Tsandili, the healthy dessert
Hello everyone, I hope that you are all doing just fine!
In this article, I want to tell you about this dish, which is called many names, but we call it Tsandili in Kakheti. Well, they also call it "Korkoti", "Kolivo" or "Kolio". The thing is that I know this dish by the name "Tsandili" and you can call it whatever you want.
Well, to be honest, I really love Tsandili and I can eat plenty of it. I think I can’t really get tired of eating it. This dish is really great and delicious and it’s not that heavy. When eating it, you don’t feel that fullness, that’s why you just keep eating it and never think about stopping.
To tell you the truth, the first time that I tasted this dish was on someone’s funeral. It’s a ritual dish and it’s usually prepared when someone dies and they bury this person. You should know that it’s not usually prepared at homes on usual days and it’s not a very common dish for that reason. I mean, it’s for "Kelekhis" and no one really loves preparing something that is prepared usually on burials. Thus, you shouldn’t expect to see this dish somewhere in usual places, it’s not even sold anywhere and people don’t usually prepare it at homes, as I’ve already mentioned.
During burials, they usually serve it cold in some tall-yet-small glasses. I remember, when we were children and we were in a burial, we ate the whole glass that was in front of us on the table. Then we took the other one that was further away. Well, we would go to other places, take those glasses of Tsandili and eat them. It was pretty awesome eating it. In my great grandmother’s funeral, there was so much Tsandili that there were large bowls of it and they told us, that we could eat it as much as we wanted. I remember that we were so happy with having plenty of Tsandili that day. And there was even plenty of it left there! It’s a great feeling when you are free to do anything you like.
Anyways, this dish is just a great one and I just love it. I didn’t really know in my childhood that it was a ritual dish and they used to prepare it on burials, I always wondered why they didn’t make it at our home or somewhere else. When I understood that, it was some years ago and then I knew why I couldn’t find it anywhere but in burials. However, preparing it is not that hard and it’s not that of a big deal to have it at home. I mean it’s like a having any other dish. The other day, I just really craved for it because it’d been some years that I hadn't eaten some Tsandili. I decided to prepare it myself, as there was no place where I could buy it already prepared.
I googled the recipe and I searched for the better one for some time. I wanted it to be easy to prepare and delicious, just like the one that I have tasted. I was pretty focused on what I was looking for, and it took me some time to actually find the right recipe for that Tsandili. However, it still was not it because those people who prepared that Tsandili were my aunts or grandmothers. I haven’t seen the preparation process of anything there for those burials and I never knew who prepared it, so I couldn't ask that person about the recipe.
Getting all those ingredients
Anyways, there were some recipes in Georgian and in English. Of course, recipes in Georgian would be better and I saw this one which I found interesting and the most helpful. I decided to make my Tsandili with that recipe and see if it was worth preparing or not. However, I needed some ingredients, so I took the list and went shopping. Although I didn’t really know where exactly I could buy the wheat, I had some ideas where it might have been and that’s why I hit the bazaar at the end of the street where I live. I usually go to that bazaar when I have to buy some things like that and there’s usually many stuff around. I guess they can have wheat in some large supermarkets, such as Carrefour in East Point. However, I didn’t really know that for sure, and although it’s like 20 minutes walk from my home, I still didn’t go there. Rather, I went to the bazaar where there was a higher chance of getting wheat easily.
Well, the main things that I needed were wheat, walnuts, honey, raisins and sugar. However, there were some other things that were put in that Tsandili, which I remember that I liked very much. I could remember what they were and add it to my dish. They added some pickled walnuts and that gave it some special taste, so that I could add that thing, too. However, it’s not that cheap to buy that pickled walnuts and you may not really buy it everywhere. I would have to look for it, too, but perhaps, in the large supermarkets.
First of all, I went to buy some wheat. As you know, there are some types of wheat. They can be bulghur or whole ones. I needed the whole ones, so that I saw those ones there in bazaar, where they have all those beans, rice, macaroni and flour . I bought the wheat and I was pretty satisfied, as I thought that I wouldn’t find it there and I would have to think of another place where I could buy some whole wheat.
After that, I had to buy some walnuts because the ones that I had in my fridge were not really good ones. I mean, they didn’t taste great and they were kind of old and not good, I just wanted to have some good and neatly chosen walnuts. I wanted my dish to be perfect. Otherwise, I would have wasted my time and effort in something that I wouldn’t really like. So that I went to see some walnuts and since I was already in the bazaar, I looked for walnuts there. There was this one lady with walnuts which looked pretty good and I thought that I would buy those ones there. I went to her and asked her about the price. Well, it was something up to 30 laris a kilogramme and I took somewhere about 300 grams. Those people in bazaars don’t really like it when you demand exact amounts. They are used to weighing those things half a kilogramme, one or two. Once me and my friend were in bazaar and we wanted to have some kiwis and we wanted 4 of them. When we told that lady that we just wanted four of them, she started shouting and told us that she wouldn’t sell us 4 kiwis. We were really shocked and surprised, it was really strange for us because we didn’t really know why she got that mad. Soon I realized that it’s all linked together. Those people feel laughed at when you tell them that you want an exact amount. They want you to buy more and they want to sell more, and that’s why they tell you to take more. If you are not sure about yourself, they talk so much that you may come out of that bazaar with so many products that you don’t even need and won’t use anytime soon if you are not a cook and you are not throwing a big party. I warn you, don’t be very nice and don’t buy anything that you don’t want to buy. If you buy one thing, that you don’t want and don’t need at that very moment, you will end up buying more things, and you may spend all your money there in buying stuff that you don’t even need.
Anyways, I still needed some things and I knew that they had those raisins there in the bazaar or I could buy some raisins in the large supermarket. At the supermarket, I could have those raisins chosen by myself while they don't give me a choice in bazaars. I mean the sellers take those raisins, put them into the polyethylene without letting you choose. When you choose them in supermarkets, you can even choose those ones that you like. No one can tell you anything if you choose each piece of those raisins there, so I decided to buy those raisins at the supermarket. There’s this Fresco supermarket nearby my place and it’s on the way home, so I could go there and get the raisins there. Besides, the prices were almost the same and I just needed 200 grams of raisins. As I’ve already mentioned, buying such amount of products at bazaars is pretty dangerous and it was better that I bought them at the supermarket.
As I’ve been telling you, Tsandili is mainly prepared with wheat, walnuts, raisins and honey. You can add some other things too, it all depends on what you want your dish to have in it. If you want it to be rich, you can add so many things that you can’t even imagine. Most people add some dried fruits and pickled ones, too. Personally, it’s very delicious, when it has many things in it.
So, let me tell you about my Tsandili and how I prepared it.
- Whole wheat, 600 grams
- Walnuts, 300 grams
- Raisins, 200 grams
- Honey, 250 grams
- Pickled cherry (optional)
- Pickled walnuts (optional)
First of all, you should start by preparing the wheat and you should cook it. It needs some time for it to get cooked. That’s why it’s really good if you soak the wheat in some water until it gets ready because it will be easier to get cooked. That’s what they usually do with the beans and rice. They soak those things for a night. I decided to have the wheat soaked in warm water for a night and I would prepare it the next day. I hoped that it wouldn’t need too much time to get the whole wheat cooked because it’s really necessary for the wheat to get cooked very well. If it needs the whole day to get cooked, it’s really bad because no one has the whole day to wait for something to get cooked. It’s not like we can be at home the whole day and pay attention to the wheat.
There are some ways to prepare wheat. First of all, you can take the soaked wheat, put it into the saucepan and pour some water until it doubles the amount of wheat. You should have it on a low heat and wait for it to get well cooked. Mainly, it should absorb the water and that’s how you know, that it’s ready. However, it may not be ready even then, or maybe it didn't absorb all the water, you won’t really know. That's why you have to taste it from time to time and see whether it’s cooked or not. When you decide that it’s ready, you should evaluate the water. If there’s too much water left, you should spill it out, and if there’s a little left, you can keep it like that. Otherwise, you will need to cook the whole dish once again after you add the rest of ingredients.
The other way to cooking the wheat is just the same, but when it’s cooked and done, you take it from the heat, wrap it in some towels and leave it like that in a warm place. If it has some water left in it, you should spill it out, too. That way you can leave it in a warm place and have it like that for some time.
After cooking the wheat, there’s nothing really difficult in the preparation process, I mean, you just have to add those ingredients to the cooked wheat.
Well, first of all, you should have those raisins washed and have them in some water for a couple of minutes and then take them out and dry them with a towel. If you are adding some other dried fruit, like kuraga, you should have them soaked and dried with a towel as well. You might want to slice them into smaller pieces. Well, you can chop them just as you want, or you can even not chop them at all. However, it’s better if you cut them into smaller pieces, because that way they won’t be that obvious and they will mingle more easily. They will be everywhere and you will have them in every bite.
The next thing that you need to do is to slice those walnuts. It’s better if you slice them like they slice them when preparing Gozinaki. It’s really not that simple to slice them, you need much time for doing that. That’s really not that good for anyone and wasting time for that is not that simple. Nowadays, everyone is very busy and they don’t really have some time for those things. It’s like slicing those walnuts. I guess you can do it in some other ways. I mean there’s this chopper that I had and once, when we were preparing some Gozinaki, we had this idea of chopping those walnuts in a machine. We put those walnuts in it and started that machine. It sliced everything very well. However, those slices were a little bit thinner than when slicing the walnuts yourself with knife. It was still great because it was just one or two clicks and it was all sliced in only one minute. I was pretty satisfied with that idea and decided to slice the walnuts like that for my Tsandili dish. I sliced them in the chopper and it sliced them pretty well if you ask me. If you don’t want to slice those walnuts, you can crash them a little and put them in your dish, or you can even have them the whole ones there if you like them that way. I know that some people like those whole walnuts in their dishes. It’s all up to you of course and how you like your dish to be and taste.
If you want to add some other things, like pickled cherries or walnuts, you can add them to the wheat after cooking it. In this recipe that I found on the Internet, they added 1 cup of pickled white cherries to their Tsandili. However, I don’t really like those pickled white cherries and I didn’t use them in my Tsandili dish. It was a good idea to have some pickled walnuts in it. I had eaten Tsandili with some chopped pickled walnuts and it was pretty delicious, I really liked it and that’s why I decided to have them in my dish.
You can buy some pickled walnuts in the supermarkets. There’s this Kula brand which has some different pickled things in some cute glass cans. My mother loves those pickled things and she always buys them. Most of all, she likes those pickled figs, mandarins. She also loves pickled walnuts, but she doesn’t really buy them because it’s not always accessible. I went to this Fresco supermarket, but they didn’t have that pickled walnuts there. I decided to pay a visit to Carrefour East Point, where there are some various things. You can buy anything you want there, so I bought that pickled walnuts there and brought them home. Everything was ready to be blended!
I didn’t mention the honey because I had it at home. We usually buy and store it. If you don’t have some honey at home, you can always buy it in those large supermarkets, though they are kind of expensive.
When the wheat is cooked and ready and stuff, you should just add those raisins and walnuts and pickled stuff. Then you should add that honey, put the saucepan on the gas and boil it a little. After that, the dish is ready. You can leave it like that, or you can wrap it in towels and leave it in a warm place. When it cools down, you can put it into the fridge and let it get cold. Usually it’s served cold, but it’s also OK if you leave it out of the fridge and eat it that way. That’s just what I like.
Eating some Tsandili is pretty good, healthy and delicious. You should eat it from time to time. Trust me, when you taste it, you won’t be disappointed and you will just love it. Most people like when they taste it! Besides, if you add other things, it will be even more delicious. As you can see, it’s really easy to prepare it. I mean, you can cook the wheat, add other things and boil the whole dish again. However, you should know when you want to prepare it because then you will have some time to soak the wheat the night before, or even for a couple of hours, so the wheat won’t need too much time to get cooked well and you won’t spend much time waiting for it to be prepared.
As I have told you, Tsandili is one of my favourite dishes. It’s a dessert because it’s sweet with honey in it. If you want it to be sweeter, you can add some more honey or sugar. Usually they add some sugar to it because they want it to be sweet. It’s more delicious, when it’s sweet. However, I don’t really like those things very sweet, so adding a little bit of sugar will be enough, I think, but it all depends on the sweetness of that honey and sugar. That’s why I always say, that you should first taste your dish before you serve it to decide whether it’s good or lacks something. You should add those ingredients- It’s better if it lacks something because, in that case, you can always add those things little by little by tasting it, and then you will stop adding more things. When it has too much of something, you can’t really do much in that case.
There’s another thing I have already mentioned about Tsandili dish,how it is a ritual dish in Georgia, how people use it on burials and how they usually prepare it for the dead souls on that day. Now that I have googled Tsandili, it seems like it has just become this ritual dish. They used to prepare it as a daily dish. Some years or centuries ago, people used to prepare it on daily basis and they would eat it whenever they wanted. It was an usual meal for everyone. Then, some time later, it became this ritual dish and it’s exclusively prepared on those days and people think that they should only prepare it on burials in Kelekhi. Well, it shouldn’t be like that. People should prepare that dish at home whenever they feel like it. It’s really a delicious and healthy dish, it has raisins, honey, walnuts and whole wheat. All those ingredients are natural and full of vitamins, it’s just great for our organism and mind and everything. When you have a huge cake or cookies, just think about it and remember that there’s this great dish called Tsandili and you can prepare it and serve it. You won’t need any cakes or heavy desserts like those ones!
I always thought that preparing it was pretty difficult and that those people preparing it needed much time and effort to prepare it. They prepare it very well. I mean, that Tsandili was always very delicious and I was really surprised because when being on those occasions, such as burials, there are many people, of course, and you need to prepare plenty of the dishes in pretty large portions. When you are preparing something in such portions, it usually gets more difficult. it’s like that dish shouldn’t be very delicious because there’s too much of it to be prepared and you can’t really control the taste, but it was surprisingly delicious and I was pretty shocked about that. Maybe it’s even better when you have plenty of ingredients and you won’t just have anything too much there.
I hope, that this dish will be interesting for you and you will consider my recommendations and prepare this dish some time. You know, I have read somewhere in the comments, that there is Tsandili sold in supermarkets and I don’t know, which supermarkets was this lady referring to, however, I’m going to look for it in some places and it will be a great thing, if Tsandili is actually sold somewhere in supermarkets or some other places, because in that case, I can just buy it and eat it while being on the way somewhere or something like that.
Enjoy your cooking and have a nice day!
Content available in other languages
- Español: Tsandili, un postre saludable
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