At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia has learned many things from foreign cultures over the centuries while developing its own. Even the national cuisine could not ignore this process, so sometimes the smell of vanilla bread and cookies entered the Georgian kitchen from Europe, and sometimes cinnamon and nutmeg, brought by trade caravans from Asia, entered the kitchen.

The Origin of Kalia

Georgia was a diverse country and its gastronomy was influenced by neighborly coexistence. That's why today when we prepare any dish, it’s hard to imagine its complex history. A good example is Kalia, which was brought over by the Jews.

Jewish settlements existed in Georgia in Tbilisi, Akhaltsikhe, Kutaisi, Tskhinvali, Gori, Oni, Sachkhere, Senaki, and in Zugdidi for many centuries. Jewish cuisine is one of the oldest in the world and dishes prepared with duck and goose are a significant part of their cuisine.

Traditional Jewish Kalia is made with duck meat, onion, pepper, salt, and pomegranate. But then they started cooking it with goose and beef. It is also great with veal and it is no longer surprising when many recipes list foreign spices, coriander, and saffron as an ingredient.

In cookbooks, you will find Kalia in the Imeretian language, an influence of the Kulash Jews. One of the largest Jewish settlements in Kula was in Imereti, where more than a thousand Jewish families lived for centuries surrounded by Georgian villages.

How to prepare Kalia

Pour oil into a deep pot, put the cubed-cut meat in, and brown it. Add the ground coriander, yellow flower, chopped pepper, and salt.

Slice the onion, grate the garlic and add to the meat. When the onion changes color and the meat releases juice, add grated tomatoes and pomegranate juice (we can use 10 grams of tomato paste instead of tomatoes).

Cook everything for another 30 minutes. The dish should be lightly juicy, and the meat should be soaked. Add finely chopped coriander and pomegranate seeds to the prepared Kalia and serve it hot.

To prepare Kalia we will need:

● Beef meat - 1 kg

● Fat - 20 grams

● Onion - 3-4

● Garlic - 2-3 cloves

● Tomato - 100 grams

● Pomegranate juice - 1 cup

● Pomegranate seeds

● Ground coriander - 1 tsp

● Yellow flower - 1 tsp

● Chopped pepper – to taste

● Fresh coriander - one bundle

● Salt - to taste

Some will also add cornmeal to Kalia.

This Jewish dish, mixed with Georgian spices and flavored, is the culinary property of two cultures, and no one disputes which recipe is more delicious.


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