Yesterday my beautiful friend and a wonderful cook Rena showed me how to make Kazakh Manti. She learned it from her mother who was born in Kazakhstan, and was a master at making Kazakh dishes; so I was confident that the outcome of our cooking session would be delightful, and I wasn’t mistaken, because the manti turned out delicious! I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in Rena’s kitchen, and I am thankful to Rena for her hospitality and making me feel at home.
Manti, dumplings, is a popular Central Asian dish usually made with either spiced ground beef or lamb mixed with onions, wrapped into dough, and cooked in a multi-level steamer. Manti can be served with melted butter and hot red pepper powder or yogurt and garlic sauce.
This recipe makes 2 batches. Half the recipe ingredients to make 4-5 servings.
Prep: 45 min Rest: 15 min Cook: 40 min per batch Total: 2 hrs 20 min Servings: 8-10
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus some for kneading
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp light oil plus some for greasing the steamer trays
3 lbs high fat ground beef or lamb
3 large onions, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/ 4 tsp hot red pepper powder
red pepper flakes to taste
In a large bowl, add the flour, salt, and eggs. Slowly add in the water while combining the ingredients; and then mix in the oil. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic for 15 minutes by hand, or 8 minutes in a blender. Add more flour if the dough is sticky. Divide the dough into 4 parts. Shape them into balls, and place them back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 15 minutes.
Mix the ground beef, onions, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
Before rolling out the dough, remove the steamer trays from the steamer, and fill the steamer with water leaving 2 inches before the markings for the bottom tray. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low to keep it ready for the dumplings.
Grease the steamer trays with the oil to prevent sticking.
On a floured surface, place one of the dough balls.
Sprinkle it with some floor and pat it down. Roll it into 2 mm thick circle.
Cut it into 4 by 4 inch squares. There will be 4 triangles left. Combine them, and roll into a rectangle. Cut into 2 squares.
Place about 2 tbsp of the filling on each square.
Place one corner of the dough over the filling, then fold the opposite corner over.
Pinch the other 2 corners together,
then connect the opposite corners on both sides by pinching them together as well.
Repeat the process with the rest of the dough balls. If your steamer can fit only 1 batch, wait to make your 2nd batch until the 1st batch is almost cooked. This will prevent the dumplings from drying.
Bring the steamer back to a boil. Arrange the dumplings on steaming trays by spacing them apart. Stack the trays on top of each other
and place them into the steamer. Replace the lid, and steam the dumplings over medium-high heat for about 40 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the type of the steamer and amount of the dumplings. Make sure to check the manti for doneness after cooking for 25 minutes. Another thing to keep in mind is the level of water in the steamer; if the level of water is very low, and it doesn’t generate enough steam, add some boiling water to the steamer. The manti are ready when the meat is cooked through and the dough isn’t chewy.
Serve with the butter poured over and a sprinkling of the hot red pepper and red pepper flakes.