Oh, what to say about khatchapuri (Georgian: ხაჭაპური, also spelled khachapuri. There is yet a consistent way to anglicize the Georgian alphabet)! It was the food I was most excited to try and was I let down? I’m not sure. Nine+ months after arriving in Georgia, I have to admit, khatchapuri doesn’t really excite me (and to be honest, I think I prefer lobiani, which, similar to khatchapuri, is made with a bean paste).
Back in America, I associated the Adjaruli kind with khatchapuri but so far, I’ve only had it twice, both times at restaurants. But I’ve since learned that there are actually so many different kinds of khatchapuri and Adjaruli is far from the most common type. There’s regional variations and even within the regions, there’s baked and stove-cooked, flaky and doughy, etc. So much khatchapuri to try!
I’m a little confused as to what kind of cheese Georgians use in their khatchapuri. Typically, families use the cheese they make themselves (usually Imeruli) and shred it or grind it to make “khatcho.” However, on the New York Times, they say Georgians use sulguni cheese (a mozzarella-y but slightly drier and saltier cheese). But this Georgian website says Imeruli cheese! Not sure what to think, but let’s just go with the Georgian website.
Anyways, here’s a simple guide to the most common varieties of khatchapuri! Most of these, you can order at a restaurant (save the Ossetian kinds. Those you’ll probably only be able to eat at someone’s home).
From the Imereti region, this is the most standard kind of khatchapuri.
From Adjara, this is the boat shaped-kind and topped with a raw egg and butter
From Samegrelo, it’s exactly like Imeruli but topped with more cheese.
Georgian lasagna! This kind is from Abkhazia (which is one of the disputed regions bordering Russia and cause of a war in the early ’90s). In between each layer is a combination of “khatcho” and butter.
Similar to Imeruli, this kind looks exactly like Imeruli khatchapuri but is made with a mixture of potatoes and cheese. This is the Ossetian way of making khatchapuri and also how my PST host family made it, despite not being Ossetian. This kind is my favorite, I think.
Made with beetroot! This is also an Ossetian way of making khatchapuri.
Hungry now? Here are some links to some recipes, some of which already include substitutions for the khatcho: