Adjika, literally ‘red salt’, is a spicy and fragrant pepper paste from Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia. You’ll find it completely addictive and you’ll be using it as a condiment for everything, as they do in Abkhazia. It will keep in the fridge for a few days.






Skill level

Average: 4.3 (16 votes)



  • 4 red chillies, deseeded
  • 4 tomatoes, deseeded
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • ½ celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 15 g coriander leaves
  • 15 g basil leaves
  • 15 g dill fronds
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt



  • 1 slice white bread, crusts removed
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • 250 g minced pork
  • 250 g minced beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp barberries
  • 1 tbsp ground sumac
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt olive oil, for frying
  • Greek yogurt, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


For the adjika, put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse blend to a chunky paste. The flavour will become more rounded and mellow if you make the paste in advance and leave to sit for a while.

For the meatballs, soak the bread in the milk for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put all the other ingredients into a large bowl and use your hands to combine everything thoroughly. Mash together the bread and milk to make a paste, then mix this into the meatball mixture. Roll into meatballs; I like them golf-ball sized.

Heat a slick of oil in a frying pan and cook the meatballs in batches. Start at a high heat to brown the outside, then lower the temperature until the meat is cooked through.

Serve with the adjika and a generous dollop of yogurt.


Recipe and image from Samarkand by Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford (Kyle Books, hbk, $49.99). Read more about the food of this historic city here