‘Svanuri Marili’, also known as Svan salt is a traditional spicy salt blend originating from Svaneti, a mountainous region in the North West Caucasus (read here about our time in Mestia, Svaneti). The most characteristic Georgian flavours are found in Western Georgia, thanks to the fertile soil and climate. In the Svaneti region many aromatic herbs and spices are grown, developing a varied and complex cuisine. For example, Georgians have found their own substitute for aromatic spices and herbs such as saffron, which is replaced by the ground and dried petals of Marigold. Consequently, like Indian cuisine, many traditional Georgian dishes use coriander, fenugreek and chili.
This garlicky, spicy, smokey and amazingly aratic seasoning immediatedly had us hooked! It goes well with just about EVERYTHING and is widely used in most Georgian dishes. It is delicious with meat or fish, can be found in most georgian egg dishes or omelettes, and is essential to any salad or bread dip. We first tried this blend simply sprinkled on some delicious juicy tomatoes. From that day on it has become indispensable! We have it every morning with fried potatoes, egg, tomato and fresh herbs – our twist on the Georgian ‘Chirbuli’!
Svan salt has such a deep aromatic flavour that it is somewhat reminiscent of Indian flavours. Available throughout Georgia, at all market stalls or shops, people don’t usually need to make it at home themselves. Nevertheless, getting your hands on this delicious blend is difficult outside of Georgia. So we have been looking into ways of making our own! After a bit of research and asking around we have come to understand that the basic ingredients are coarse sea salt, fenugreek, coriander, garlic and red chilli pepper. Some recipes may include caraway, dill or saffron (Marigold petals).
Below is a recipe for Svan salt taken from the LA Times.
1/2 cup coarse salt
1 /1/2 cup of garlic
1 cup of crushed dried coriander
1/4 cup of saffron
1 1/2 tsp hot cayenne pepper
1 cup caraway seed
3/4 cup ground fenugreek
Grind the garlic, coriander, pepper, fenugreek, cayenne and salt in a processor until finely ground. Stir in caraway seeds. Store salt in tightly closed jar in refrigerator for several days before using.
Have you ever come across Svanuri Marili? Or tried making it? We would love to hear about other variants of this spice mix! Let us know if you try making this blend and what you use it for!