Chicken With Garlic Sauce (Georgian-Inspired)

In this aromatic and flavourful dish, pan-fried chicken is slathered with cilantro garlic sauce made with almonds and almond milk. It’s a delicious dairy-free sauce that you will want to put on everything!. This chicken in garlic sauce is inspired by the famous Georgian chkmeruli recipe. This recipe post has recently been updated.


Chicken With Garlic Sauce Georgian Style
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Chicken In Garlic Cilantro Sauce

I was inspired to create this recipe after visiting Ukraine a few years back. Besides family catch-ups and seeing my childhood friends, I was also very excited to eat some of my favourite Ukrainian dishes. But, to my surprise, Ukrainian cuisine didn’t grab my attention while I was there.

It seems that in the last few years, Ukrainians have become obsessed with Georgian food. We have always been exposed to some of the dishes from Georgia as it was part of the Soviet Union, but it seems that right now Georgian cuisine is seriously en vogue and I fell in love with it.

Georgian food is full of fresh salads, vegetable dishes, grilled meats and hearty stews. They love garlic, and spices, nuts and fresh herbs like parsley and coriander are used extensively in the recipes.

I tried (and loved) many new dishes on this visit but one captivated me the most: the famous Georgian garlic chicken, also known as chkemruli or shkmeruli. I read that the name comes from a village where the recipe originated. It consists of perfectly roasted or fried chicken smothered in a creamy garlic sauce.

While the authentic recipe uses dairy cream/milk for the sauce, I wanted to create a dairy-free, paleo-friendly version for the blog. I used nuts and nut milk to create the creamy sauce and the final dish turned out as well as I had hoped. It got thumbs up from my dinner guests, and I hope you also get to try it.

If you like this recipe, make sure to check out my Georgian salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and walnut garlic dressing.

Chicken With Garlic Sauce & Cilantro Georgian Inspired Recipe
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How To Make Georgian Chicken In Garlic Sauce

Let’s go over what you need and how to make it. You can also skip straight to the recipe card below with full details and nutritional info.

Pan-Fry & Bake The Chicken

You can use any part of the chicken for this dish. I found that the traditional recipe often calls for the whole chicken, which is then cut up into pieces and pan-fried/roasted, but I opted for a few chicken legs (with the thigh on) and wings.

You could do this with chicken thighs (ideally with the skin on) or even the breast meat. Turkey would also work well. The total amount of chicken used was about 1-1.2 kg (2.5 lb).

  • Step 1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a little bit of coconut or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the chicken pieces, skin side down. Cook for 7-8 minutes on each side, until golden and crispy.
  • Step 2. At the same time (or 10 minutes later), preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F. While the chicken is pan-frying, prepare the sauce (see below).
Pan frying the thicken before roasting it
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  • Step 3. Transfer pan-fried chicken to a large baking dish. Reserve the cooking fat/juices from the chicken in the pan. Place the baking dish with the chicken in the hot oven (middle shelf) and roast for an additional 15 minutes. Then turn off the oven and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes.
Roasted chicken with creamy garlic sauce
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Garlic Cilantro Sauce (Dairy-Free)

For the sauce, I am using almonds and almond milk but you could try cashews or other white nuts, and different dairy-free milk. You can make this sauce without the use of fresh coriander as it’s not always used but something I think works really well.

Ideally, you will need a food processor or a blender to puree the nuts and the milk together before cooking the sauce with the garlic.

  • Step 1. Add the almond milk, nuts and fresh coriander to a blender or a food processor and puree until smooth and thick. Set aside.
  • Step 2. Add the garlic, coriander seed powder, turmeric and cumin to the pan with the chicken fat/juices and place over medium heat. Stir through for a minute or two, until the garlic gets a little golden, and then pour in the blended almond milk mixture.
  • Stir the sauce in the pan, over medium heat, incorporating all the spices, garlic and almond mix into a nice, thick sauce. Add about ½ teaspoon of salt and juice of 1/2 lemon, plus a pinch of pepper. Stir for another 30 seconds to a minute, and set aside.
Making the creamy garlic sauce for chkmeruli chicken
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  • Step 3. Pour the garlic sauce all over the finished chicken while still in the baking dish so that you can incorporate all the cooking chicken juice from the bottom when serving. Top with chopped coriander over the top.
Garlic Cilantro Chicken
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What To Serve With Georgian Garlic Chicken

You can serve this chicken as is with the sauce and pair it with cooked vegetables or a salad. You can try my Georgian salad to stay in the theme or make a simple garden side salad.

For a more substantial side, serve this chicken with rice, cauliflower rice, mashed or baked potatoes, quinoa, pasta noodles or even some simple bread rolls or toasted sourdough to soak up that wonderful garlic cilantro sauce.

Chicken With Garlic Sauce & Cilantro Georgian Inspired Recipe
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Georgian Garlic Chicken (Chkmeruli or Shkmeruli) - paleo, dairy-free, Whole30
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Georgian Chicken With Garlic Sauce (Chkmeruli)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 4 servings
Course: Main
Cuisine: Georgian
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5 from 22 votes
Calories: 465kcal
In this aromatic and flavourful dish, pan-fried chicken is slathered with cilantro garlic sauce made with almonds and almond milk. It's a delicious, dairy-free sauce that you will want to put on everything! This chicken in garlic sauce is inspired by the famous Georgian chkmeruli recipe.

Ingredients 

  • 4 chicken marylands whole legs with thighs and drumsticks
  • 6 chicken wings
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the garlic sauce

  • 250 ml almond milk (1 cup)
  • 90 g almonds or cashew nuts, skinless/blanched (3 oz.)
  • A handful of fresh coriander leaves cilantro
  • 6 cloves of garlic grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Garnish: chopped coriander/cilantro

Instructions

  • Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a little bit of coconut or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the chicken pieces, skin side down. Cook for 7-8 minutes on each side until golden and crispy.
  • At the same time (or 10 minutes later), preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F. While the chicken is pan-frying, prepare the sauce.
  • Add the almond milk, nuts and fresh coriander to a blender or a food processor and purée until smooth and thick. Set aside.
  • Transfer pan-fried chicken to a large baking dish. Reserve the cooking fat/juices from the chicken in the pan.
  • Place the baking dish with the chicken in the hot oven (middle shelf) and roast for an additional 15 minutes. Then turn off the oven and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes.
  • Let’s finish the sauce. Add the garlic, coriander seed powder, turmeric and cumin to the pan with the chicken fat/juices and place over medium heat. Stir through for a minute or two, until the garlic gets a little golden, and then pour in the blended almond milk mixture.
  • Stir the sauce in the pan, over medium heat, incorporating all the spices, garlic and almond mix into a nice, thick sauce. Add about ½ teaspoon of salt and juice of 1/2 lemon, plus a pinch of pepper. Stir for another 30 seconds to a minute and set aside.
  • Pour the garlic sauce all over the chicken while still in the baking dish so that you can incorporate all the cooking chicken juice from the bottom when serving. Top with chopped coriander over the top.
  • Serve over rice, potatoes, cauliflower rice or other veggies and a nice big salad.

Notes

Nutritional information is calculated for chicken legs and wings with skin removed. Actual values will vary based on weight and cuts of chicken used.

Nutrition

Calories: 465kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 173mg | Sodium: 1136mg | Potassium: 628mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 220IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 178mg | Iron: 3mg
Keywords: Baked Chicken, Georgian chicken, garlic chicken, chicken in garlic sauce, chkmeruli, dairy-free chicken recipe, dairy-free garlic sauce
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Want more international chicken recipes? Try these.

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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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Comments

27 Comments
  1. 5 stars
    This garlic sauce looks great! I love that you’ve made it dairy-free. Isn’t it great that Georgian food is generally so paleo-friendly!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve never had anything like this on chicken and it sounds amazing! That glorious sauce OH MY GOODNESS it looks so dreamy and delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    Oh, that sauce of yours sounds amazing! I bet it will be wonderful on so many things and how beautiful those photos are!

  4. 5 stars
    I saw that creamy garlic sauce and I was sold! I have never really tried any Georgian cuisine, but if this is what it’s like I am sure it is amazing. Yum!

  5. 5 stars
    I have never heard of this type of dish before, but you’ve totally sold me on that sauce just by the looks of those photos! Such creamy, garlicky goodness!

  6. 5 stars
    I have never tried Georgian food before, but this chicken recipe looks so delicious that I will be making it a point to try it out next week. The flavorful almond sauce looks to die for.

  7. 5 stars
    This glorious sauce is everything over the perfectly fried and browned chicken. Such a delicious meal!

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