What kind of dish is this?
This is a Georgian dish in which grilled chicken is dressed with garlic sauce.
Originally, it was made with only butter, chicken and garlic, but in the capital city of Tbilisi, various dairy products were added to the dish.
Today, there are many variations, including those that use no dairy products other than butter, and those that use milk and cream as well as butter.
Nothing is known about the history of this dish, except that it is named after the village of Shkmeruli.
Instead, various legends exist.
At a restaurant along the military road.
The chef made a herb-grilled chicken that was no longer fresh.
He didn’t like the smell of the chicken, even though it was herb-grilled.
He used lots of garlic to get rid of the smell and served it to his guests.
The customer was satisfied with the taste and asked the chef for the name of the dish.
The dish didn’t have a name, but the chef, who was from Shkmeruli village, replied that it was a local dish.
As a result, the dish was named Shkmeruli.
At a house in Shkmeruli village.
The landlord wanted to prepare chicken and bazhe (walnut sauce) for his visitors.
But the chicken was not fresh enough and there was not enough walnuts, an essential ingredient for Bazhe.
He used garlic instead of walnuts, partly to get rid of the smell of the chicken.
As a result, the dish became known as “Shkmeruli in Shkmeruli village”.
※There are many other legends as well.
Because of Georgia’s location at a major transportation hub, many different cultures have come and gone.
Shkmeruli, in my opinion, is a natural extension of the many different cultures that have come together.
Various Shkmeruli variations
For example, in the case of Shkmeruli village, which is the name of the dish.
Here, no dairy products are used except butter and ghee.
Since no milk or cream is used, it is almost transparent in colour.
In other parts of the country, it is usually close to white or yellow.
When Shkmeruli became known in the capital city of Tbilisi, Tbilisi chefs adjusted it with a variety of dairy products, including milk and sour cream.
These, in my opinion, spread from the capital city, where most people congregate, to the various regions.
An olive oil-based shkmeruli also exists, with many variations that look and taste different from region to region, home to home and shop to shop.
Georgia is famous for being “the oldest wine producing country in the world” and in this case, I paired Shkmeruli with fruit vodka.
Also, this time I served it with bread, just like the locals, instead of my favorite rice… which is a nice combination!
It’s very satisfying, as in “delicious flavors of chicken oil, butter, and garlic → refreshing with a hint of sweet vodka.”
By the way…I enjoyed Shkmeruli and vodka before going to work in the morning, and it’s good to have a day like this once in a while.
The bad breath caused by garlic is greatly reduced with a mask, you know.
I walk to work, so if I don’t drink too much vodka, it shouldn’t be a problem.
And if you’re interested in wine, food, tourism, and more in Georgia, you can find a variety of information here.
→Let’s Go Georgia
I also thank the Georgia Embassy in Japan for providing me with a lot of information about the various legends and the use of different dairy products in different regions.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you. Thank you so much.
Recipe of Shkmeruli
- 350 g chicken
- Free salt
- Free pepper
- 15 g butter
- 30 g garlic / grated or chopped
- 1 tbsp coriander powder / option
- 200 ml water or milk / just enough to soak up the chicken
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a frying pan. Add the chicken. Grill the chicken, holding it down with some kind of weight. Cook for 5-10 minutes on medium heat.
- Invert. Grill the chicken again, holding it down with some kind of weight. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken. Cut the chicken into pieces and place in a bowl.
- Add garlic and coriander powder to the pan in which the chicken was cooked. Stir. Cook for a few minutes. Add water or milk. Simmer for a few minutes.
- Add the sauce to the bowl with the chicken. Cook in the oven for a few minutes.→ Or return the chicken to the pan. Simmer for a few minutes.Finish.