Chanakhi is a super delicious lamb stew from Georgia, a country of rich culture. Chanakhi must be cooked in layers. The lamb is at the bottom, and vegetables are on top of the lamb, filling the pot to its brim. Now you just need to put the pot on heat and wait until the timing does all the magic. In 2 to 3 hours, you will have a comforting taste of the east.
The Authentic Chanakhi is traditionally cooked in Georgia in small clay pots. The key point is that Chanakhi is usually cooked in a pot for individuals. In other words, each pot is one portion, as you will note if you serve it in Georgia. The reason is its unique layering technique of cooking that is also used in cooking Chakapuli. The raw cubes of meat are at the bottom, on which is the chopped eggplant with garlic and herbs, and on top are tomatoes and potatoes.
Georgia has a long history of stews, so I recommend you never doubt cooking Chanakhi.
Now let’s go deeper into making a delicious Georgian lamb stew, Chanakhi!
The Ingredients of Chanakhi
In Georgia, there are different recipes for Chanakhi. Still, their main ingredient is lamb and eggplant, along with some other vegetables.
- 2 pounds of boneless lamb cut into small pieces
- Two medium eggplants or four small (about 2 pounds)
- Two tablespoons of cooking oil
- Salt and pepper
- Three large onions, peeled, halved, and sliced.
- One red bell pepper, cut into pieces.
- Five garlic cloves, chopped.
- One tablespoon of dried basil
- 1 pound of potatoes, sliced into rounds
- One bunch of fresh parsley, chopped (You can set aside some of it for the final decoration)
- One bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 pound of tomatoes, sliced into rounds
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- One tablespoon vinegar
For this recipe, you need a proper heavy stew pot or dutch oven to assemble the layers of Ingredients. If you have access to small clay pots, you can go with the traditional version, one pot for each, but the recipe is the same.
All the ingredients of the stew are cut into slices and layered into the pot in the following order: lamb with onions, peppers, and garlic, then tomatoes with potatoes and half the eggplants, and on top the rest of fresh herbs with the rest of the eggplants and potatoes.
First, start the cooking by adding salt to the sliced lamb.
Then peel the eggplants and cut them into round pieces. Put the round slices of eggplant in a colander with salt. Leave them for 30 minutes and then wash them with cold water to wash away the bitter taste of it along with salt.
Brown all sides of the lambs with oil on medium heat (Max. for 3 to 4 minutes). If you are using clay pots or a Dutch oven, you need to do this part in another pan, then transfer them to your heavy stew pot.
Cut the onions and fry them in a pan, then transfer the browned onions to the pot as a layer on the slices of the lamb.
Do the same with peppers and garlic and add them to the pot. Dried basil, salt, and black pepper are added to the pot at this stage.
Now cut the tomatoes into ring slices and make an even layer without anything else.
The next layer contains half the slices of eggplant and half the potatoes. Then come half of the chopped herbs.
Repeat the same layers routine with the rest of the eggplant slices, potatoes, and herbs.
Usually, some sliced tomatoes are put at the top before covering the pot at the end with two tablespoons of oil and one tablespoon of vinegar.
After covering the pot, put it in the oven, and cook it on the stove. Both ways, remember that it should be cooked thoroughly and needs enough time. In the best way, put it on low heat for 2 hours or longer.
- Add taste to the raw sliced lamb with salt.
- Cut the eggplant into round pieces.
- Leave the eggplants with salt for 30 minutes in a colander and then wash them.
- Fry the onions, garlic, and pepper in a pan, then add it to the pot as the next layer.
- Put the ring slices of tomato on other ingredients as the next layer.
- Add half of the slices of eggplant and potato as the next layer.
- Half of the chopped herbs come on top of the potatoes and eggplants.
- Repeat the same layerings with other eggplants, potatoes, and herbs halves.
- You can also add slices of tomatoes with oil and vinegar at the end.
- Cover the pot and cook it on low heat for about 2 or 3 hours.
How To Serve Chanakhi
The Georgian dish is traditionally served hot in individual clay pots and with bread. You can also serve your food in deep bowls if cooked in a big pot. Usually, for decoration, fresh herbs like Coriander are chopped on top, and crusty bread is put on the side. Not many additional side dishes are needed for this easy-to-cook meal.
Notes and Tips for Chanakhi Recipe
- Most Chanahki recipes use fresh tomatoes, but canned plum tomatoes can also be used in Chanakhi recipes.
- Try to cut the ingredients just before adding them to the pot in case of changing color and taste because of their exposure to air.
And that was the easy recipe for Chanakhi stew, hope you enjoy every layer of it!
If you’re pleased by the taste of this Georgian stew, we recommend you try the Kharcho recipe.