Dishes from the country of Georgia, which is situated above Turkey between Europe and Asia, tend to be on the heavy side. Fans of comfort food will find plenty to enjoy during a visit to this beautiful Caucasus region of Eurasia. Georgian tables are often filled with dishes meant to share, such as freshly baked cheese stuffed bread (khachapuri) or plump dumplings with a savory meat filling (khinkali) or platters of skewered meat roasted over an open flame. Beyond meat, cheese and bread, two other ingredients make a popular appearance in Georgian cuisine. One is the frequent use of walnuts as an ingredient, often finely chopped and blended into the dish. The other is a spice blend, khmeli suneli, fondly referred to as Georgian curry. Both walnuts and khuni sunili make an appearance in this deceptively simple Georgian salad. This refreshing dish is a welcome addition to a Georgian feast, which is always accompanied by a nice bottle (or jug) of Georgian wine.
Yield up to 4 appetizer size salads
- 1/2 Cup Walnuts
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Khmeli Suneli (Georgian spice mix - can be substituted with 1/2 teaspoon ground blue fenugreek, 1/2 teaspoon tumeric, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Parsley Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Red Wine or Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/3 Cup Water
- Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
- 2 Medium Tomatoes
- 2 Medium Cucumbers
- 1/3 Red Onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 Jalapeno Pepper optional
- Purple Basil Leaves optional
- Parsley & Cilantro Sprigs as a garnish
Wash and chop the tomatoes, cucumber and onions and arrange them in a bowl.
Place the dry spices, cilantro, parsley, water, walnuts, garlic and vinegar in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. The mixture should form a paste that can be slowly poured. Add more water if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Seed the jalapeno and cut it into small rings (omit to avoid the spice, add more to kick up the heat).
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and garnish with a few sprigs of fresh parsley, cilantro, purple basil and jalapeno rings.
Visit our guide to Georgian Cuisine for more recipes and ideas for making a full Georgian feast at home.