The walnut tree is considered to be a sacred tree in the Caucasus. Ancient Greek sources from as far back as the 6th to 4th centuries BCE make mention of walnuts being grown in Georgia, highlighting its importance to the national palette even then.
Bazhe graces the tables of many Georgian supras, mainly on holidays, and especially New Year’s. Indeed, it would be impossible to imagine a Georgian holiday supra without that sauce!
Over time, bazhe has spread from Samegrelo, Guria, and Imereti, to restaurants and family diners throughout every region of Georgia.
400 g walnuts;
3 cloves garlic;
1 tsp dry coriander;
1 tsp saffron;
1 tsp blue fenugreek;
1 tsp ground red pepper;
50 ml water;
1 tbsp vinegar (optional);
Salt to taste.
The traditional way of making bazhe is still maintained in some families. According to previous generations, to get the real taste of walnuts you have to use a mortar and pestle to grind the walnuts, and not a meat-mincer.
The walnuts should be crushed with the hands until oil comes out. The oil should be kept in a separate container and stored for later.
Add minced garlic, vinegar, and the spices to the walnuts.
Mix in 50 ml of boiled and then cooled water, and stir well.
Continue adding water to get the consistency of sauce that you want.
Finally, pour the oil saved from the crushed walnuts onto the sauce.
Today there are many different variants of bazhe, but one thing is necessary and unchangeable, and that is to use the highest-quality walnuts and spices available.
Classically, bazhe is mainly eaten with fried chicken, but some chefs claim that it is also delicious with boiled meat, squash, cauliflower, and eggplant. More confident and bold cooks will even put tortillas or lemons in bazhe sauce.
Using hazelnuts instead of walnuts in bazhe is nothing new, but housewives advise us that the nuts should be peeled, white, and very well blended. White wine vinegar goes very well with that kind of bazhe, but lemon juice would not go amiss either.
The most important thing here too is getting the right amounts. The hazelnut has its own characteristic, savory flavor, so it ends up being very delicious. Bazhe made that way goes especially well with mchadi baked on a ketsi.
A popular dish in Georgia is boiled eggs served in bazhe. If you’re looking to spice up your next dinner party, consider giving this recipe a try!
Cut the boiled eggs down the middle and put them in a bowl.
Pass the walnuts and garlic through a meat-mincer or pound them finely with a mortar and pestle.
Season them with dry coriander, blue fenugreek, saffron, salt, and pepper.
Knead the walnut paste with your hands until you get one teaspoon of oil from it.
Add up to one cup of cooled boiled water to the seasoned walnuts and then blend it or sieve it.
Continue gradually adding water to the bazhe until it reaches the desired consistency.
Pour the sauce over the boiled eggs, and give it some time to soak in.
Before serving, pour the pressed walnut oil onto it.
This kind of bazhe is made in Imereti. They say that its creation is connected with a branch of the Tseretelis, Imeretian nobles. For this dish you need veal hooves and bazhe sauce flavored in the delicious Imeretian way.
4 cow’s hooves;
200 g walnuts;
10 g dried coriander;
10 g cumin;
10 g blue fenugreek;
2 cloves garlic;
15 g salt.
Pour enough water onto the well-cleaned hooves to cover them completely and then set them to boil.
Make the bazhe separately (as above).
Add cooled boiled water to the blended or minced walnuts to get a sticky mass, then add the dried coriander, blue fenugreek, cumin, crushed garlic, and salt and mix well.
Put the well-boiled and pressed hooves into the bazhe.