Food & Home - - Culinary Travel -

“This recipe is a cor­ner­stone of much Geor­gian food, par­tic­u­larly in the cen­tral and western parts of the coun­try,” says Ma­rina. [Based in Chardakhi, Ma­rina Kur­tanidze – owner of the wine la­bel, ManDili – is the first woman in mod­ern Ge­or­gia to make and bot­tle her own wine.] “Each fam­ily has their own favourite recipe for it but the ba­sic in­gre­di­ents are good fresh wal­nuts, herbs, gar­lic and some spices. It’s used on all sorts of veg­eta­bles, stirred into stews, and is a de­li­cious condi­ment to have in the fridge to liven up hard-boiled eggs, cheese or cold meats.” Use this as the ba­sis for your own sig­na­ture wal­nut paste, adding ex­tra chilli, gar­lic, salt, herbs or spices to taste.

In Ge­or­gia, tra­di­tion de­crees that the wal­nuts should be pounded slowly by hand with the gar­lic and spices in a mor­tar and pes­tle, but a food pro­ces­sor makes an easy sec­ond choice if you don’t have a good mor­tar.

Store the paste in an air­tight jar in the fridge for 1–2 weeks, press­ing a piece of plas­tic wrap right onto the paste to stop it ox­i­diz­ing. You can also freeze this paste in small batches for later use. For a great dip­ping sauce, com­bine 120 ml / 4 fl oz / ½ cup fresh pome­gran­ate juice (the juice of about two pomegranates) with 120 ml / 4 fl oz / ½ cup of the paste.

MAKES about 240 ml / 8 fl oz / 1 cup PREPA­RA­TION 10 min­utes 150 g / 5 oz /1/2 cups wal­nut halves 12 g / 1/3 oz / 3 gar­lic cloves, or more to taste 1/2 tsp co­rian­der seeds, crushed 1/4 tsp ground fenu­greek 1 tsp salt 1 tbsp chopped mint 3 tbsp chopped co­rian­der / cilantro leaves 1 tsp minced dill fresh chilli, to taste 1/a cup water

Com­bine all the in­gre­di­ents in the bowl of a food pro­ces­sor and pulse un­til you have an even paste. Some dishes are best with a more gran­u­lar mix­ture while oth­ers call for a smoother tex­ture – there are no rigid rules. Store tightly wrapped with plas­tic wrap in the re­frig­er­a­tor for up to 2 weeks.

You can also freeze small batches of the paste, wrapped in foil for quick use at a later date. This paste is quite con­cen­trated and should al­ways be loos­ened with a lit­tle water be­fore be­ing used, so fol­low in­di­vid­ual recipes to see how much liq­uid is re­quired.


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