The Ekala (ეკალა) plant (Smelax excelsa) is a type of spinach used in the cuisine of the Imereti region of Georgia (Georgian: იმერეთი). In this recipe we will show how to prepare and cook Ekala.
Ingredients (2-3 servings): 1 kilo of fresh Ekala, 200 grams of walnuts, 1 clove of garlic, 1 medium size onion, 3-4 tbs of wine vinegar, 1 tsp of coriander, 1 tsp of blue fenugreek, 1 tsp of ground red pepper (or finely chopped fresh peppers), 50 grams of fresh green coriander and salt (according to taste).
Preparation: Grind the walnuts and garlic.
Add the ground walnuts and garlic to a mixing bowl and add the spices and salt.
Add the wine vinegar and mix the ingredients.
Chop the onion and fresh green coriander and add to the bowl containing the walnut, garlic and spice mixture. Mix thoroughly.
Preparing and cooking the Ekala plant: The top part of the Ekala plant is the most tender and is the part used for this dish. Prepare the Ekala by cutting the stalks to a 10 cm length and removing and discarding any hard leaves. Only the soft leaves and stalks will be used for the dish. Boil water in a deep pan and add the Ekala. Cook for 8-15 minutes (depending on the condition of the plant – fresh Ekala will cook in less time).
Remove the cooked Ekala from the pan and place on a chopping board.
Chop the Ekala but not too finely. It should look like the picture below.
Add the chopped Ekala to the bowl containing the walnut, garlic, onion, coriander and spice mixture and mix thoroughly.
Serving: Serve cold in a dish for people to help themselves.
Ekala can also be shaped into balls for individual servings.
Enjoy this delicious summer dish!