What are manti?
These pasta are stuffed with minced lamb or beef and served with a sauce made with yoghurt, garlic and various herbs. The word manti refers to one or more filled pasta.
How to prepare manti?
Manti are prepared with a stuffing made from lean, minced lamb meat that is flavored with onion and pepper. A dough made from flour, egg, water, oil and salt is also prepared. This is processed exactly like a classic ravioli dough.
It must be handled until it is soft and homogeneous and then put to rest in order for it to release the gluten, which gives all its elasticity to the dough to stretch it as much as possible.
The dough must then be rolled out very finely and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) squares. The stuffing can then be rolled into balls, placed in the center of each small square and trapped in the dough.
There are two shapes common to manti, that of small bags and another in the shape of boats showing the stuffing on top.
As the manti are made, they are placed on a floured tray to prevent them from sticking together.
They are then immediately cooked in boiling water to prevent them from drying out and cracking. The sauce is prepared separately. Garlic is browned in oil and then a mixture of bell pepper paste and tomato paste is added, as well as various herbs such as red pepper flakes, dried mint and sumac.
The sauce should simmer for a few minutes. The drained manti are then placed on a serving dish with hot sauce and a mixture of yoghurt and crushed garlic.
Manti, like most stuffed pasta, are better consumed immediately and do not warm up very well. However, they can be prepared in advance in large quantities, then frozen before cooking on a tray for about ten minutes and finally grouped in small bags. You should then just plunge them directly into boiling water without thawing them when you want to consume them.
What is the origin of manti?
The origin of manti is closely linked to the migration of Turkish peoples from Central Asia to Anatolia during the Mongolian invasions between the 13th and 14th centuries and during the Timurid Empire.
Manti spread to Turkey and then Armenia. In Turkey, manti are also known as tatar böregi, which is reminiscent of the nomadic origin of these small stuffed pasta that were said to have accompanied Turkish and Mongolian horsemen on their travels. Manti could be transported dried and boiled easily to be rehydrated and heated.
Later, with the expansion of the Ottoman Empire and its domination over much of the Muslim world, Ottoman cuisine spread throughout the Middle East.
What are the other versions of manti?
In Asia, there are many cousins of manti, at least the principle of stuffed pasta such as baozi, mantou and Chinese jiaozi, Japanese gyoza, Mongolian buuzas, Tibetan momo, Korean mandu, Russian pelmeni, but also Italian tortellini from Emilia Romagna and other Italian stuffed pasta like ravioli, casunziei or tortelli. In Germany there are maultaschen, in Ukraine varenyky and in Poland pierogi.
Manti are prepared in different ways and the shape can be variable. In Afghanistan, they are also served with a yoghurt sauce, but coriander and lemon juice are also welcome.
Armenians prefer to fry manti, which are also smaller in size. In Eastern Armenia and Georgia, manti are called khinkali and contain juice inside that is sucked in before being bitten.
In Azerbaijan, manti are steamed and covered with vinegar, black pepper and butter.
In Kyrgyzstan, manti are softer and fatter, tomatoes and vinegar are also added.
Finally, in Bosnia, manti are called klepe or mantike. Klepe look like Turkish mantikes, however mantikes are made of the same stuffing but the cooking is done in the oven.
A 15th century Turkish recipe already mentions manti, which are made from lamb meat but also puréed chickpeas. It also happens in Turkey that quail or chicken meat replaces lamb meat.
Manti are ravioli of Turkish origin that are popular in the cuisines of the South Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan and Chinese Muslims. They are stuffed with lamb or beef and served with spicy sauce and garlic yogurt.
- 2½ cups all-purpose plain flour
- 1 egg , beaten
- 5 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ lb ground lean lamb meat
- 1 onion , very finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups thick and creamy plain yoghurt
- 2 cloves garlic , very finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon red pepper paste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dried spearmint
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180˚C).
- Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and dig a well in the center.
- Add the beaten egg and water and mix by hand.
- Knead until a homogeneous dough is obtained.
- Add olive oil and knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic but firm.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Mix the minced meat and onion.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Knead for 5 minutes.
- Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Mix yoghurt and garlic.
- Salt to taste and whisk for 2 minutes.
- Cut the dough into 3 pieces. Work one dough piece at a time and cover the rest of the dough pieces with a damp cloth to prevent from drying out.
- On a lightly floured work surface, using a rolling pin as thin as a broom handle, spread the dough as thinly as possible.
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into small squares of about 1 inch (2.5 cm). Place some of the stuffing in the center of each square.
- With wet fingers, pinch the opposite corners to form a small bag and press the edges to seal well.
- Place them as they go along on a floured tray and proceed until you run out of stuffing and dough.
- In a large pot, bring a large amount of water to a boil.
- Put the manti in boiling water for about 10 minutes.
- They are cooked when they come to the surface.
- Drain and place the manti in the pot.
- Sprinkle them with a little olive oil so that they do not stick.
- Heat the oil in a pot and fry the garlic without burning it.
- Add the red pepper paste and tomato paste.
Add red pepper flakes, dried mint and sumac, mix well and simmer covered for 2 minutes over low to medium heat.
- Arrange the manti on a hot serving dish and pour the sauce and garlic yogurt over it.
Manti can be decorated with red pepper flakes, mint, sumac and a drizzle of spicy olive oil.