Pkhali (ფხალი) is a Georgian appetizer that is somewhere between a salad and a spread. While the recipe I’m sharing here is made with beets, pkhali can also be made with spinach, cabbage, or green beans, for instance. It’s great when spread on a slice of country bread, or as a side dish. I’ve slightly modified the recipe from the one my mother follows by replacing mayonnaise with Greek yogurt.
So on this here map, you can see Azerbaijan right on the Caspian sea, which is where I spent some of my childhood, and its neighbor is Georgia. The climate is about the same: temperate and subtropical, with dry plains and lush mountains here or there, getting milder as you border the sea. Two other items from Georgian cuisine that I absolutely love: khachapuri, which is a cheese filled leavened bread, and kharcho, a spicy and garlicky tomato based beef stew.
What else can I tell you about Georgia? I’ve never been unfortunately, but there were a lot of people from Georgia living in Azerbaijan when I was a kid. I love the country’s folk music, and some of my favorite Soviet-era films were directed by Georgi Daneliya, who was born in Tbilisi.
Oh yeah, you probably want the recipe. Read the rest of this entry »