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+ servings

Dumplings: Dargin Khinkal

Course Main Dish, Soup
Cuisine Daghestani, Ossetian
Keyword dumplings, lamb, meat, recipe
Servings 6 portions


for meat and broth (6-quart pressure cooker "Instant Pot")

  • 1.5 lb beef shoulder prime
  • 1.5 lb beef short ribs with bone prime
  • 1 each onion
  • 1 each carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • 2 each bay leaf
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp safflower
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro

for dumplings

  • 7 oz wheat flour all-purpose, King Arthur brand preferred
  • 1/2 tsp Saf Instant Yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or any other mild tasting oil
  • 110 ml water warm (100F)
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil for brushing
  • 1 tbsp blue fenugreek for sprinkling

for sauce

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 oz broth beef, hot
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 1 tsp kosher salt adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground, adjust to taste
  • 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped


for meat and broth

  • In a medium sized pot, bring 1 gallon of water to boiling. If short ribs is a whole piece, cut it into four equal portions, each one with a rib bone. Place them in boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Transfer meat into the pot of a pressure cooker. Cut beef shoulder into six portions, blanch in the same water, add to the short ribs. Line strainer with a paper towel (unscented!) and strain water into the same pot with meat. Discard the towel with foam and scam.
  • Peel onion and quarter it. Peel carrot and cut into large chanks. Chop celery. Add all vegetables, bay leaf, black pepper, 6 peeled and smashed cloves of garlic, and safflower to the pot. Secure the lid and choose "Meat/Stew" button.
  • When done, take out meat, discurd bones. Strain broth, discard vegetables and spices. Keep meat submerged in the broth.

for dumplings (18 mini buns)

  • In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. Combine liquid ingredients in a separate bowl, add them to dry ingredients, stir with chopsticks, knead, and ferment for 1-2 hours (72-74F) until doubled, or refrigerated for 12 hours.
  • Dust working surface with flour. Roll the dough into a 7 x 18" rectangular. It should be about 1/8" thick. Apply a thin layer of walnut oil with a culinary brush, sprinkle with blue fenugreek, and roll it tightly. You should get a cylinder 1" D, 18" long. Slice it into 18 portions 1" long. Place them vertically in a steaming basket lined with greased parchment, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Start boiling water in a steamer. It takes 5-6 minutes for these dumplings to steam. They almost double in size when ready for cooking, make sure there is enough space between them.

for sauce

  • Peel and finely dice garlic. Place it in a small bowl, season with salt and black pepper, and add 6oz (3/4 cup) of hot beef stock. Stir and let it cool down to room temperature. Add sour cream and finely chopped cilantro, combine, and adjust seasoning to your taste.

for serving

  • Prepare a dinner plate, a sauce bowl, and an 8oz cup for broth for each person. Start steaming khinkal and reheating cooked meat and broth at the same time. Portion the sauce, the meat, and the broth. Top them with fresh cilantro. Add three steamed dumplings to each plate with meat and serve.


The philosophy of the Daghestani khinkal
“The Daghestani cuisine is medieval food: just cooked meat, just broth and dough,” says Murad. “There have never been any kings or wealthy people in these lands that is why the food is simple. Historically, chefs invented dishes to impress their lords, whereas around here everybody have been more or less equal. We had neither classes, nor castes. [...] The secret of the Daghestani cuisine is in environmentally clean food. Sheep graze on pristine meadows, and feed only on grass instead of commercial mixed feeds,” assures Murad. “Most importantly, the flavor of meat and broth shall be free of chemicals. Otherwise, if the animal is fed with some odd stuff it surfaces in the flesh. In the mountains the mutton preserves the fragrance of flowers and grass the sheep used to eat.”
“Any man, any mountaineer can make khinkal,” adds Rasul Parkuyev. “Traditionally, our men spent much time on the road, in military expeditions, and they needed to cook something. Despite its simplicity, the khinkal may be quite diverse. There are as many recipes as there are ethnic groups. [...]
Surely, khinkal is made in a variety of ways but the point is that the dough, the meat, the broth and the sauce are served separately.
The Georgian khinkali, in principle, consists of the same ingredients but it is served differently. [...]
Usually, khinkal is eaten with fingers. Lumps of cooked dough are dipped into the sauce, eaten with meat and washed down with broth. Some prefer forks and knives but it is believed the genuine taste of the dish is lost because of that.[...]