Hats and Stomachs

Khinkali (Georgian: ხინკალი) is a juicy Georgian dumpling, filled with seasoned minced meat (lamb or beef + pork). Minced onions, red chili pepper, and cumin are always part of the recipe, while herbs (cilantro and parsley) are optional. Khinkali is supposed to be eaten with hands (no utensils). It is picked up by the top of the dumpling (aka kudi or “hat”) and turned upside down. First, you bite a small hole to suck all the meat juices trapped inside. Than, you can eat the rest of the dumpling, except for the part you’ve been using as a holder, the “hat.” Since khinkali is a communal dish, watch how many “hats” you collect on your plate to make sure nobody’s left behind.

kudi (Georgian: ქუდი, "hat") or k'uch'i (Georgian: კუჭი, "stomach")
kudi (Georgian: ქუდი, “hat”) or k’uch’i (Georgian: კუჭი, “stomach”)

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

Khinkali got my attention again recently, when I saw the video how make double dumplings. They are fun to make, but how to eat them? It is also fun! Outer part of khinkali cooled down pretty fast to safely hold it in my hand.

Double Khinkali
Double Khinkali

How to Scale the Dough Recipe

I highly recommend weighing your ingredients with a digital scale every time you make the dough for this recipe, because it is very sensitive to hydration level. Place a bowl on kitchen scales and measure the flour. Zero the weight and add an egg yolk(s). Add enough milk to reach 50% of flour weight. Mix and knead. Voila!

It takes about 12-15g of flour per dumpling, depending on their size. The one on the picture is 13g of flour per dumpling. When cooking for two, you need 120-130g of flour to make 5 dumplings per person. It’s easy to scale the recipe, when you need to double it, but what if you need to cook for three people keeping the same portions? Follow the ratio 2 parts of dry ingredients (flour) to 1 part of liquid ingredients (egg yolk + milk): mix 190g flour with 95g of 1 egg yolk and milk mixture.


Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time4 mins
Total Time1 hr 14 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Dish
Cuisine: Georgian
Keyword: beef, dumplings, lamb, lycooking, lyukum cooking lab, meat, minced meat, recipe, spiced
Servings: 10 dumplings


for dough

  • 130 g wheat flour all-purpose
  • 15 g egg yolk 1 large
  • 50 g milk
  • 1/8 tsp salt

for stuffing

  • 125 g beef chuck, sirloin, etc. (working muscles), ground
  • 125 g pork shoulder ground
  • 50 g onion minced
  • 1/2 tsp dry red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin ground
  • 120 ml water cold
  • 1 tbsp cilantro dry or double for fresh, optional
  • 1/2 tbsp basil dry, optional
  • 1 tsp blue fenugreek powder (utskho suneli), optional


for dough

  • Mix all ingredients, knead an elastic dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 1 hour in room temperature or overnight refrigerated.

for stuffing

  • Mix meat, spices, and herbs. Season it and knead for a few minutes. Add water 2-3 tbsp at a time, constantly stirring and incorporating it into the meat mixture.

for shaping and cooking khinkali

  • Fill big pot with water and place it over high heat. You need about 2 gallons of boiling salty water to cook 10 dumplings of this size.
  • Dust your working surface with flour. Unwrap the dough, roll it into a cylinder (1" D), and cut it to 10 equal portions. Flatten each portion to make round wrappers (1.5 " D). Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Work with one dumpling wrapper at a time, keeping the rest covered with plastic wrap. Roll each wrapper 2.5" D, fill it with 1.5 tbsp of meat mixture, shape, and place under the plastic wrap. Repeat with all wrappers. See Recipe Notes for links to video instructions.
  • The water will be boiling by the time you are done shaping the dumplings. Place all dumplings in boiling water at the same time and cook for about 5 minutes. Do not cover. At the beginning, they will sink to the bottom. When they are cooked, they will float. Give them about 2 more minutes after that happens and strain.
    Boiling Khinkali
  • In a bowl, place 1-2 tbsp butter and hot cooked dumplings. Gently shake the bowl to move dumplings. Their heat will melt the butter and butter will coat them preventing sticking and drying. Serve plain or sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper. Place a bowl with water mixed with lemon juice for hands.
    Double Khinkali