Russian traditional cuisine has an ancient history and combines a mix of different cultures. The dishes are as international as Russia itself and include Tatar, Caucasus, Uzbek, Ukrainian, Belorussian gastronomic traditions.
Manti are considered to be an Asian dish but they are very popular in Russian families as well. This dish is equally good on the festive table, to meet a big company of friends and as an everyday dinner.
There is an opinion that Manti were first cooked by Uighurs who lived on the territory of modern China. Originally steam cooked bread without filling was called Manti. Modern recipe includes various fillings such as beef, lamb, sometimes pumpkin, potatoes and turnips.
Many believe that Manti are similar to dumplings or pelmeni, but the main distinction lies in the way of cooking and in the recipe of mincemeat. Cooking of Manti demands a special appliance which is called “Mantovnica” or “Mantovarka” (literal translation – “Manti cooker”), (now steam cookers are widely used). This appliance helps preserve the form and juiciness of Manti. Meat for stuffing is not ground in the meat grinder, but chopped very finely with a knife.
Manti are quite big, the size of half a palm. As many dishes of Asian cuisine Manti should be taken and eaten with your hands, so that all the juice stays inside. Manti are served hot on a big platter with a light salad made of tomatoes, bell pepper and marinated onions. The dish is usually topped up with piquant sour cream sauce with fresh greens or ajika sauce.
Manti are a heavy meal, that’s why they are served with hot sauces, a lot of vegetables and greens. It will be best to finish the meal with tea as it is traditional in the East. Strong hot sweet tea promotes faster digestion.
- 5 cups flour
- 1-1 ½ cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ – 2 lbs. lamb
- 1 ½ lbs. onion
- Ground black pepper
In a bowl combine together flour and 1 egg. Mix the warm water with salt and add to the flour. Mix everything well and knead the dough. Make a little ball, cover with a napkin and let it rest for 30 minutes.
For the filling chop the meat very finely. Add fat if necessary. Chop the onions, add a little salt and mix thoroughly with your hands. Mix meat, onions and spices.
Roll the dough very thinly and cut it into similar circles or squares depending on the form you’d like your Manti to be.
Place filling on top of each circle or square and connect two opposite corners by slightly pinching them together. Repeat the process with another corners. Place pinched Manti under the napkin.
Lightly oil the bottom of the steamer disks. Place Manti leaving a little space between them. Cooking time is approximately 50 minutes.
To cook a simple and piquant sauce mix sour cream, salt, black pepper and garlic.