If you’re eating lobio in Georgia, chances are there will also be a side of mchadi – a simple cornbread roll that is traditionally served with the classic stewed bean dish. For those who want to recreate this at home, this mchadi recipe will do just that – all with some easy adjustments with ingredients that are more likely to be found in global supermarkets.
At its core, mchadi is a very simple, savoury cake made from just cornmeal and water and then fried. In Georgia, it is always served with lobio – a stewed bean dish – and often you will find it topped with fresh cheese. There is also a version of mchadi called chvishtari that is stuffed with cheese.
This recipe is a more traditional take – it’s not stuffed with cheese, however, I have taken the liberty of incorporating a bit of seasoning that is not typically what you would get in Georgia.
However, if you’re looking for the typical accompaniment for your Georgian supra, then you can’t go wrong with making a few mchadi to serve alongside your meal!
How to Make Georgian Mchadi
This recipe is incredibly simple and, as such, it’s honestly hard to make a proper recipe because hydration capacity can vary across cornmeal types and styles. This is why it’s important to go a bit slowly when mixing to ensure you get the right consistency.
First, start with a bit of cornmeal. In Georgia, you would typically use coarse, stone-ground white cornmeal.
If you’re in the USA, you can use stone-ground grits – this will be the same (just ensure they’re not instant or quick cooking). Elsewhere, I recommend using coarse ground polenta – that is what is most widely available in supermarkets near me, anyhow.
If you want your mchadi to look as “authentic” as possible, try to find white cornmeal. However, all I could easily find at the supermarket when developing this recipe was yellow polenta and it works perfectly. It just gives the final result a more golden hue.
Add your cornmeal to a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. This, also, isn’t super common in Georgia but I really think it’s a necessary step to this Georgian cornbread.
Where this mchadi recipe does seriously divert from tradition is when I recommend adding a bit of extra virgin olive oil to your cornmeal.
This makes the the end product a bit more moist and, again, adds flavour. If you can, somehow, get your hands on a flavourful Kakhetian oil, then use that in its place!
Now, you want to slowly stream in some cool water. It’s hard to quantify just how much water to add as each type of cornmeal will hydrate at different rates and it can even vary from brand to brand and locality to locality. So it’s important to go by some visual indicators.
Slowly stream in some water and mix together with a fork.
As soon as the cornmeal has a texture of wet sand that compacts well when pressed together in your hands and doesn’t easily break apart, then stop with the water.
You can then divide the mchadi into small patties that are about the size of your palm and pack them together in your hands. Now, you’re ready to cook them!
Move over to the stovetop and add enough neutral oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet – I like to use cast iron. Set the pan over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is shimmering, gently add the mchadi to the skillet. The mchadi are relatively delicate at this point but very forgiving – if anything falls apart, you can pack it back together with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Cook the mchadi on one side for about five minutes, or until it’s golden brown, and then flip and cook for another five minutes. Then, you can serve them immediately alongside a number of Georgian dishes – such as lobio, chakhokhbili, chashushuli and ojakhuri!
- 200g (1 1/2 cups) course cornmeal (see notes)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Add cornmeal to a large bowl, pour over the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix to combine with a fork.
- Slowly pour in up to 120ml (1/2 cup) of cool water, mixing with a fork. Once the cornmeal reaches the consistency of wet sand and it easily holds together when squeezed, stop adding water. Add more than 120ml (1/2 cup) slowly, if needed, to reach this consistency.
- Add a few tablespoons of neutral oil to a large skillet and set over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, divide the cornmeal mixture into 4 quadrants. One at a time, scoop a quarter of the cornmeal mixture and pack it into a patty in your hands. Immediately add it to the pan with the oil. Repeat with the three remaining cornmeal mixture.
- Cook the mchadi for about 5 minutes on one side, or until golden, before flipping and cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Traditionally, mchadi is made with stone-ground white cornmeal. However, this can be hard to find depending on your locality. I developed this recipe using course ground yellow polenta (not the instant variety), which is much easier to find in many supermarkets.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 201Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 18mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 4gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g
Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Making this Georgian cornbread is super easy and it’s perfect for a traditional accompaniment to a variety of Georgian dishes.
Are you looking for a mchadi recipe? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!