Red Ajika (Spicy Bell Pepper Jam)
Every cook in Georgia makes their own ajika, an intense paste of vegetables, spices, and herbs that is usually red or green and hot. Small amounts of ajika are used to flavor other dishes such as marinades, grilled meats, beans, or vegetables. Some are so fierce from the chiles that just a tiny spoonful is enough to add character to a recipe; others are cooler and can be used as a condiment at the table. It depends on how hot you want yours to be: Start with one or two fresh chiles of medium heat. You can always add more. This brilliant red ajika, which Tasting Georgia cookbook author Carla Capalbo shared with Food & Wine, is unusual because it’s made from cooked carrots, beets, and bell peppers. It’s sweet and not too fiery and is delicious spooned onto khachapuri or mtsvadi. Make a batch and keep it in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or more. Bring out a bowlful at mealtimes, as you would any other condiment or dip.