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Seven Khinkali (Georgian Topknot Dumplings) on a white plate with fresh cilantro.

Khinkali (Georgian Topknot Dumplings)

A recipe for Khinkali (Georgian Topknot Dumplings) from the cookbook, Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Georgian
Keyword dumpling, Georgia, Georgian, khinkali, meat
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 20 -24 Dumplings



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for surfaces
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup water


  • 1 pound ground lamb, beef, veal, or pork (or a mixture)
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallion greens
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Generous grinding of black pepper

Garlic-Vinegar Dipping Sauce:

  • 10 medium crisp fresh garlic cloves (3 tablespoons garlic paste)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Pinch sugar
  • Finely chopped fresh cilantro optional


To make the dough:

  • Place the flour and salt in a bowl, add the water, and mix well. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, until smooth.
  • Alternatively, place the flour and salt in a food processor and, with the processor running, add the water through the feed tube. Process just until the dough comes together, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. If the dough is still sticky, aadd more flour to your work surface and knead it in.
  • Seal the dough in a plastic bag and set aside for at least 30 minutes, or up to 6 hours.

To make the filling:

  • Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl and knead well to blend them together, then cover and set aside (refrigerate if the wait will be longer than an hour).

To assemble:

  • Half an hour before you want to serve the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cover and keep at a simmer while you prepare the dumplings.
  • Flour your work surface and turn the dough out. Cut it into 4 pieces. Flatten and stretch one piece of dough, or use a rolling pin to roll it out; you want a thin oval about 10 inches long.
  • Use the rim of a jar or bowl that is about 4 inches in diameter as a guide and cut out circles with a knife, cutting them close together. Pull the scraps together, roll out again, and cut out another circle or two.
  • Fill the first circles: Place a generous tablespoon of filling in the center of one circle. Pull up a bit of the edge and then another bit next to it, pleating the second one over the first, and continue around the circle until you have created a pillow with a gathered top. Pinch the top 1/2 inch below the top edges of the dough and twist to seal the topknot well. Set aside on a well-floured surface.
  • Repeat to fill the remaining rolled-out circles of dough. (If your kitchen is very dry, cover the shaped dumplings loosely with plastic wrap or a slightly damp cloth.) Then stretch or roll out a second piece of dough and make more dumplings.
  • Once the first two batches are shaped, bring the pot of water back to a vigorous boil and toss in the dumplings. They will sink to the bottom and rise again after 5 to 7 minutes; once they have floated up, boil for another minute. Meanwhile, roll out the other pieces of dough and shape the rest of the dumplings.
  • Lift the cooked dumplings out of the pot with a slotted spoon and serve immediately in individual bowls or on a serving plate. Serve the sauce of your choice on the side. Cook and serve the remaining dumplings.

To make the Garlic-Vinegar Dipping Sauce:

  • Mash the garlic to a paste with the salt in a mortar or small food processor, or finely mince and mash with a spoon.
  • Place in a small bowl, add the vinegar, water, and sugar, and stir to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Stir in the coriander if you wish.