Georgian-Style Chicken with Tomatoes and Herbs – Chakhokhbili (Video)

Georgian-Style Chicken with Tomatoes and Herbs | | Feride Buyuran

Photo: Greg Seber.

This post was originally published on July 15, 2009 and is now updated. I have added a recipe video and tweaked the recipe for best results.


When I was a kid, together with my relatives who live on the  border between Azerbaijan and Georgia, we took a trip to Lagodekhi in the neighboring country. I remember falling in love with the lush green surroundings, a clean univermag (Soviet-style shopping mall), and the cobbled streets of  downtown, but, alas, my food recollection from that time is scarce, except, I do remember we bought some pastries and ate them back home.

However, luckily, I am familiar with Georgian cuisine through the food I sampled at Georgian restaurants in Baku, a famous Georgian street food, khachapuri,  sold in every corner of my city when I was growing up, and through just being neighbors with Georgians, sharing the beautiful Caucasus.

Georgian-Style Chicken with Tomatoes and Herbs | | Feride Buyuran

Photo: Greg Seber.

Georgian-Style Chicken with Tomatoes and Herbs, or Chakhokhbili, is a perfect representation of the Georgian cuisine, in which fresh pairs with robust to yield a concoction of incredible flavors and vibrant colors. Here, chicken is simmered down with a generous amount of fried onions and ripe tomatoes, a plentiful of fresh herbs, garlic, and a pinch of khneli-suneli, a pungent Georgiain spice mix that  makes this dish truly Georgian. The cooked dish has a thick stew-like consistency and is perfect served with chunks of freshly baked crusty bread for dunking straight into the tomato sauce.

My very first try of this dish was with the recipe I found in Darra Goldstein’s book The Georgian Feast and it yielded great results. However, I’ve tweaked this recipe so many times every time I tried it and now, I have finally arrived at the version I am sticking to. I’ve added Georgian spice mix to the recipe, and also changed how the onion is cooked, and came up with the method to make a paste from garlic and cilantro to drizzle onto the dish. So, may I present to you my own no-fail recipe for Georgian khachokhbili today? Please try it and let me know what you think in the comments. I am super curious!




Georgian-Style Chicken with Tomatoes and Herbs - Chakhokhbili (Video)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Georgian-Style Chicken with Tomatoes and Herbs is packed with incredible flavors, coming from the delectable combination of ingredients used. A famous Georgian spice mix, khmeli-suneli, adds a truly Georgian spirit to this popular dish. This is an easy recipe to use to prepare your next simple but super delicious Georgian meal.
Recipe type: Main Dishes; Poultry
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced (should equal 4 cups sliced onions)
  • One 3-pound (1½ kg) chicken, cut into 10 pieces
  • 6 medium ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped (I do not peel them, but feel free to peel)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Georgian spice mix, khmeli-suneli (skip if you don't have it)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • Generous 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (you can also add other herbs: parsley, tarragon basil, dill)
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes or chili pepper (adjust to taste)
  1. Melt the butter in a large, tall frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil (this will prevent the butter from burning). Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is light golden, about 10 minutes. Scoop out the onion and place on a plate, leaving the oil in the pan.
  2. Brown the chicken pieces on both sides in the same pan, turning once, about 3 minutes per side, or until a light golden crust forms.
  3. Add the onion and tomatoes to the chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the spice mix.
  4. Cover the pan and cook the dish over medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Uncover the last 10 minutes and cook more.
  5. Meanwhile, crush the garlic and most of the cilantro (reserve some for garnish) together in a mortar and pestle until you obtain a paste.
  6. Turn off the heat. Add the cilantro-garlic paste to the chicken, stir to coat. Sprinkle with hot pepper to taste.
  7. Let stand 5 minutes, covered, before serving. Sprinkle with the reserved fresh cilantro.
  8. Serve with chunks of fresh, crusty bread.

Leave a Reply

  1. Ohh, Farida you knoked me down with this. I just recalled that I have been there when was achild. My uncle took us there with my grandada’ ZAPI if you know what i mean. I gew up in Gakh which is close to Balaken. But I still remember the hill and on which Lagodekhi is located. It is really nice place. I think I will go there.
    Regarding the Chakhokhbili it is a really delicious dish which I had a couple of years ago in Baku at Bayilovo. Thanks for all your work and recepies.

  2. To be honest, even I thought that it is the state! I’m geographically closer to Georgia, actually it’s our neighbor country, so I should have guessed it. But I’m not so familiar with its cuisine. Adding fresh herbsinto this chicken dish is a wonderful idea, I’ve never tried it. Maybe I can try it for tomorrow’s dinner as I bought several fresh herbs from the open market today.

  3. Hello my friend! Delicious!!!!!!!!!


  4. Ohh, Farida this dish is sensational!! I can’twait to try this recipe out – oh boy what a treat 😀

  5. Farida!! I thought it was the state!! 😀 The dish looks so so good!! Loved it’s colour!!

  6. You see why I love your blog? Another dish and cuisine I am introduced to!

  7. Love that aromatic and flavourful chicken recipe with herby touch….looks spicy and yummylicious…..

    How r u? How is your baby? Did Ramadan shopping started there?

  8. assalamoalaikum,
    U have gota very yummy collection of dishes..chicken dish luks yum yum…cant wait to try it

    Great to know about Georgia..keep blogging

  9. Lovely photo! I’ve blogged about chackhohbili, using the same recipe by Darra Goldstein as a basis – it’s wonderful!

  10. Of course I think of the nation of Georgia…I relate so much more than to the US state. This dish looks very comforting, some rice on the side would go well.

  11. Oh, wow, this looks Fab! Glad my mother is visiting, guess what she will have to try to cook for us soon!

  12. Feride – this looks delicious – my mothers descendants are from Georgia – this going back many many centuries long before they moved to Turkey.

    I look forward to trying this dish, my mom will be blown away – just one quick question why does such a small amount of chicken require so many onions.

    Hope you are well..selamlarimla… Aysegul

  13. ah farida! i really need to travel more. i didn’t even know about Georgia but thank goodness I know about Azerbaijan 🙂 this dish looks lovely and I can never fault dishes that use fresh ingredients. yummy! xx

  14. ILIKO: Welcome to my blog. Lagodekhi was beautiful. I just remembered that we also liked their univermags because they had more choice than univermags in Balaken:)

    ZERRIN: Let me know how it turned out if you make it.

    EU MULHET: Thanks a bunch:)

    ROSIE: Thank you. Hope you get to try it. It’s yummy!

    RIA: See, I got you:) Cuisine of the Caucasus is generally very bright and lively.

    CYNTHIA: Thank you. It’s mutual. I learn a lot from your blog too.

    LUBNA KARIM: Thank you. We are all fine. The baby is in his terrible twos stage and it is terrible:) Ramadan shopping may have started here but it is not that visible here at all.

    SHAISTA: Thanks for stopping by. Please visit again .

    PILLE PERESOO: Isn’t Darra Goldstein’s book great? I’ll check out your blog soon.

    PETER: I had no doubt you would know it was the Republic of Georgia. Rice would be great with it, you are absolutely right.

    SCARY AZERI: Enjoy!

    AYSEGUL: How interesting that you have Georgian ancestry. I hope your mom loves the dish. The onions will almost disappear once the dish is ready. You will see that it is not much at all. They add an incredible taste to the dish. Enjoy!

    DIVA: Well, live and learn, Diva girl:) Glad you like the dish by its looks. Hope you get to cook it one day. It’s delicioso!

  15. lovely!!

  16. Hi Farida!
    I have recently found this side and enjoy very mach.
    But I have one question-Sanda manim kimi Shekilisan?

  17. just finished cooking this dish and its absolutely delicious! thank you for the recipe!

  18. you brought memories. my mom used to make it. oh my god. i forgot so many things. i cook new american dishes. forgot the food of my childhood and there nobody here to remind me. sad:(

  19. I had it yesterday, Sooo delicious! I just needed something quick, easy and new for dinner, came across this recipe. kak govoritsa v narode ” you saved a day” :)) Lovely! Thanks :X:X

  20. i was in georgia for about 7 month a year or two ago and u are so right! the food is delicious and fresh! love the recipe! hope u get a chance to visit this beautiful country and enjoy the food! when i came back to the state i was definitely a pound or 5 more than i was when i left but it was worth it!

  21. Have made this many times…..never went back to French or Mexican…see Chef in Love film….

  22. Break a couple of whole eggs and slowly stir into the dish as a final step – you’d be amazed how much this will add to the taste and flavor. This is the way Chakhohbili is cooked in Kakheti region of Georgia, where I am from. Peace.

  23. Ate it a couple of weeks ago with a Georgian friend at Imereti, a Georgian restaurant in Baku – delicious! Will try your recipe at home.

  24. Feride, did you make the Georgian spice mix? Or how did you get it. I would like to make this dish with those spices.

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