Khinkali with a juicy cod filling

Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” Ruth Reichl

Khinkali is a very popular Georgian dumpling made of twisted knobs of dough. Originally – stuffed with meat and spices. It is considered to be one of the national dishes of Georgia. Different regions of Georgia make khinkali with different fillings. The most popular filling is pork/beef mix. In the mountains khinkali is often made with lamb filling.
This was my first time making this dish. The most time consuming part was preparation of dough – kneeding, rolling out and shaping the khinkalis. But practice makes it perfect – I’m confident next time would be much easier and faster.


  • Fish heads (carp)
  • Cod
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Herbs
  • Salt’n’pepper
  • All purpose flour
  • Water
  • Salt
First prepare the stock for the filling. I wanted to prepare a filling which at the end of the day, when eating khinkalis, would be super juicy as it is meant to be originally.
The reason why I wanted to use heads of carp was that the stock of this particular fish once cooled down, gets this creamy and thick consistency. So I thought it would also be easier to handle it while forming khinkalis. Truth be told all this thinking turned out for better – the taste was absolutely divine!
Back t stock – for three heads I used a 5 liter pot, filled it up and boiled just the heads for over an hour. Once cooked through, when the heads start kind of falling apart, strain the stock, add herbs, diced carrots and chopped garlic, salt’n’pepper to taste and boil for another 20 or so minutes. Suggestion – once the heads are removed, pick out bits and pieces of flesh and add to the stock. Let it cool down completely for it to thicken. Dice the cod into small pieces and add to thickened stock.
Prepare the dough. Although there are many recipes out there that also use egg, I only added salt and water. Kneeding by hands took quite a bit of time. The dough must be as smooth as possible. Once the dough is formed and homogeneous, let it sit covered for a little while (10-15 minutes) and then kneed a bit more.

Roll it out and cut ~15cm circles. Place a circle of dough on your palm, add a tablespoon of filling and starting on once side, form pleats until you grasp the top of dumpling where pleats meet and twist to seal it, forming a knot on top.

Please watch this video I found on youtube for a proper demonstration on how it’s done.


Once the fine art of forming khinkalis is complete, boil a pot of water, add some salt and the dumplings. Stir so they don’t stick to the bottom or to each other. When they float to the service, the cooking is done (up to 10 minutes). Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and serve hot with fresh ground pepper.

This is finger food! The best part about it – the inside contains savory and fragrant juicy filling. Pick a khinkali by the top of the knot, turn bottom up and take a bite :).
Bon appetit!

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