Ajapsandali - Georgian Vegetarian Stew

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.

The original recipe calls for a whole head of garlic, but I find that’s too much unless you have fragrant fresh garlic, so use as much as you like. Ajapsandali is as good cold as it is hot or warm. 

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 

Discover more recipes of vibrant, colorful Georgian cuisine and make them real.

Get inspired here. 

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