Ajapsandali (a-ZHAP-sahn-DOLL-ee) აჯაფსანდალი
This colorful vegetable stew resembles ratatouille but combines root and summer vegetables (and has no courgettes/zucchini). The vegetables cook together: cut them into good-size chunks, so they retain their ﬂavours and bite. What makes it, so Georgian is the number of fresh herbs that bring it to life.
SERVES 8–10 at a supra
PREPARATION 25 minutes
COOK 45 minutes
500 g / 1 lb 2 oz potatoes
300 g / 10 oz carrots
30 g / 1 oz / 2 tbsp butter
6 tbsp sunflower oil
¼ tsp dried summer savory (kondari) or wild thyme
675 g / 1 lb 8 oz small aubergines/eggplants, sliced crosswise
450 g / 1 lb tomatoes, peeled
2 red peppers, cut into bite-size chunks
115 g / 4 oz smaller, pale green peppers, seeded and quartered
400 g / 14 oz onions, chopped
30 g / 1 oz garlic / 8 garlic cloves, or to taste, roughly chopped fresh green chili, to taste freshly ground black pepper
20 g / ⅔ oz / ½ cup purple and/or green basil, chopped
20 g / ⅔ oz / ½ cup coriander/cilantro, chopped
10 g / ⅓ oz / ¼ cup parsley, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill salt
Peel and chop the potatoes and carrots into large, bite-size pieces. Heat the butter and oil with the kondari or thyme in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the potatoes and carrots, cover them, cook them over medium heat for 10–15 minutes, or start to soften. Stir occasionally.
Add the aubergines/eggplants to the pan, stirring well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Slice the tomatoes. Add the red and green peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, chilli and 1 tsp salt and stir well. Cover. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables give up their juices, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Test the aubergines/eggplants and potatoes for doneness. When they are tender, and the other vegetables seem cooked too, add the herbs. Stir them into the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Allow the ajapsandali to stand for at least 5 minutes before serving hot or at room temperature.
Tasting Georgia: A Food and Wine Journey in the Caucasus by Carla Capalbo
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