Churkhela: composition, useful properties and recipes
One stick of churčkhela is able to satiate for half a day. Georgian delicacy is not only nutritious, tasty, but also useful. The product containing biologically active substances, has an antioxidant effect on the body, supports the functions of the cardiovascular, nervous, respiratory, genitourinary systems.
- Churkhela: what is it, types, what is it made of and what tastes good
- History of Origin
- Who invented it?
- How is it translated
- What is it made of
- Types of
- What does it taste like?
- Chemical composition and calories
- What is churchella good for?
- General benefits
- For Women
- For Men
- Weight loss
- Harm and contraindications
- How to choose and store
- Can I freeze?
- Where to buy and how much costs
- How to cook churchella at home
- A classic recipe with walnuts
- How to eat it properly
- Do I have to wash it after buying it?
- What do I do if it's moldy?
- What to do if it's dried out?
- Can I take churchella on board?
Churkhela: what is it, what types and what does it taste like?
Churchkhela, a Georgian national treasure, is a string of walnuts, dried fruits, covered with a dense, hard crust of boiled berry or fruit juice (often grape juice) with flour.
History of origin
The history of churkhela began in XII century under King David, who set a course to unite dispersed princedoms. Local rulers were not ready to voluntarily give up power, and endless internecine wars broke out. The Georgian warriors needed a nutritious, long-lasting, non-perishable product to sustain their strength. This is how churkhela appeared, which has not lost its relevance today.
In Georgia, there is a legend that the first time monks made this delicacy. This idea was suggested by a misdemeanor of a boy who accidentally dropped his rosary into the cauldron of porridge with grape juice. As punishment, one of the monks suggested that the boy eat the object of worship. The rosary was hung on the bough of a nearby tree. After the crust on the surface dried, the boy tasted it and reported that it was the tastiest thing he had ever tasted.
Who came up with the idea?
Exactly who invented the popular Caucasian delicacy is unknown. Kakhetians from Eastern Georgia, Abkhazians, Ossetians, and Armenians claim to have invented the "Georgian Snickers". We can assume that the caloric product was prepared by a Caucasian woman while sending her husband or son on a long hike.
Officially, the patent for the production of churčkhela is registered in Georgia, where it is considered a national treasure along with khachapuri, suluguni and other dishes of Georgian cuisine.
How is it translated
The delicacy got its name because of the peculiarities of the technology of preparation. The name of the product, consisting of two words chhur (cold) and chher (hot), refers to the temperature difference, when the nuts are first dipped into the hot juice, then cooled.
What are they made of
Churkhela consists of the main inner part and the outer shell. Traditionally, raw walnut kernels are used as the filling. In other types of the product they are replaced by Brazilian, cashew, peanut, hazelnut, almond, pumpkin seeds or apricot or peach pips soaked and steeped in syrup. In addition, you can thread seedless dried fruits - apricots, citrus fruits, figs, prunes, raisins, persimmons or dried fruits and nuts combined.
To complete the treat, the string is dipped in boiled berry or fruit juice with the addition of wheat flour. The classic recipe uses juice from white grapes, others use red grapes, pomegranate, raspberry, apple, orange, plum, cherry, apricot, currant. Cinnamon, honey are added to improve the taste.
Varieties of Kakheti, Imereti, Guria, Mingreli, Lechkhaum and Kartli are named after regions where churkheli recipe was created:
It is made of walnut and white grape juice. The liquid component is boiled for half an hour, left to stand and heated again with added flour. The strung nuts are dipped in the syrup many times until the surface layer reaches a thickness of two centimeters.
This type of sweet is made from the juice of the Imereti Krahun grape, hazelnuts and dried fruits. The difference from Kakheti is less sweet taste with sourness, thinner shell.
The technology uses the juice of white and red grapes, which is continuously boiled for two hours. The base consists of walnuts, elongated hazelnuts, dried fruit without pips. Corn flour is taken as a thickener. The energy value of the Gurian sweet stick is 3 times higher than the classical one.
Mingrelian churcheli filling is more complicated and consists of a mix of nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds), peach seeds and apricots. When boiling grape juice, marble flour is added to the container to reduce acidity. The dainty is made up to 80 cm long, bent in the center, and dried in an oven.
The base, in addition to nuts and dried fruit, includes pumpkin seeds. Red grape juice gives the treat a bright rich color. The syrup is boiled until the taste of flour, which is introduced at the beginning of cooking, disappears.
Ingredients for the sweet: walnuts, raisins, grape juice, wheat flour, and ground chalk to neutralize acid in the fraiche. Externally Kartli churchela resembles Kakheti churchela, but weighs less because of raisins.
What does it taste like?
Georgian churchkhela is compared to a viscous nutty caramel with a berry-fruit flavor. A delicacy made of natural products is tart, moderately sweet with a sourness, you can feel the lively taste of grapes and nuts.
Chemical composition and calories
The composition of churcheli includes phytosterols, polysaccharides, vitamins A, PP, B group, tocopherol, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, iron. The treat is rich in fiber, phenolic compounds, substitutable and essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids Omega-3, 6, 9.
The GI of 100 grams of product - 5, 15, 63 g, respectively. The energy value of the classic churcheli (grape) is 410 kcal.
How is churcheli good for you?
The overall benefit of the Georgian delicacy made from walnuts, grape juice, and flour:
- Stimulates brain activity.
- Strengthens memory, concentrates attention.
- Reduces cholesterol levels, prevents the development of atherosclerosis.
- Increases hemoglobin.
- Supports the cardiovascular system, normalizes blood pressure, the rate of metabolic reactions.
- Quickly quenches hunger, for a long time gives the feeling of fullness.
- Improves digestion, peristalsis.
- Prevents cancer, thyroid dysfunction.
- Regulates the central nervous system, eliminates irritability, increased excitability.
- Increases immune status, protects against seasonal infections.
- Reduces pain in migraines, intensity of symptoms in respiratory diseases.
- Draws excess fluid out of intercellular space, eliminates edema.
- Mineralizes bone tissue.
- Treats inflammation.
- Increases stamina.
Churchella is recommended to include in the diet for gout, cancer, coronary heart disease, unhealthy liver, gastritis.
Anthocyanins in fruit juices have an antioxidant effect, prevent the development of uterine cancer, breast cancer. Water-soluble pigments inhibit cell aging processes and increase a woman's ability to conceive.
Churkhela that does not contain refined sugars:
- is less dangerous for the figure;
- removes products of decay, toxins;
- reduces the intensity of PMS symptoms, menstrual pain.
Excessive fondness for the sweet product threatens skin problems and overweight.
Men more often than women suffer from heart disease, vascular accidents, experience stress and physical exertion. Walnut treats can restore the spent energy after sports, hard physical work. Walnuts, containing potassium and magnesium, regulate blood pressure and increase the lumen of blood vessels.
Churčkhela increases resistance to stress, supports male health, shortens the period of rehabilitation after illness, injury, surgery.
When losing weight
In limited quantities, the natural product can be consumed by thinners as a dessert or a separate snack to satisfy hunger.
With an unbalanced diet, churchela relieves dysbacteriosis, heartburn and other digestive problems. The treat calms, lifts your spirits, eliminates irritability, and fights chronic fatigue.
Hazards and contraindications
High-calorie treat with a lot of complex and simple carbohydrates is contraindicated in obesity, liver cirrhosis, tuberculosis, diabetes, pregnancy (2nd and 3rd trimesters).
Nutty churchella may provoke allergic reactions. The high concentration of minerals in the product is harmful to people with kidney pathologies.
How to choose and store
Tips for choosing churchella:
- Reject the sweet with cracks on the surface, with traces of mold, white coating. The white color is not the sugar, as the sellers claim, but the excess flour. Mould and cracks indicate stale sweet sticks, violations of storage conditions.
- If it is natural, it should not contain preservatives or stabilizers. It will taste as rubbery as it is bent. Its normal consistency is moderately hard.
- When tasting a quality delicacy, you feel the taste of grapes with a sourness. It is important that the nuts inside are fresh and dried, not rancid and fried.
The shelf life of natural churcheli stored at t-15-22°C, low humidity in a ventilated room, is unlimited. In Georgia it is eaten until a new grape harvest. The product from the store with added sugar and preservatives in a vacuum pack does not spoil for 6 months, but after opening the bag hardens in 1-2 weeks.
The shelf life is decreased by violations in the technology of preparation, poor quality raw materials, and long transportation to the place of sale.
At home the Georgian sweet is kept wrapped in parchment, gauze or cotton cloth. In cellophane bags the product "suffocates", it develops mold fungi. Churchella is hung from the ceiling in a dark pantry or placed on the shelf of a kitchen cabinet with the door closed.
Despite the unlimited shelf life, creating optimal conditions, after a maximum of 2 months the product dries up to the point that it is difficult to bite and chew.
Can it be frozen
In the fridge, as well as in the cellar, churchella, wrapped in paper or cotton cloth, can be kept for up to two months, if there are no pungent-smelling products nearby. In the freezer, however, the product quickly hardens, loses flavor and taste.
Where to buy and how much does it cost?
You can buy the product in large supermarkets, Armenian vegetable stores, at Caucasian food markets or online marketplaces. The average price for a vacuum pack of 100 grams is 120-200 rubles.
How to cook churchella at home
To enjoy the "Georgian Snickers", it is not necessary to search for the product in stores and markets. If you study the technology of cooking, stock up on quality raw materials, it is not difficult to make churtskhela yourself at home.
The classic recipe with walnuts
To make Kakhetian churchella we need 4 liters of grape juice, 700 fresh walnut kernels with straw color, 2 cups of wheat flour, a strong thread, a thimble, and a needle.
How to make:
- Pierce the halves of the kernels with a needle and thread, stringing the nuts as beads to make a sausage 20 cm long. Tie a match or a toothpick to the lower end of the thread. Do not forget to leave the free end to hang and dry. Make a loop out of it.
- Divide the juice into two equal parts. Put the first one on the stove, boil it for a quarter of an hour. In the second part, pour the flour, stirring constantly so that no lumps remain.
- Add the juice and flour in a thin stream to the boiling juice and flour, and stir. Continue to boil the liquid until it thickens.
- Dip one thread of nuts into the ready grape kissel until the thick mass is completely covered, immediately suspend for half an hour to dry.
- Repeat the procedure until the nuts are covered with a shell 1.5-2 cm wide.
The treat will be ready after two weeks of drying in a dark place, when the top layer hardens and the nuts remain soft.
How to eat it properly
The norm of eating the sweet - 50 g per day. Without consequences for the figure, the dainty is eaten before lunch as a separate snack.
Fans of Georgian sweets are interested in how to save a moldy or dried product, how safe it is for health, if it is bought from the hand.
Do I have to wash it after buying it?
Goods purchased from regular, trusted sellers, do not wash. If there are doubts about the quality of the product, the delicacy is rinsed in cold water, quickly dried with a paper towel.
What to do if it is moldy?
If mold appears on the surface, it is better to get rid of the product, because it is unknown how deep the spores have penetrated inside.
If you do not want to throw away the sweet, you can try to resuscitate it. To do this, you rinse the surface with warm water until the plaque is completely removed, dry it and put it in the freezer. After a couple of weeks, remove it, warm it for 2 minutes in the microwave oven.
What to do if it's dried out?
To soften the shell, put churchella in a container with fresh bread, in warm water, for a few seconds in a plastic bag in a microwave oven or hold over steam, twisting the stick around the axis.
Can I carry churchella on an airplane?
This delicacy can be taken on board. The main thing is that its weight must not exceed the permitted weight of hand luggage (5 kg). During transportation, the product is wrapped in tissue or parchment, or placed in a paper bag. It is important to limit the access of light to prevent premature curing.
If you consume the product limitedly, natural Georgian churchela will give not only gastronomic pleasure without consequences for the figure, but also help to maintain health and youth.
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