“How does the Georgian cuisine begin? You’ll never guess,” the colleague is teasing me.
He certainly knows, he’s from Tbilisi. He smiles, but does not hurry to disclose the key. The riddle solution I found in the folio of the famous gastronomic historian and the fellow of the Geographical Society of the USSR, V. Pokhlebkin.
“The Georgian cuisine is inconceivable without sauces. At the same time Georgian sauces fundamentally differ from European ones both in composition and in technology. For Georgian sauces of all kinds, only vegetable oil is used as a basis. Most often sour berry and fruit juices or puree from tkemali, turn, pomegranate, blackberry, barberry, sometimes tomatoes are used. Nuts sauces are also very popular, where crushed nuts are served as a base, which is further diluted either with broth, or just water or wine vinegar “
I am reading further: Georgian cuisine is very fond of vegetables, fruits, nuts and spices, especially fresh herbs: coriander, basil, tarragon, savory, parsley, dill, mint. The composition of favorite Georgian dry seasonings usually includes red pepper, chilli, coriander seeds, cinnamon, cardwood (Imeretian saffron), cloves.
The spices are creating this unique special palette of the Georgian kitchen.
Satsivi is a classic nut sauce. Aubergine is a favorite of Georgian cuisine.
In the recipe, I united the favorites of the national cuisine together, which resulted into a sweet couple : satsivi with aubergines.
There are so many variations of this dish. Today’s recipe was creatively tuned by my dad: he added fresh bell pepper to the sauce. It turned out incredibly tasty (and very nutritious, thanks to nuts and spices). Decoration and serving layout is mine.
Eggplant satsivi recipe.
- Eggplant – 250g or 1 medium size pc
- Walnuts – 125 g
- Onion (I like shallot) – 1-2 small pcs
- Garlic – 1-2 cloves
- Parsley – 2 -3 sprigs
- Coriander – 2-3 sprigs
- Bell pepper – 1/2 pc
- Khmeli – suneli – 1/2 tsp
- Imertian saffron – 1/4 tsp
- Ground black pepper
- Pomegranate juice – 1 -2 Tbsp
- White vinegar – 1 Tbsp
- Sunflower seeds oil – 2 -3 Tbsp
- Pomegranate seeds
- Rinse the eggplant, cut the stem and slit the eggplant in slices app 1 cm thick. Salt it and leave them for app 30 minutes to give a juice. This may be useful to eliminate the bitter taste, in particularly for the larger pieces.
- Let’s make satsivi sauce. Rinse and peel off onion and garlic and finely chop them. Rinse pepper, cut the stem and eliminate seeds, chop it finely. Rinse fresh herbs and chop them finely too. Crash walnuts (may be pre-soaked in water) in small pieces. You can use large knife or kitchen combine.Alternatively, place nuts, onion, garlic, herbs, spices and pepper into a blender and mix it finely together for app 1/2 -1 minute. Add juice and vinegar and mix well again. If the sauce is too sticky, add a couple of Tbsp of water, to make the sauce smooth.
- Rinse eggplant slices from the salt and juice.
- Heat the skillet, add oil and fry eggplant turning.
- Place eggplant on a paper to let the oil drain.
- Spread the sauce over eggplant slices. Top with herbs and pomegranate seeds.
PS My colleague, nevertheless, revealed his secret: the main characters of the Georgian cuisine are vegetables, fruits and spices, everything else is husk.
It is so true: in such beautiful climate and surrounded by a magical nature, the true hospitality of the ancient Caucasian people can not be at a cost of any life and happiness of others.