Our spicy ribs in Ajika sauce recipe combines some spices unique to Georgia along with heat from chile peppers. This results in a delicious and unique flavor that’ll have you making these again and again.
When we arrived in the country of Georgia, we knew we were in for a delicious culinary experience. We had learned about sumptuous dumplings (khinkali) and light, fluffy fresh bread stuffed with cheese (Khachapuri) from friends who had visited previously.
What we didn’t know was if our spicy itch would be scratched in Georgia. We like spicy food. A lot. But, we’ve found in our travels that different places in the world have have various approaches to spiciness and heat.
In Thailand or Mexico, spicy salsa or Nam Pla are always available to heat up a dish. Other cultures don’t enjoy spiciness as much as we do. We’ve even started carrying around a hidden bottle of hot sauce so we can sneak it onto more bland food when we go out.
And then, to our delight, we discovered ajika sauce.
What is Ajika?
Ajika (or adjika) is a spicy sauce or condiment made with chile peppers and lots of herbs. It originated in Samegrelo and Abkhazia regions of Georgia.
The name itself comes from the Abkhaz word for “salt”. But this isn’t just salty. It’s full of fresh flavors and it can be killer spicy, too!
There are a lot of different variations of ajika sauce, which is sometimes referred to as Georgian pesto. The recipes vary in ingredients, some with tomato, and of course in heat, based on the number and types of peppers used.
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Our favorite (below) is the green ajika sauce, which relies heavily on coriander (or cilantro) and, in our version, jalapeños.
Our recipe also calls for a typical Georgian spice, Khmeli Suneli, which is a Georgian curry made with blue fenugreek, ground marigold flowers and other spices. You can find it is the international section of some grocery stores, or alternatively use equal parts of turmeric, ground coriander and blue fenugreek.
Of course, Georgians go one further and don’t just use ajika as a condiment. There are a number of recipes that use it, but you’ll find a variation of ribs cooked in ajika in most In Georgian restaurants. The typical recipe calls for veal ribs, but beef ribs can be easily substituted.
To adjust the spiciness of the recipe, change the number of jalapenos or remove some/all of the seeds.
- 2 lbs (900 g) beef or veal ribs, on the bone
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) white flour
- 1 bunch fresh coriander
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley
- 4 whole jalapeños
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup (117 g) of chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup (60 ml) of olive oil
- ½ cup (120 ml) red wine vinegar
- ½ cup (120 ml) of water
- 1 tsp (1.7 g) dried coriander
- 1 tsp (2.5 g) Khmeli Suneli spice, Georgian Spice - substitute with equal parts turmeric, ground coriander and blue fenugreek
- Pepper and salt to taste
Preheat oven to 275 F (135 C)
Prepare the Ajika Sauce
Add coriander, parsley, jalapenos, garlic, walnuts, spices, olive oil and 1 tbs of vinegar to a food processor and blend until everything forms a paste.
Prepare the Ribs
Lightly flour the ribs on both sides.
Heat oil in a large dutch oven on the stove top, and brown ribs (1-2 minutes on each side).
Remove ribs from pan
After allowing pan to cool slightly, add vinegar, water, and approximately 1/3 of the ajika mixture. Mix together.
Place ribs back in dutch oven, so they are partially submerged in the liquid mixture.
Spread 1/3 of the ajika mixture over the top of the ribs
Cover pan, and place in the oven at 275 F (135 C) .
After 1 hour, turn ribs and return to oven.
Continue cooking until rib meat has pulled back from the bone and is tender.
Remove ribs from pan, allow to rest for 10 minutes, and then serve, with additional ajika on the side.
Amount Per Serving Calories 299Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 58mgSodium 198mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 19g
Here are some additional Georgian recipes that you might enjoy:
Visit our International Recipes to see our full collection of recipes inspired by our ongoing travels around the world.