My love affair with adjika

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A version of this recipe was used at KinoVino3: Flavours of the Pomegranate

One of the (very few) perks of growing up in the Soviet Union for me was the exposure to the vibrant cuisine of different Soviet republics. My preference always went to food from Georgia. The abundance of herbs, nuts and spices always attracted me and the key ingredient that stole my heart was adjika – a red spicy powder or paste with subtle smokey, nutty taste. It has some ancestral connections to Indian curry and bares some resemblance to the North African harissa. Adjika can be added to pretty much any (savoury) dish and here is my absolute favourite recipe:

Red kidney bean stew with feta, walnuts and coriander; my own variation on a traditional Georgian bean stew called ‘lobio’.

Ingredients:

1 tin of red kidney beans

1 onion

2-3 cloves of garlic (the amount is really up to you)

2-3 ripe tomatoes

1-2 tbs of tomato paste

1 tsp of adjika paste(again adjust the amount according to your taste)

handful of walnuts

1/3 pack of feta cheese

fresh coriander leaves

1/2 unwaxed lemon

Method:

Dice the onion and finely chops the garlic.

Fry in olive oil over medium heat in a deep pan or a pot until almost cooked.

Add tomato paste, adjika and chopped tomatoes; wait for the bubbles to appear.

Reduce heat. Add red kidney beans and allow them to soak up the flavours (aprox. 15-20 mins)

Chop walnuts and coriander leaves. Crumble the feta cheese.

Remove from heat and stir in the ingredients above.

Allow for feta to melt and let the stew sit for a few minutes. Plate the fiery mixture and squeeze a bit or a lot of lemon juice before serving. Add a few coriander leaves for decoration.

Seat tightly and prepare to be blown away by the unique flavours and textures of this dish. A chunky bit of sourdough to mop up the sauce would not be a bad idea, though a bread-free option is just as delicious!

Note: this recipe does not require salt, as feta and adjika paste will do the trick. It also works equally well without the feat (like in these pictures, if you are opting for a vegan meal)

 

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