Not Your Mom's Recipes

Georgian Feasting – Badrijani Nigvzit

 

When I was in Georgia we ate bread and cheese almost exclusively . Every meal. There were also some amazingly delicious combinations such as Khatchapuri (cheese stuffed bread) and other bread/cheese pies. So when there was a delicious vegetable dish, we all pounced on it like we’d never seen veggies before.

This dish of eggplant is so amazing that my friends and I ordered it almost every time we went to a restaurant, and I begged my host aunt to teach me how to make it.

You’re welcome.

I have no idea about the measurements, I always just eyeball things so bear with me. I’ll try. This makes enough for about five people as an appetizer – like maybe 20 pieces.

2 eggplants (fancy people call it aubergine)

Olive Oil

3 cups of walnuts

1/4 cup – 1/2 cup pomegranate juice*

1/4 cup White vinegar

1/2 tablespoon coriander

2-3 cloves garlic, pressed. You should have a garlic press, but I don’t so I used a big knife and smushed it with the flat side. Whatever works.

1 teaspoon saffron (or you know, not. If you don’t have it that’s fine – use turmeric)

Salt – to taste, it’ll be more than you think since walnuts need salt to taste awesome

Pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional but delicious)

So first step is to prepare the eggplant. I slice off both ends, then use a vegetable peeler and slice off one slice from two sides opposite each other, like so:

Now take a sharp knife and cut the eggplant into strips lengthwise:

Don’t worry if they’re not perfect. Frankly, I kinda suck at cutting the strips. You want them to be relatively thin because later you’re rolling them, but not too thin because you’re baking them. Take a look at the pictures for an estimated thickness. Once they’re cut, lay them out flat on a cooling rack with paper towel underneath.

If you don’t have one of those, just lay them out on a piece of paper towel. Sprinkle a bunch of salt on top – don’t be shy. In fact, sprinkle both sides with salt. The eggplant will start to sweat in about 5 minutes. That’s good – you’re trying to get all the water out. You can also layer the eggplant strips in paper towel and put something heavy on top to squeeze the moisture out.

While your eggplant is sweating (takes about 30 min to an hour to get all the water out. If you’re in a hurry just squeeze them yourself – paper towel in each hand. That works too), prepare the walnut paste. Also, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

I have a Magic Bullet so I tend to use that to grind up the walnuts. You can also put them in a big ziploc and smash the hell out of them with a rolling pin. It’s more fun until the bag explodes, like mine did. Either way get them ground up pretty small. Almost like walnut powder. Some chunks are okay though.

Put the walnuts in a bowl and add the pressed garlic (if you don’t have a press, just grind it or smush it. Slowly add half the pomegranate juice and half the vinegar. Stir it all up and it should be paste-like. Add the spices and a bit more pomegranate. Put almost  a tablespoon of salt in and stir it, then taste it! If it needs more of anything, add it. It should taste garlicky, flavorful and delicious. If it doesn’t, add more pom juice, or salt, or coriander, or garlic.

Your eggplant should be sweated out (gross) so pat it dry, apply a generous amount of olive oil, put it on a baking sheet and roast it for 20 minutes, flipping it halfway. It should be soft and golden – not burnt. Let them cool down and then put a generous scoop of almond paste on one end. Roll it up. I didn’t take a picture of this step so here’s a crappy drawing instead:

Garnish it with the pomegranate seeds and serve at room temperature.

Look, I know it sounds like a lot of effort but these are sooo good, it’s worth it. Trust.  And they’re actually healthy for you too.  Plus everyone will be all like: “where did you EVER find this recipe?” because let’s get real here, Georgian cuisine isn’t exactly the height of culinary fashion.

 

 

 

*You can just buy pomegranate juice, or you can be all high class, buy a pomegranate, cut a slit in in and squeeze it really hard, juice away to your hearts content.

 

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This entry was published on February 2 at 6:40 pm. It’s filed under Appetizers, Georgian Food and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

9 thoughts on “Georgian Feasting – Badrijani Nigvzit

  1. Holli on said:

    My coworker is going to Georgia with the Peace Corp, so I was excited to come across this recipe for her going-away party. Looking forward to trying it!

    • Good luck! It’s delicious, make sure the paste tastes really flavourful before rolling it! If your friend has questions, I lived in Georgia for a while – although I’m sure the Peace Corps prepares better than I could ;) Let me know how it works out!

  2. Nati on said:

    You have written a great recipe for non-Georgian cooks to follow!

  3. deeea on said:

    Thank you for the recipe, I will definitely use it…
    I have to say though, I am surprised that you didn´t seem to enjoy or eat georgian cuisine that much when you were there. There are so many amazing dishes and many of them vegetarian! The bread is good, but why eat it for every meal? :))

    • I definitely did enjoy Georgian cuisine! I lived on a farm in Georgia so we had a lot of fresh food – meats especially. We definitely had a lot of bread dishes too though. I found the vegetable dishes that we had were mostly beets, carrots and other starchy vegetables that I’m not a huge fan of. Every so often we would have a really delicious stuffed pepper dish or eggplant dish – those were my favourite! Thanks for commenting :)

  4. I found your blog with the badrijani nigvzit a few days after coming back from a two week hi king trip to Georgia last July. I really enjoyed the food there. And I made your recipe a few times since then.
    I could not find your blog today because I wanted to use the recipe again because my son will come over with his girl friend tomorrow. I was glad to find the recipe that I had printed then.
    Thanks a lot!

    • Louise – I’m glad you enjoyed it! I always get comments on how interesting the Badrijani is when I take it to cocktail parties!

  5. Hi, I read yoyr blos onn a rgular basis. Yourr humoristic styke is awesome, keep it up!

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