Bozbashi is a traditional Georgian soup. While the name comes from the Farsi word for “goat’s head”, don’t let that scare you away! Modern bozbashi is made using lamb or beef, and is delicious with fresh-baked shoti bread.

The History of Bozbashi

While bozbashi means “goat’s head” in Farsi and “gray head” in Azeri, it is better known in Georgia as the dish of ancient nobility, as the master of the house was always the first to try this delicious soup. Bozbashi was usually prepared for special occasions and important days, but is far more commonplace in modern Georgia, where mutton, lamb, and beef have supplanted a goat’s head as the core ingredient.

How to Prepare Bozbashi

Traditionally, bozbashi was prepared with peas and chestnuts, with potatoes or even chickpeas being optional additional ingredients. What every recipe has in common, however, is that the meat must be boiled first, and then fried with onions.

In modern Georgia, bozbashi has become a core part of eastern (particularly Kakhetian) cuisine, with a variety of different variants being made in Kakheti. These local refinements of the classic Azeri recipe have made bozbashi into something uniquely Georgian.

Kakheti-Style Bozbashi

In Kakheti, they say that the best bozbashi is made from boiled beef khashlama, although there are other variations on the recipe, including “parcha bozbashi”, which is made with larger pieces of meat, and “kiupta”, which is made with lamb or mixed beef and lamb meatballs. In outer Kakheti, they add tkemali to their bozbashi, rather than the traditional tomato sauce.

In addition to meat, you can add a wide variety of vegetables to bozbashi, including potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, turnips, radishes, or even eggplant. It is really up to the chef and to what is available in a given season.

The variety of herbs used in bozbashi is similarly broad. Coriander, parsley, tarragon, ginger, basil, fried hot peppers, saffron, and even mint all go well with bozbashi. You can even add dried apricots and plums to the soup. 

Kakhetians are characterized by a tendency to add somewhat sour fruits, dried fruits, and berries, such as pomegranate, alucha, tkemali, barberry, sour apple, and cornel, to their meat dishes. Their flavours soften the meat and give it a nicer taste.

Bozbashi is a fatty dish and is brought to the table hot, eaten together with Kakhetian shoti bread.

Which Ingredients are Used to Make Bozbashi?

Basic Bozbashi:

  • 1 kg lamb or beef;

  • 100 g fatty sheep tail;

  • 50 g tomato paste;

  • 2-3 onions;

  • 1 bay leaf;

  • Pepper, salt, vegetables, and herbs to taste.


  1. Wash the meat well with cool water and dip it in watered-down wine. 

  2. Next, cut the meat into moderately sized pieces and place them into the pot. 

  3. Cover the meat with water and put it on the flame. Pay attention while it is boiling to make sure that the foam does not go back down into the middle. 

  4. Mince the sheep tail into equal sized pieces and fry it along with the onions and the tomato paste. 

  5. Once done, pour it over the boiled meat and add the bay leaf, black peppercorns, salt, and red pepper. 

  6. Finally, you can add coriander and mint to give it a different fresh taste. 

Bozbashi Balls:

  • 1 kg lamb or beef;

  • 2 tbsp rice;

  • 4-5 onions; 

  • 2 potatoes;

  • 1 egg; 

  • 3-4 clumps coriander;

  • 1 bay leaf; 

  • Cinnamon, pepper, salt to taste.


  1. Fry three finely chopped onions in a pot and pour boiling water over them.

  2. Add the rice and salt.

  3. Make balls seasoned with ground meat, one onion, coriander, pepper, an egg, cinnamon, and salt and put them in the boiling water one by one. 

  4. Add the bay leaf and chopped potatoes and boil it until the balls turn golden brown.

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