Kist cuisine is peculiar to borderland culture. Composed of typically Chechen and Georgian dishes, it is enriched with a Kist way of cooking.
Typical of Kist cuisine, just like in all the Caucasus, is mutton, goat, beef or chicken kebab (usually prepared in the open air during mountain trips). As Muslims, the Kists don’t have pork. They make a great variety of dairy products such as different types of cheese (including cottage cheese), cream and yoghurt. They also bake their own bread, using wheat or maize flour.
Borrowed from Chechen cuisine are boiled or roasted mutton, goat, chicken and noodles, as well as dumplings made from maize or wheat flour. One of the most popular dishes is called “jijic-galnych” (boiled noodles and garlic-spiced meat), “plov” (rice with meat and veg), “manty” (large dumplings with meat and veg filling) and fried chicken coated with bread-crumbs.
The dishes borrowed from Georgian cuisine are meat and veg meals, lavishly spiced with walnut, plum, garlic and herbal (coriander, basil, tarragon) sauces. The Kists will certainly make for their foreign guests Georgian “khinkali” (large spicy meat dumplings), “chachapuri” (salty cheese or nettle pancake), aubergine with nuts and garlic, “wobio” (beans with spices or egg), “mtchadi” (small pancakes made from maize flour). The Kists drink home-made wine made from dark grapes, water and other beverages known across the world.
They attach a lot of importance to table etiquette – the way dishes are laid and the order in which they are brought to the table. At the end of each meal coffee or tea along with sweets, honey, marmalade or halva are served. Sitting down at a table takes place according to a specific hierarchy-based order. First, guests and the eldest men are seated; then, all the other family members, including women and children. Often women seat at a different table or watch men feasting, serving them. The Georgian feast, with its complex etiquette, also celebrated by the Kists when they’re having guests or wedding receptions, is quite different, however. The master of ceremony in this case is a “tamada”, capable of making beautiful toasts. “Tamada” also chooses other speechmakers and manages the course of the feast: the order in which dishes are served, the times wine is poured, etc.
Menu proposal (one day)
Please do bear in mind that the following is just an exemplary Kist menu offered to guests.
Upon your request it could be changed or supplemented. The so-called European variant (breakfast in particular) could also be prepared.
Right before breakfast the Kists serve strong coffee, instant or made in a small pot.
The coffee time over, the following foods are placed on the table: hot Kist bread, mountain cheese, butter, cottage cheese, fresh tomato and cucumber salad, “jonjoli” pickled salad, chip-shaped fried potatoes, roasted chicken parts, all with “tkemali” sauce (made from acid plums), “wobio” with eggs or sausage and a glass of wine.
Breakfast is rounded off with tea and marmalade.
Boiled, steaming hot “khinkali’, spiced with pepper, a fresh tomato and cucumber salad, a pickled salad, chip-shaped fried potatoes and “tkemali” sauce, wine and cold beverages.
At the end of the meal tea or coffee with sweet halva or marmalade are served.
“Chachapuri” with salty cheese and nettle, a fresh tomato and cucumber salad, “jonjoli” pickled salad, a cold aubergine with nuts, wine and cold beverages.
Then tea with honey and marmalade or water melon.