Mingrelian Walnut Kharcho

Mingrelian Walnut Kharcho

Anybody who tries authentic Mingrelian kharcho even once cannot deny that it is one of the most aromatic and delicious meals they’ve ever had. A firework of traditional Georgian flavours, kharcho combines meat, walnuts, coriander, garlic, and vinegar to create something truly special, but it is the smoked ajika - made especially for Mingrelian kharcho - that is the dish’s secret weapon. This is not to be confused with the exceptional kharcho soup in Mingrelian cuisine, which was included in the top 20 soups of CNN Travel. That’s a dish for another story!

How Is Walnut Kharcho Eaten in Samegrelo?

Mingrelian walnut kharcho is often paired with ghomi, and if you’re eating it in Samegrelo, then ghomi is a must. As the saying goes in Samegrelo, walnut kharcho should be so spicy that, if you were to spill it on the table, it would burn through the tablecloth. To counter this sharp and lively flavour, kharcho was paired with ghomi

Kharcho is made in different regions in different ways, and it is important to remember that using bell peppers instead of ajika will create an entirely different flavour. Authentic kharcho is made without corn flour, with Mingrelians calling kharcho made that way “made by a tsuntski/kubaki”, both of which are terms for a greedy or tight-fisted person.

Walnut kharcho can be made with a piece of beef loin or with chicken, although traditional Mingrelian kharcho is made with a specially chosen cut of moderately fatty, less bony brisket.

How to Make Authentic Mingrelian Kharcho


  • 1 kg beef;

  • 800 g onion;

If you do not have kharcho ajika, use a mixture of the ingredients given below:

  • 4 cloves garlic;

  • 1 tsp each dry coriander and blue fenugreek;

  • 2-3 smoked peppers;

  • 500 g minced walnuts

  • 100 g butter or tallow.


  1. Cut the beef into small pieces and boil them. 

  2. Remove the foam as soon as it appears, pour out the first boiled water, wash the beef, then cover it with boiling water and put it on a low flame to continue boiling.

  3. Once the meat gets tender, pour the broth into a separate container.

  4. Add the butter and finely chopped onions to a pot, cover it, and fry it (if the broth is fatty, you can skim the fat off and add it to the meat). Stir it from time to time so it does not stick to the bottom. Fry it until the onions start to brown.

  5. While this is happening, prepare the seasoning by adding the garlic, smoked red peppers, dried coriander, blue fenugreek, and salt to the minced walnuts and blend it together with the beef broth. 

In the past the seasoning would have been made using only a mortar and pestle to form a paste. While this can be time-consuming, it is said that the dish made with ground seasoning has an entirely different flavour to kharcho made without the paste. Of course, times have changed, and so Mingrelian kharcho seasoning can also be made in a blender.

  1. After adding the seasoning, it will take only a few minutes for the meat pot to be filled with flavor. As soon as it comes to a boil, you should immediately take the walnut broth off the fire, since it is not recommended for the walnut broth to boil for a long time.

  2. Finally, add one teaspoon of pomegranate juice or boiled white vinegar to the dish and immediately turn off the flame.

Mingrelians used to smoke the peppers over an open hearth or in the fireplace, a tradition which is preserved to this day in the villages of Samegrelo. Nearly every family has some of this special seasoning, which gives any dish an amazing flavor, stored away. 

Mingrelian walnut kharcho and ghomi is one of the most beloved dishes in Georgia. Nowadays, along with elarji, kupati, and gebzhalia, it has become a highly sought after dish by foreigners coming to Samegrelo.

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