It is known that the name churchkhela comes from the Megrelian words “chkhur”, which translates as “cold”, and “chkher”, which means “hot”. The name fully reflects the process of making churchkhela, when the nuts are first dipped into a hot mass, and then the chupchkhela is cooled while drying. By the way, in addition to Georgian cuisine, the recipe for churchkhela is found in the cuisines of Armenia, Ukraine, as well as in the Black Sea and Caucasian regions of Russia.
- wheat flour – 750 g
- peeled nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds) – 700 g
- natural grape juice – 3 l
- cornmeal – 250 g
Step-by-step recipe for cooking churchkhela
- Roast the nuts in a dry frying pan for 3-4 minutes. Cool slightly. Peel hazelnuts and almonds by rubbing the kernels between the palms. Chop walnuts into large pieces.
- Using a thick needle, string the nuts (2/3 of the length of the thread) onto several strong threads 45 cm long. Make a large knot at the end. Tie the workpieces in pairs by the free ends and hang them on a wide crossbar.
- Prepare grape jelly. Pour the juice into a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Pour 1 liter of juice into a bowl and let cool. Boil the remaining juice for another 10 minutes.
- Pour corn and wheat flour into a bowl with chilled juice and stir thoroughly until the lumps are completely dissolved.
- Gradually, stirring, pour the resulting slurry into the boiling juice. Cook for about 25 minutes, until the consistency of thick porridge.
- Place a tray under the crossbar with blanks. Dip each blank in grape jelly and hang on the crossbar. When all the threads with nuts are doused with jelly and dry a little, repeat the procedure. Place the crossbar with “raw” churchkhela in a well-ventilated room for 2 weeks. Store the finished churchkhela, wrapped in parchment, in a dark place.
Churchkhela is a delicacy of Georgian cuisine. It exists under other names in neighboring countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan. According to legend, churchkhela was originally a “warrior’s food”, it could be stored for as long as you like at any temperature, which was important in turbulent times.