Georgian Garlic Chicken (Chkmeruli)

I have such fond memories of this dish, it is one of my clearest memories of my short trip to Tbilisi some years back. That and the wonderful flea market, everyone singing in gorgeous chorus between drinks of wine, and this one meal in a restaurant upstairs. I remember being outdoors looking at a garden. I remember the little walnut balls, divine. I remember this garlicky chicken. Crisp, rich and intense, I remember noticing how they jointed their chicken differently. Georgia is a wonderful country for food and wine, and I really must return there and explore further and for longer. 

At Market in Tbilisi

At Market in Tbilisi

It is traditional to use a whole chicken for this, I decided to use chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are inexpensive, have great flavour, retain moisture and have plenty of skin to crisp. The flavours in this dish are rich and deep, but it is deceptively simple. The chicken is par cooked (and the skin crisped) before being covered with a garlic milk mixture which forms a beautiful crust on top as it cooks further in the oven. 

Khinkali - Georgian dumplings - another dish that I need to make and share

Khinkali – Georgian dumplings – another dish that I need to make and share

A perfectly good dish to start this week on! This is perfect with a salad with a sharp dressing to cut through it. 

Here is a little look back at my trip to Georgia, 6 years ago. I have worked on my photography a lot since then, it is still lovely to look back though. I wonder if it has changed much in that time? 

A Postcard from Tbilisi in Georgia

Georgia on My Mind: Some More Photos

GEORGIA! A Little More Georgia…

Georgian Garlic Chicken (Chkmeruli)
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Georgian Garlic Chicken (Chkmeruli)


  • 1kg chicken (I used thighs with skin on and with bones)
  • 12 cloves garlic (I know! Trust me)
  • a pinch of mild chilli
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 100ml water
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbsp oil (neutral oil like rapeseed)
  • sea salt and black pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 200 deg C.
  • Season your chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy frying pan (skillet) - preferably one that you can stick in the oven - and fry the chicken skin side down over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn and fry on the other side for 5 minutes.
  • Blitz the garlic, chilli milk and water with a little sea salt and black pepper. Aim to have the garlic a little coarse (you can hand chop the garlic too and then mix by hand).
  • Place the chicken skin side up in an oven proof pan and spoon the garlic milk mixture over the chicken.
  • Roast for a further 10 minutes or so until cooked through - check this by cutting with a sharp knife and checking, or ideally with a thermometer which registers 75 deg C.
  • Rest for 5 minutes. Eat with plenty of lovely bread to mop up the juices, or potatoes.



    Written by Niamh
    Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.