Armenian Hachapuri Recipe (Cheese- and Egg-Filled Lavash)
What Is Hachapuri?
Hachapuri (or khachapuri) is the Georgian national dish (Georgia as in the country that's near Russia, not the U.S. state). Hachapuri consists of dough with filling. The dough is leavened, allowed to rise, and is then shaped in various ways. The filling contains cheese (fresh or aged, most commonly suluguni), eggs, meat, and other ingredients.
Types of Khachapuri
There are various types of khachapuri in Georgia based on the territory:
- Imeretian (Imeruli), which is the most common type.
- Adjarian (Acharuli/Adjaruli), in which the dough is formed into an open boat shape and the hot pie is topped with a raw egg and a pat of butter before serving
- Mingrelian (Megruli), which is similar to Imeritian but with more cheese added on top
- Plus several others.
The Armenian Version
Khachapuri is such a popular dish that it "migrated" to many neighboring countries. With time, each nation modified it a little bit to its own liking. In this article, I'll describe the Armenian version of the hachapuri recipe. Being an Armenian myself, I can say that Armenians most often bake Imeretian khachapuri. But this recipe is much easier and faster to make than the original because it uses lavash (an Armenian bread) and doesn't require making dough from scratch.
Armenian hachapuri will require some ingredients that might seem exotic for those who don't know much about Armenian and Georgian cultures. But you will be able to find them easily in your local Middle Eastern, Russian, or Armenian deli store, or even on Amazon.
Matsoni is a fermented milk product of Armenian origin, very similar to yogurt. It can also be called "Armenian yogurt," tahn, "yogurt drink," or something like that. In this recipe you can substitute it with ryazhenka (Russian baked milk) or kefir. Both of them are sold in Russian deli stores, but kefir can often be found in a dairy section of regular supermarket chains. But make sure to buy the unflavored version.
Suluguni cheese is a pickled Georgian cheese that has a sour, moderately salty flavor, a dimpled texture, and an elastic consistency. A typical sulguni cheese is shaped as a flat disc, 2.5 to 3.5 centimeters thick. It is usually sold either in vacuum packs with all the cheeses, or in a can (cheese in water) in a dairy section. If you can't find it, you can substitute it with mozzarella cheese.
Lavash is a thin Armenian flatbread. I often see it in regular supermarkets, so it's not hard to find.
How to Cook Armenian Hachapuri
This is a faster and easier recipe for this dish, since it doesn't require you to make the dough from scratch.
- 2 Armenian lavash, large
- 2 eggs
- 200 grams (7 ounces) suluguni cheese
- 750 grams (1/2 pound) cottage cheese
- 0.25 liter matsoni (can substitute kefir or ryazhenka)
- Beat together matsoni (or kefir) and eggs.
- Grate the cheese, then mix it with salted cottage cheese.
- Grease a baking pan with butter and place one lavash on it.
- Tear the second lavash into large pieces and wet them in matsoni with egg.
- Now we will be making layers which should be placed on the lavash which is lying on the tray. First, lay out 1/3 of the torn and matsoni-soaked lavash; then place half of the cheese on top of it; then lay out another 1/3 of torn lavash; then the other half of the cheese; and at last the remaining 1/3 of the torn lavash.
- Tuck it and cover with the second half of the lavash.
- Grease it with matsoni and egg and place into the oven (355°F) for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Enjoy it hot or cold. It's great either way.