At first glance, it is a simple dish made of dough and cheese, but it is also recognised as one of the world’s top 100 best dishes according to Taste Atlas, and is listed as part of Georgia’s national heritage.
There are 47 different types of khachapuri, with every region having its own unique shapes and flavours. Some of the most famous varieties include Imeretian, Adjarian, Megrelian, Gurian, Svan, Khevsuretian, layered, and Tushetian (Kotori).
First and foremost in the hearts and minds of most Georgians is the so-called “mother of khachapuri", Imeretian khachapuri, which is an indelible component of any Georgian supra.
There are numerous criteria for what makes the best Imeretian khachapuri. It must have thin, delicate dough and to be a bit roasted from both sides. The cheese must be Imeretian - slightly salty, squeaky, fat enough. So synonymous is Imeretian cheese with khachapuri that it is often called khachapuri cheese.
Another crucial ingredient is a high-quality flour. To make Imeretian khachapuri you will also need eggs, milk, butter, and oil, although some people also make it with matsoni.
A Recipe for Imeretian Khachapuri:
1.2 kg khachapuri cheese;
1 kg flour;
500 ml of cheese whey or water;
50 ml oil;
1 tsp salt;
20 g yeast;
A small amount of butter to spread on top.
Pour the warm water and yeast into a bowl and knead the dough.
After 10 or 15 minutes, add the flour and salt and begin kneading.
Cover the well-kneaded dough with a towel and place it somewhere warm. While waiting for it to rise, start preparing the filling. Either crumble the cheese with your hands or grate it with a cheese grater. Then mix the egg into it.
After it rises, separate the dough into 300-gram balls and knead them again with oil on your hands. This ensures that the khachapuri will be more fluffy.
Let them sit and rise some more, then flatten each one into a round shape, put a ball of cheese in the center, wrap it up, and turn the edges down, flattening it thinly.
Place the dough into a well-heated baking tray. Let it get brown, then flip it over to brown on the other side. Keep in mind that if you are baking it in an oven, you do not need to turn it.
Once it has baked, spread butter over the top and let it sit to cool.
Enjoy your delicious, homemade khachapuri!
Imeretian khachapuri is also called ketsi khachapuri. A ketsi is a clay pan which is placed on the hot embers in a fireplace. Khachapuri used to be baked on ketsis in the Imereti region, a tradition that is still preserved in some villages in the region. Dry bay cherry leaves are placed onto the ketsi, and the khachapuri is placed on top and covered by more leaves. The clay pan method gives the pastry a more enjoyable texture.
The combination of great flavor and indisputable authenticity made khachapuri very popular beyond Georgia’s borders. These days khachapuri restaurants ("sakhachapure") are opened in many countries of the world, not only by Georgians, but by people of other nationalities as well.
A good example of this is the Finnish actor Ville Haapasalo, who opened a khachapuri restaurant in the resort town of Puumala after developing his own ability in cooking Georgian food. He sold 25,000 khachapuris in 68 days, showcasing the immense popularity of khachapuri.