Borano is a high-calorie food, perfectly suited for the active lifestyles of Ajarians, which often involves constant work and physical exertion, doing things such as mowing, harvesting, collecting hay and firewood, hunting, and more.
The words bora, borai, borao, borani, and borano all mean fried. In borano’s case it refers to the cheese which is fried after being soaked in iaghi, or clarified butter.
Despite the fact that its birthplace is mountainous Ajara, you can find borano wherever you find people of Ajarian heritage. It is considered to be one of their staple foods and is always prepared for guests.
In addition to Ajara, borano is now found on the traditional food menu of many Georgian restaurants. As an outstanding example of traditional Georgian cuisine, borano has been granted the status of a Monument of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The secret to the delicious and rich taste of borano is in the flavour and high calories of the dairy products.
The main ingredient of borano is braided Ajarian cheese. It is true that there are many kinds of cheese in Ajara, but borano must be made using locally-made braided cheese. As the masters of borano say, you want your braided cheese to be aged to give the borano its special flavor.
The second main ingredient is the salted butter, which is melted to get iaghi, or clarified butter. 100 grams of cheese and 50 grams of butter is enough to make one serving of borano.
To make your own borano, you’ll need to start by softening the crumbled Ajarian cheese in boiling water. If the cheese is particularly salty, you’ll need to change the water a few times.
After softening the cheese well, squeeze the water out of it and leave it in a pot. Then boil the iaghi - the clarified butter – in a pan until deep brown. You’ll then place the softened, filtered cheese inside of it.
Leave it on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Once it turns golden brown, remove it from the heat and transfer it into any deep dish.
Sometimes, Adjarians add cornmeal to borano, and, in the modern version of this dish, they also use flour and eggs. If your borano comes out a little thin, then after adding browned butter, you can also add about fifty grams of bread flour.
Borano is brought to the Ajarian table piping hot. Hot cornbread (mchadi) and tomato and cucumber salad go especially well with it. Borano with white wine has a special charm of its own.