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"Kharcho" T'bilisi Local Custom Tip by traveloturc

T'bilisi Local Customs: 33 reviews and 75 photos

by traveloturc

Kharcho - A meat stew
This soup is actually of Georgian origin, which is bordered by the Black Sea to the west, Russia to the north, Turkey and Armenia to the south, and Azerbaijan to the southeast. Georgia has a rich culinary tradition from which Russia has borrowed. Kharcho, a lamb and rice soup, is one of those recipes. There are many variations from family to family and region to region. In "Please to the Table" (Workman Publishing Co., Inc., 1990), author Anya von Bremzen says she prefers to use beef because the flavor is not as strong as lamb. For me, lamb produces a more authentic flavor, so that is how I prepare my kharcho. Some cooks add mint and other herbs like tarragon, but I prefer mine unadulterated.
What is unequivocal is the use of tklapi, a dried sour plum roll (like fruit leather) available at import shops. If you can't find it, modern cooks use tamarind paste available at Indian grocers or a lot of lemon juice.
What I find interesting in "Please to the Table" is Bremzen's mention of Communist Russia stolovaya, or workers' cafeterias, where kharcho was as ubiquitous as in the most elegant restaurants. Stolovaya is equivalent to a Polish milk bar or bar mleczny.

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  • Updated Oct 11, 2015
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