Khinkali Recipe: Georgian Dumplings with Meat


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If you’re looking for a star player in a quintessential Georgian feast, then this khinkali recipe is sure to be the ticket.

Khinkali (Georgian dumplings) are one of the most popular and delicious food items that you can eat on any trip to Georgia. These steamy, flavourful soup dumplings are considered one of Georgia’s national dishes and are one of the “must-try” foods when you visit Georgia.

While these delicious dumplings are available all over the place in Georgia for very affordable prices, they can be harder to find once you return home.

Fortunately, making khinkali is one of the most fun ways that you can tap into Georgian culture and cuisine. Despite the fact that they may look complicated and involved to make, I assure you that the process is actually quite simple and even the most cautious of cooks can master the technique with some practice!

Khinkali: Georgian Dumplings with Meat
Khinkali: Georgian Dumplings with Meat

What Are Georgian Khinkali?

First off, we need to discuss what khinkali are before I go full force into how to make them.

To make things as simple as possible, your typical khinkali is very much like a jumbo-sized Chinese Xiaolongbao. The dough is thicker, the flavours are a bit different and the size is definitely a lot bigger, but they look remarkably similar.

These dumplings tend to be about the size of a small fist and are most traditionally filled with a mixture of ground beef and pork flavoured with onion, garlic, chilli and fresh cilantro (coriander). Once they are boiled, the juices in the meat form delicious soup that you suck out before eating the dumpling whole.

There are lots of variations of khinkali — in the mountains of Svaneti, for example, it is quite common for the dumplings to be filled with lamb. For vegetarians or Georgians who are fasting for religious reasons, it is also very common to find mushroom khinkali on a menu.

Other, less common variations of khinkali that you will see if you visit Georgia are cheese khinkali, potato khinkali, and khinkali stuffed with greens.

Ingredients for this khinkali recipe
Ingredients for this khinkali recipe

How to Make Khinkali

Khinkali are easy to make, but make sure that you have set aside enough time to allow for the dough to rest and that you’ve read through all of the instructions to ensure you’re set up for success!

Making the Khinkali Dough

First off, we’ll make the dough. This khinkali dough recipe is incredibly straightforward but is made simpler if you use a stand mixer, but you absolutely do not need to.

The dough can vary a bit from what is “traditionally” done in Georgia because I use hot water, but I’ve found that the end result is more supple, allows the flour to hydrate easier and makes the dough easier to work with.

First off, add your flour to a large bowl or to the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk in a little bit of salt and then make a well in the centre of the flour. Crack in a room-temperature egg and drizzle in a bit of neutral oil.

Beginning to make the khinkali dough
Beginning to make the khinkali dough

If you’re using a stand mixer, fit it with a dough hook attachment and mix just until the egg is incorporated in the flour and a very shaggy dough forms. Do the same with a wooden spoon if you’re making the dough by hand.

Once the egg is mixed in, turn the mixer to medium-low and very slowly add in some hot water (about 90°C/194°F – I turn the kettle on and let it come to a boil as I’m getting my ingredients together) in a steady stream.

Slowly add the water until the dough pulls away from the sides, gathers around the hook and there are no dry spots of flour remaining.

Mixing the egg and oil into the flour
Mixing the egg and oil into the flour

Keep the mixer on medium-low and knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes longer or until it is supple, pliable and elastic.

If you’re making the dough by hand, add the water a bit at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon, until the dough is just hydrated and no dry spots of flour remain.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand for about 10-15 minutes, or until you reach the same stage as mentioned with the stand mixer.

Kneading the dough
Kneading the dough

Return the dough to the bowl (or keep it in the bowl if you’re using a stand mixer) and cover it with plastic wrap or a damp towel.

Let the dough rest at room temperature for at least an hour before rolling out and forming. Don’t skip out on the resting period or you will find that the dough is incredibly hard to work with.

Finishing the dough
Finishing the dough

Making the Filling

The filling is incredibly straightforward and easy to make.

You can use the traditional mixture of beef and pork, use all beef or all pork, or even sub in a plant-based mince (I’ve tried it with Beyond Mince with great success) if you’d like.

Adding the filling ingredients to a bowl
Adding the filling ingredients to a bowl

Add the minced meat to a large mixing bowl. To the meat, add a finely chopped yellow onion, a couple of cloves of garlic grated with a rasp-style grater (or very finely minced), and a lot of fresh chopped cilantro.

Add some crushed chili flakes and then season the filling liberally with salt and pepper. If you want to know if you’ve seasoned adequately, you can cook a small bit of the filling in a frying pan to see if you need more salt or pepper.

Mixing the meat filling
Mixing the meat filling

Forming the Khinkali

Now comes the fun part — actually forming your khinkali! This may look like the most daunting step in this khinkali recipe, but I assure you that it looks harder than it actually is.

First off, you need to roll out your dough. Divide your dough into quarters and work with one quarter at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered with plastic or a damp tea towel.

Rolling out the dough
Rolling out the dough

Very lightly flour a clean work surface – make sure not to use too much flour as this will make it difficult to seal the dumplings when the time comes. Roll out a quarter of your dough using a rolling pin until it is about 1mm thick.

Then, punch out as many rounds as you can from the dough using a 10cm (4-inch) circular cutter (or a drinking glass). Gather the scraps and cover them – they can be re-rolled and punched out again, but make sure to rest the dough for at least 10 minutes.

Punching out dough circles
Punching out dough circles

Working one dough round at a time, very gently stretch the round until it is paper thin and you can see some light passing through it.

Place the round on your work surface and add a bit of filling in the centre of the dough.

Adding the filling to the dough
Adding the filling to the dough

Using both hands, pick up one side of the dough, holding it about a centimetre apart in between your thumb and forefinger.

Take the dough in your left hand and fold it over and add it to the dough in your right hand, pinching to seal, creating one fold in your khinkali.

Forming the khinkali
Forming the khinkali

Continue this motion until you’ve folded and pinched the entire round of dough. Twist the top of the khinkali to seal it completely.

If you want a clean look, you can use scissors to snip the very tip of the twisted top from the formed dumpling.

Repeat on the remaining khinkali until you have no dough or filling remaining.

Cutting the top of the khinkali
Cutting the top of the khinkali

How to Cook Khinkali

Once you’ve formed all of your dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Gently lower the khinkali into the water and boil for around 7 minutes.

Remove the khinkali with a slotted spoon directly onto your serving plate. Traditionally, khinkali are topped with an ample amount of black pepper.

Khinkali ready to boil
Khinkali ready to boil

To eat the khinkali, hold the dumpling from the twisted top and make a small bit in the bottom of the dumpling. Suck out the juices and then eat the rest of the khinkali, save for the doughy top (often, it isn’t cooked all the way through).

Khinkali make a great addition to a Georgian feast, including khachapuri, pkhali, lobio, ajapsandali and more!

Khinkali: Georgian Dumplings with Meat

Khinkali: Georgian Dumplings with Meat

Yield: 24 Dumplings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

These Georgian soup dumplings are one of the country's most famous dishes. Flavourful and surprisingly fun and easy to make, they are perfect for those wanting to create a Georgian feast at home.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 250g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 4g (1/2 teaspoon) salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) sunflower oil (see note 1)
  • 85ml (1/3 cup) hot water (about 90°C/194°F)

Filling

  • 150g (5oz) minced pork (see note 2)
  • 150g (5oz) minced beef (see note 2)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or very finely minced
  • 20g (1/4 cup) cilantro, leaves and tender stems, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together the flour and the salt. Make a well in the flour and add the egg and the oil. If using a stand mixer, fit it with the dough hook attachment and mix on low until a shaggy dough forms - about 2-3 minutes. If making the dough by hand, mix with a wooden spoon until you have a dry, shaggy dough.
  2. If using a stand mixer, increase the speed to medium-low and slowly stream in the water until the dough pulls away from the sides, gathers around the hook and there are no dry spots of flour remaining. You may not need to add all 85ml of water, so make sure to work very slowly (see note 3). If making the dough by hand, add the water a little at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon, until a shaggy dough forms but there are no dry spots of flour. You may not need to use all of the water (see note 3).
  3. If using a stand mixer, knead the dough on medium-low for about 5-10 minutes or until it is supple, pliable and elastic. It should not be sticky. If making the dough by hand, turn the dough out onto a clean countertop. Knead for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough is supple, pliable and elastic.
  4. Return the dough to the bowl, cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap, then allow to rest at room temperature for at least one hour (see note 4).
  5. While the dough is resting, make the filling. In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef, onion, garlic, cilantro and chili flakes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  6. Once the dough has rested, divide it into quarters keeping 3/4 of the dough covered tightly while working with each section. Very lightly dust a clean work surface with flour (see note 5) and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about 1mm thick.
  7. Using a 10cm (4-inch) circular cutter, punch out as many rounds as you can get from the dough. Gather the scraps and cover - they can be re-rolled and punched out again, but rest the dough for at least 10 minutes.
  8. Working one dough round at a time, very gently stretch the round until it is paper thin and you can see some light passing through it. Place the round on your work surface and add about 15g worth of (1/2oz) filling in the centre of the dough.
  9. Lift one side of the dough with both hands, holding between your thumb and forefinger about 1 centimetre apart. Fold the dough in your non-dominant hand to your dominant hand, pinch to seal. Repeat until there is no more dough to fold. Twist the top of the dumpling to completely seal. If desired, use scissors to snip the very tip of the twisted top from the dumpling. Set aside and repeat with remaining dough and filling (see note 6).
  10. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Gently add your khinkali and boil for 7 minutes, until completely cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon. Top with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Sunflower oil is the traditional neutral oil used in Georgia, however, use any kind of neutral cooking oil you have on hand.
  2. For a vegetarian version, I have had success using 300g of Beyond Mince. The end result will not be as juicy as a traditional meat khinkali, but the flavours are spot on.
  3. Depending on the brand of flour, the humidity level of the day and an infinite number of other factors, you could need more or less water than 85ml (1/3 cup). If you have overhydrated your dough (you will know this if it is very sticky and difficult to knead), simply add more flour a tablespoon at a time until it becomes more workable.
  4. You can make the dough up to 3 days in advance. Cover the dough tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Allow it to come to room temperature before rolling and forming into khinkali.
  5. Be careful using too much flour as any excess will make the dumplings difficult to seal.
  6. To Freeze: After step 9, arrange the khinkali on a parchment-lined baking sheet and transfer to the freezer, uncovered, until frozen solid (at least 8 hours). Remove from the baking sheet and transfer the dumplings to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 89Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 103mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 5g

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

And that’s how you make Georgian khinkali! These dumplings are a fun activity and are super delicious.

Are you wondering how to make Georgian dumplings? Have any questions about this recipe? 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

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