Dumplings are great. Enormous Georgian dumplings stuffed with a savoury, soupy, meaty filling are a hundred times better. Now let me be clear – when I say Georgia, I mean the country. Not the state. These big boys resemble xiaolongbao, likely because the Mongols brought dumplings with them while they crossed from China to the West through – you guessed it – Georgia. This was back in the 13th Century. Since then Georgians, in their infinite wisdom, decided to keep the dumpling formula, but made them large. Really large. And they gave them a cool name too: Khinkali.
The dumplings are traditionally filled with a mixture of beef and pork mince. Though in the mountainous regions of Georgia you will also find them with lamb mince. Puréed onions and coriander are added to the mince to give it some sweetness and additional flavor. Finally, a large amount of water is added to the mince. This water will at first be soaked in by the protein in the mince, making a semi-solid mixture. When the Khinkali is boiled, the proteins tighten with the heat and squeeze out moisture – and a lot of flavor – into the dumpling. This, in turn, fills the interior of the dumpling with an umami bomb of a soup.
The proper way to eat a Khinkali is by grabbing it from the stem, and raising it up high. Take a bite from the bottom of the dumpling and slurp the liquid out. Then, eat the dough and meat while you hold the dumpling from the stem. Discard the stem since it’s just boiled dough without much flavor.
Speaking of dough, the dough for this dumpling is very firm and requires a good amount of kneading – roughly 15 minutes. This may sound like a bad thing, but think positive. The recipe doubles as a workout routine.
I’d recommend making a large batch as per the recipe below, and freezing what you don’t use. The Khinkali will keep up for up to 2 months. To cook them from frozen, place them directly into boiling water and start the 15 minute timer when They begin to float.
Ingredients for the dough
- The Dough
1kg / 2.2lbs white flour (plus another 200g / 7oz for dusting)
Pinch of Salt
- The Filling
350g / 0.7lbs Beef Mince
350g / 0.7lbs Pork Mince
250ml Chicken Stock
Cumin, Black Pepper, and Salt to taste
- Start by mixing all the dry mince ingredients in a bowl. (Mince, salt, cumin, pepper)
- Mix the chicken stock and water together. Pour it into the mince a bit a time while stirring. You want to get the liquid absorbed by the mince mixture so that it does not separate. Now refrigerate the mixture while you work on the dough.
- In a large bowl, pour in your 1kg / 2.2lbs of flour and form a well in the middle.
- To this well, add the eggs, water, and salt. Begin to stir it until it forms a firm dough. The dough should be firm and not sticky. Adjust measurements as needed since it will be affected by the humidity in your kitchen.
- Knead on an unfloured surface for 15 minutes, or until it gets smooth and very firm. It should have some elasticity.
- Roll out the dough into a long, even cylinder.
Cut the cylinder into roughly 20 equal discs.
- Heavily flour your work surface, and roll out each disc into a 14cm/5.5″ circle. This is your dumpling wrapper.
- Add two to three tablespoons of filling into each dumpling wrapper.
- Pinch one end of the wrapper with two fingers, then with your other hand grab a small fold next to the pinched area, and fold it onto your other hand to make a pleat. Repeat until the dough is entirely sealed.
This is hard to grab over a written format, so I recommend watching this video.
Unlike a soup dumpling you want to have a large stem at the top, so once all the folds are done, twist and elongate the stem.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Stir the boiling water with a slotted spoon and gently drop a Khinkali into the whirling water, one at a time. Keep going until you can’t add any more in a single layer.
- Let cook for 15 minutes, before extracting with the slotted spoon.
- Serve three in a single plate, top with crushed black pepper. Optionally, add some melted butter on top. Dig in!