Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Last night I made Manti, from the March 2006 issue of Saveur (page 20). Magically delicious! These little Turkish lamb-filled dumplings topped with yogurt sauce took a loooong time to assemble but were well worth the effort.

First, I made the dough by mixing together 2 eggs, 1 2/3 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ cup water. I stirred and then I kneaded. For 10 minutes. I am not an accomplished kneader and those 10 minutes seemed hours. At first, the dough was crumbly and unappealing; not all of the flour mixed in during the stirring process. After the eons of kneading, though, the flour mixed in, the dough became a little stretchy, and I panicked a little less. I cut the dough into four equal balls to rest for 30 minutes.

Next, I made the filling. I combined ½ lb. ground lamb, 1 small onion, finely chopped, 2 T chopped parsley, and ½ tsp each of salt and pepper. Easy.

Then, the rolling commenced. The recipe directed me to roll one of the four dough balls into an 11” by 11” square, trimming off any uneven edges. This was the best I could manage after A LOT of rolling.

Then, as instructed, I cut the “square” into 1” by 1” pieces. Sort of.

I placed 1/8 tsp of lamb on each square. (1/8 tsp is a trickily small amount of lamb to work with, by the way.) The recipe instructs: “Fold 2 opposite corners toward the middle of the square, leaving a bit of filling exposed. Fold 2 other opposite corners toward the middle. Pinch all 4 corners together to secure dumpling, leaving about 1/4 “ of the filling exposed and poking out.” This makes no sense, although it does seem to accurately describe the dumplings pictured in the Saveur photo. They are somehow magically sealed on the sides and open on top. I couldn’t master this technique, so mine looked like little envelopes.

I baked them at 400 degrees for 30 minutes in a buttered dish, meanwhile bringing 4 cups of stock to a boil. I pulled them out, dumped in the stock, covered them with foil, and put them back in for another 30 minutes. The recipe calls for some extensive chicken stock making procedure involving clove and cinnamon and a whole bunch of skinless chicken pieces. I skipped this entirely and used regular old chicken broth, to no noticeable detriment.

During this time, I made a yogurt topping of 2 cloves garlic, crushed with salt, mixed into 2 cups strained Greek yogurt (Fage, full fat). I sliced some mint, and I pulled out my packet of Urfa chili flakes, purchased that afternoon at Kalustyan’s on 29th and Lexington. I browned about 4 T butter for 10 minutes in a pan on medium heat.

When the dumplings came out of the oven, most of the broth had been absorbed. They looked like this.

I scooped them into a bowl and topped them with brown butter, Urfa flakes, and mint.

And then tons of yogurt sauce.

I wasn’t expecting much from Manti, mostly because it was so far out of my realm of experience. It was fantastic. The butter was almost sweet, the yogurt was tangy, and the dumplings were really really good, despite their not-so-perfect appearance. I’m already wondering when to make this dish again – I can't get the taste out of my head.


Blogger amandamonkey said...

I am drooling all over my keyboard. Wow, that sounds so delicious.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

Wow Manti. I've never even heard of it. My friend at work loves Saveur..I think I should think about getting a subscription.
Your manti looks incredible though. Uhh, anything with dough makes my knees weak :)

6:25 PM  
Blogger s'kat said...

That sounds really quite different, but good. And what a load of patience you have, girl!!

8:08 AM  
Blogger MeBeth said...

The dough making actually was not as bad as I'd feared - and I have no experience whatsoever with any dough kneading or rolling or anything like that!

2:25 PM  
Blogger Cate said...

Wow, that looks great... ahh, to have the time. ;)

11:10 PM  

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