Manti

Manti on plate dup copy

Manti or mante is a traditional Armenian dish; the closest Lebanese or Syrian equivalent to manti is shish barak, yet they are definitely not the same!

To make manti, you need the patience of an angel or (in my case) willing helpers; there were four of us filling these tiny little boats of dough with meat. These tiny parcels are then roasted dry till they take on a golden color; they get then drenched in a simple sauce till the pasta soaks it up, then served with a yogurt sauce dimpled with red pepper or sumac. I found some shortcuts along the way that I will share, but I would definitely not use commercial wonton wrappers and stick to homemade pasta dough. 

Found a special rolling pin in Beirut called mantimatic; however, any restaurant supply outlet in the US or kitchen supply store sells a pasta cutter shaped like an accordeon where the blades can be adjusted (widened or narrowed) at will. This would make it easier to cut even ribbons in one roll, then turn the other way at a 90 degree angle and cut them again to make perfect squares (see picture below)

INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOUGH: Two recipes are available and common; either make a pasta dough with eggs and flour or a simple dough with flour and water. I picked the pasta dough because the dough stays moist and is then easier to pinch the little boats shut at both ends. 

1 1/2  cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 tablespoon oil

1/4 cup water

cut both sides dup

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING:

1/2 pound ground lamb (or beef or both)

1 small onion, shredded or grated

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp red pepper powder or paprika

pinch black pepper

2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley

1/4 cup oil or melted butter to brush on the mantis

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE:

2 cups water or beef broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon red pepper paste (can use a few drops of tabasco sauce instead or red chili sauce)

pinch of salt and black pepper and paprika

2 cups yogurt

1/2 tsp garlic paste with salt

1 tablespoon red pepper powder (Aleppo pepper) or sumac or a few drops of chili sauce

pinch both ends dup

1. Combine the meat with the spices and grated onion and parsley; set aside in a bowl covered in the fridge.

2. Make the manti dough; place in a mixer bowl the flour, salt, eggs, spices and start the machine; add the water and oil until the dough is smooth, moist but firm. Roll it up in plastic wrap, set it aside for one hour or two. When ready to make the manti, roll it out as thin as possible and cut it into small squares, about 1″X1″. Place 1/2 tsp of meat filling on each square and pinch both ends simultaneously so that the dumpling looks like a tiny boat. Grease a pan and place each manti side by side on the pan. Gently brush the top of the manti with the melted butter or oil (or spray oil on the surface)

 line them dup

3. Preheat the oven to 350F and roast the mantis until they take on a golden color; meanwhile, heat the water, red pepper paste and tomato paste which will be used to baste the manti, making sure the mixture is almost boiling; pour the sauce all over the manti and reinsert in the oven. Leave in the oven for about 10 minutes or so or until the manti have absorbed the sauce almost entirely. Meanwhile, whip the yogurt and garlic with a fork till smooth and pour into a saucer to serve alongside. 

4. Serve with yogurt and a dash of red pepper powder or sumac or a few drops of chili sauce on top of the yogurt sauce.

NOTE: When making the manti dough, a little more a little less flour or water can be used; the idea is to get the dough moist but firm; when rolling it out, sprinkle the counter with some flour if it sticks too much. 

pour sauce

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19 Comments

  1. Posted January 9, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    A fabulous and mouthwatering dish! Something I’d love to make…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Posted January 9, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Love it Joumana! My grandfather made the Greek version of this dish and he passed the recipe down to me. I treasure it.
    What amazing little boats you made :)

  3. Posted January 9, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Good golly, Joumana, the patience of a saint to make these but how gorgeous when done! I have actually seen these somewhere and find them fascinating both as a dish and culturally. But once again a dish I would love to taste. I love the flavors in the dishes from that side of the world.

  4. Posted January 9, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    a wonderful and simple Manti recipe. this is one of my favorite dishes and homemade makes all the difference! thank you ;D

  5. Posted January 9, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    My favorite Armenian food!

  6. Posted January 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    These look like gorgeous flowers!!

  7. Posted January 9, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    My wife’s family (Armenian) serves it as a soup — after it’s baked, into chicken broth and topped with garlic yogurt.
    http://www.weheartfood.com/2007/09/manti-hooray-and-swiss-chard-with.html

  8. Elena
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    A little different version of this traditional dish – Uzbek-style
    http://www.orexca.com/cuisine_uzbekistan.shtml
    this version calls to special cookware and method of preparing is steaming so it’s a little same as a Dim sum.

  9. Joumana
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    @Elena: Thanks, apparently this dish has its roots with the Mongols when they invaded the region, so it makes sense that it would be from these parts!

  10. Joumana
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    @Chris: Thanks for your input! I heard about the soup and may try it once; this would be closer to the shish barak here which is more of a soup.

  11. Posted January 11, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    What a labour of love! I’ve had the Afghani version but never tried to make it myself.

  12. Sylva
    Posted January 12, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    This is very delicious. I make it 4 times a year, I applaud you one the heroic effort Joumana! It’s quite a bit of work. I am way too lazy to make these from scratch, so I use wonton wrappers instead. Yours look absolutely beautiful.

  13. Sylva
    Posted January 12, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Finally my comment went through , I’ve been struggling with it for a long time. <3

  14. Joumana
    Posted January 13, 2014 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    @Sylva: we were all stoic, I think; but group effort definitely helps! :)

  15. Posted January 13, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    WOW….what a treat! A true labor of love for those lucky enough to dine at your table….just fabulous!

  16. Posted January 14, 2014 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    Oh qu’est-ce que c’est beau ! Je dois absolument essayer de faire ça vite ! Impressionnant !

  17. Posted January 23, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    My goodness Joumana what a spectacular labor of love. I must admit it has been a while since I made something so involves and I love it. What a wonderful dish to make with a few helping hands. Wonderful and it must be uber delish. Happy New Year dearie – a bit late but no less heartfelt.

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  18. Hatice
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Hello, Merhaba, 3awafeh, Salam 3alaykom, Ca Va.

    Manti is the Turkish word for what we call Shish Barak, as you said, though we don’t serve it the same way. Being half Turkish and half Lebanese with chefs on both sides of my family, I had the privilege of learning and working with both Turkish and Lebanese cuisines. What I don’t like about your food blog, is that numerous times you have, most likely on purpose, mistaken Turkish food for Armenian. Manti is most definitely a Turkish dish and the way you have made it is not traditional at all. Firstly, you either have a tomato based manti, or a yogurt (Turkish word) based Manti. The Manti is first boiled and then put into a bowl and yogurt mixed with garlic and salt is put on top. Then, melted butter (or samneh if you like) is poured over the top and you put sumac and mint on it (or other toppings, however I like those.) The Lebanese version of Manti, Shish Barak, are bigger and look like little UFO’s and are cooked in yogurt that has cornflour mixed in to thicken it slightly, with corriander (cilantro) and garlic.

    I’d really like to continue reading your blog, but your constant and very visible dislike of Turks is off putting. Its just food, wars and whatever are over now.

    And just for yours and any one elses reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manti_(dumpling)

  19. Joumana
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    @Hatice: I am wondering where in my posted recipes do you get the idea that I have a “constant and very visible dislike of Turks”?? Or is it because I say that manti is Armenian? I am sorry this has offended you so deeply. I recall that Armenians did live in Turkey, Cilicia and most likely Armenian and Turkish food have a lot of commonnalities; I read also that manti is actually of Mongolian origin and goes back to Asia, and that it dates back to the Mongolian invasion of the region several centuries ago. A similar dish can be found in Afghanistan, for example, called mantoo. Personally, I prefer NOT to get bogged down in this debate. Please remember that nationalities is a relatively modern concept and many dishes in one country or another have a history that predates the country’s existence, which is relatively new. I simply like to post recipes and inform people of their source, given to me by the recipe creator. That’s all; even in a country the size of Lebanon, the same dish, say shish barak, is prepared differently depending on the region or community. The Lebanese version of shish barak I know of is tiny, I have only seen big ones made in Syria. This discussion could go on, with every person claiming to have THE only true answer. I don’t. I am not a culinary historian.

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