Chakapuli is a traditional Georgian dish made with lamb or beef, believed to have originated in the region of Kakheti, which includes the city of Telavi. The Chakapuli, next to the Chanakhi, are counted as one of Georgia’s most served lamb stews. The lamb of this food was traditionally cooked in a clay pot called “Chakapuli” or “Kukhuri.” This Georgian dish has a long history, with references to it dating back to the 17th century.
Today, Chakapouli is still commonly served on festive occasions and at home during holidays, especially Easter, the most important Georgian holiday. The green plums, the main ingredient of this dish, are a particular spring fruit, so Chakapuli means for the Georgians the taste of coming summer after a cold winter.
As the main ingredients of Chakapuli come available in springtime, people bubble over, making this delicious stew.
The ingredients are easy to access and simple, yet most of them are replaceable. Tarragon is the key to its unique flavor next to the plum.
- 2 pounds lamb (with bones), cut into pieces
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 150 grams of green plums
- Tkemali (plum sauce) or lemon juice
- Two bunches tarragon
- Two bunches scallions
- One bunch Coriander
- One clove of garlic
- One green onion
- 1-2 spicy green peppers
- salt, pepper
Wash the lamb or beef and cut it into small pieces.
To make a traditional Chakapuli stew, boil chopped lamb with white wine in a big, deep pan on low to medium heat. It’s better to stir the ingredients occasionally at this stage.
Meanwhile, chop the herbs, garlic, and onion and mix them all. Don’t forget to chop the tarragon, coriander, and scallions not too finely.
Add the chopped herbs and unchopped complete plums to the meat once the wine has been reduced. Now pour enough water into the pot and cover it; let the ingredients boil on low heat for about an hour.
For a better taste, add Tkemali and salt to the stew. If you don’t have Tkemali, you can use lemon juice as a substitute.
In some recipes, the method of layering has been suggested for making Chakapuli. First, we put a layer of chopped lamb on the bottom of the pot; then, we add a layer of finely chopped greens: tarragon, green onions, coriander, scallions, etc., which all must be mixed well.
Put the third layer of Tkemali, then again: one layer of meat, vegetables, and Tkemali until you’re out of ingredients.
Now pour enough water to cover all layers. Close the lid and put it on low heat.
After boiling, add salt and pour the white wine into the pot when the meat is almost cooked.
Now let the meat be cooked and serve it with your family.
Put the lamb in a deep pot with white wine and boil for about 15 to 20 minutes on low heat and stir occasionally.
Meanwhile, chop the tarragon, onion, garlic, coriander, and green pepper.
Add the chopped herbs and plums to the pot.
Pour enough water into the pot of other ingredients.
Finally, add Tkemali and salt to the stew, and if you don’t have Tkemali, you can use lemon juice as a substitute.
Let the ingredients boil on low heat for about an hour; then, your Georgian stew is ready to serve.
How to serve Chakapuli?
After the stew is ready, you can serve the portions in bowls. Chakapuli is served in Georgia hot and with Georgian bread.
- If possible, use Georgian amber wine; if that’s not available, a full-bodied white wine doesn’t create a problem in making this stew.
- The usual recipe is easy, but the second recipe with layers gives you a better mixture of flavors.
- If you have no access to buying Tkemali, you can replace it with lemon juice. Tkemali is only used to add a sour flavor to the stew.
- Chakapuli is cooked with both lamb and beef. Both recipes are common.
- Chakapuli could also be cooked with mushrooms instead of lamb.
- After the stew is cooked, be careful not to hit the plums with a spoon, because the crushing of the plums and its combination with the stew changes the taste of the stew a lot.
After the stew is ready, you can serve the portions in bowls. Chakapuli is usually served in Georgia hot and with Georgian bread.
That’s the easy recipe for this famous Georgian stew with bright, vibrant flavors. So if you’re open to new things, give Chakapuli a try!