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.
- 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
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.