes and a bit of water. Bring up to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook, uncovered, for at least thirty minutes.

You want the sauce to reduce and thicken a bit and also for the tomatoes to be able to cook off their tinny flavour and release a pleasant sweetness.

Chashushuli boiling away
Stew bubbling away

Then turn off the heat and stir in your chopped coriander leaves. Taste to adjust for seasoning (I don’t say to add any salt as adjika can be incredibly salty, so you may need to add some now depending on your tastes) and then serve immediately. This dish can also be saved in the fridge for 3 or so days — it reheats beautifully.

Your chashushuli ready to serve!
Ready to serve!
Mushroom Chashushuli (Ostri)

Chashushuli (Ostri): Spicy Georgian Mushroom Stew

This spicy Georgian stew is incredibly hearty, flavourful and very easy to make. A staple on tables throughout Georgia, this vegetarian version with mushrooms is sure to become a favorite!
4.6 from 15 votes
Servings 4
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1 kg (2 lb) button mushrooms stems removed and cut into quarters
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 25 g (1 cup) fresh cilantro finely chopped, stems and leaves separated
  • 1 green chilli minced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp adjika (see note 1)
  • 4 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried savory (see note 2)
  • 2 (400g/14oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes crushed with hands
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions
 

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat a tablespoon of neutral oil until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’ve reduced in size and have browned significantly, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
    Browned Mushrooms
  • Add a bit more oil to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and add in onion, cilantro stems and chilli. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly translucent, about 5 minutes.
    Cooking the onions & cilantro stems
  • Add in garlic, adjika, tomato paste and savory and stir constantly until fragrant, only about 30 seconds. Return mushrooms to the pot and stir to coat in onion mixture.
    Adding the mushrooms back to the pot
  • Pour in tomatoes and 400ml (1.5 cups) water, add bay leaves, stir to combine and bring to a boil before reducing the heat to low and simmering, uncovered, until reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro leaves and serve immediately.
    Your chashushuli (ostri) is ready to serve!

Video

Notes

1. You can either make adjika yourself or purchase it online. Alternatively, you can substitute with one teaspoon of chilli flakes and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. This won’t provide the exact same flavour, but you will get the heat and saltiness that adjika paste gives.
2. If you can’t find savory, then substitute with thyme.

Nutrition

Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 496mg | Potassium: 1358mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 810IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 4mg

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!

Whether you call it chashushuli or ostri, there is no denying that this spicy Georgian stew is incredibly delicious and hearty. Easy to make and always a hit, you’re sure to fall in love with this Georgian favourite.

Have you tried this recipe? Do you have any questions? 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. I didn’t have time to order the adjika online so I found some at a local market, it’s a little different from the one you make. It has tomatoes, applesauce, paprika, carrot, sugar, garlic, salt, acetic acid, and hot peppers. Will it work in this recipe?

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t recommend using that adjika you found as the ingredients are quite far from traditional Georgian adjika and will throw the flavours off in this dish. Alternatively, I’d recommend using the adjika sub I have in the notes of the recipe and, if you can find it, maybe adding in a 1/4 teaspoon of fenugreek (it doesn’t have to be blue fenugreek). Though the latter is not necessary. I hope this helps!

      Reply
4.60 from 15 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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