About Food – Megrelian Ajika
Ajika (Georgian: აჯიკა) is a hot, spicy paste used to flavor meat and fish dishes mainly in Samegrelo and Abkhazia. It is made with hot red peppers, garlic, herbs and spices. In appearance and consistency ajika resembles Italian red pesto. There are several types of ajika. In this recipe we show how to make Megrelian ajika. This type of ajika is very spicy and very hot!
Ingredients: 500 grams of hot red peppers, 500 grams of sweet red peppers, 200 grams of fresh parsley, 150 grams of celery leaves, 150 grams of purple basil, 400 grams of garlic, 3 tbs of blue fenugreek, 3 tbs of dried coriander, 3 tbs of dried marigold, 2 tbs of dill (fresh or dry), and salt (at least 50 grams). Note: If you want your ajika to be super hot use 700 grams of hot red peppers and 300 grams of sweet red peppers instead of the 500/500 ratio.
Preparation: Put the peppers and herbs onto newspaper and leave overnight to thoroughly dry.
When ready to make the ajika, remove all of the seeds from the hot red peppers. CAUTION: Wear gloves to do this or your fingers and hands will burn from the capsaicin (heat producing chemical) contained in the peppers. Save the seeds – dry them and use them in other recipes.
Remove all of the seeds from the sweet red peppers.
Remove the skins from the garlic.
Crush the hot and sweet peppers. We used a meat grinder to do this.
Crush the garlic.
Crush the parsley, celery leaves and basil.
The crushed ingredients should look like the picture below.
Add the spices and salt.
Use your hands to thoroughly mix the ajika. CAUTION: Wear gloves to do this or your fingers and hands will burn from the capsaicin (heat producing chemical) contained in the peppers.
When mixed, the ajika will look like the picture below.
Serving: Serve as a condiment with meat and fish dishes. It is also used in cooking, especially chicken dishes. Megrelians enjoy ajika so much that they sometimes spread it on bread and eat it!
Enjoy your Megrelian ajika!