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Gurza (lamb dumplings)  

 

Dumplings in various shapes and sizes are popular across the Caucasus and Russia.

Georgia has its khingali, Russia its pelmeni and Azerbaijan its gurza and dushbara. Gurza are larger than dushbara and not usually served in bouillon. Cinnamon can be added to the minced lamb stuffing of gurza or sprinkled over the gurza before serving.

Preparation time: 60 min
Cooking time: 20 min
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients

For the filling

800 g/1 lb 12 oz minced lamb
2 onions
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the dough

100 g/4 oz butter
300 g/12 oz flour
1 egg
glass of water

For serving

yoghurt
3-4 cloves of garlic

Preparation

Make the filling for the gurza by chopping the onion and frying it in butter. Add the minced lamb, salt and pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and fry until almost cooked (10 to 15 minutes), stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.

Sieve the flour and salt onto a large surface. Make a hole in the middle and add the egg and water. Mix into a light dough. Divide the dough into four large balls. Place the balls on a tea towel and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1.5 mm/1/16th inch. Traditionally, a thin, light rolling pin is used. Add flour when rolling out if the dough is too sticky.

Cut rounds approximately 8 cm/3″ in diametre in the rolled out dough – a small inverted glass is ideal for this. Place a dollop of the minced meat mixture into the middle of each circle, bring the sides together and pinch together across the top.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add salt. Place the gurza in the pan of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes at a rolling boil.

While the gurza are cooking, finely chop the garlic and add to the yoghurt.

Strain the gurza. Serve with the yoghurt and garlic mixture.

The Nakhchivan version of gurza are prepared in a similar way, but without cooking the minced meat first.