What is adjika?
Simply put adjika is a flavour explosion bestowed upon humanity by the pleasant folks of Georgia. Easily constructed by throwing together a few basic ingredients and spices into a versatile and potent paste. The good news is anyone can make it. The bad news. You probably have to throw out that kimchi experiment you worked so hard on to store enough adjika.
For a while now we’ve been bombarded by everything Korean. Thankfully only with delicious food of which kimchi is by far the most preferred ammo. Tasty as it might be I am sure you have realised by now that it’s time to move on to the next big flavour the world has to offer. Right now Georgian food is making huge waves. Gaining popularity at the speed of light. Rightfully so too.
For those not familiar with Georgia food. The produce is quite simply awesome with the cuisine based around locally sourced and highly seasonal ingredients. While the cooking methods are kept simple to bring out the best of what the land so fruitfully provides.
A while ago I visited Georgia for a few days after I got acquainted with their wine and cuisine. As you can tell by now I got completely hooked. Although I absolutely can not resist meat cooked over an open fire made with real slow burning wood – I am actually going to give you an awesome vegan recipe to try your very first batch of adjika paste. Reason being that I had such good quality fresh produce on my trip. It actually over shadowed my beloved fire grilled meat.Yeah I know right. Never say never.
I first came across adjika as a sauce made with tomatoes. It arrived with some grilled lamb cutlets and although it was good lamb the sauce just rocked the party. To make a long story short I asked many folks about adjika. As with many of these pastes and sauces I got told loads of different recipes and each person had their own opinion on what is traditional and what is not. In the end my research brought me to a few key ingredients and spices which to my opinion makes this recipe the most versatile spice paste to use. Reason being that you can use it in anything from dipping sauces to making elaborate curries or stews.
How to make adjika?
Firstly you will need a few spices and dry ingredients. See the infographic below.
Toast a handful of walnuts and crush them into a fine powder.
To get the best flavour out of the spices we will toast them in a pan over medium heat while shaking the pan to prevent it from burning.
Once toasted and fragrant we will transfer the mix to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind into a finer mix.
Next we will purée some garlic, chili, coriander root and red peppers. If you like doing hand stands in the shower then add as much chili(along with their seeds) as your …. heart desires.
Once our ingredients are purée we are going to cook it on medium heat until the mix is fragrant and the raw smell of chili and garlic is gone.
Final step is to add in the spice mix, walnuts and season it with some salt and vinegar.
For now this is my adjika paste recipe. Make sure to return to get some great ideas on what to use it for. Alternatively just sign up to my newsletter and receive my latest recipes.