Monday, May 27, 2013

Turkish Manti Deconstructed and Reconstructed

There is nothing vegan about Turkish Manti, a delicious meat-filled dumpling topped with yogurt and garlic, and drizzled with hot, bubbly, peppery butter.  One of the things I love about the VB6 plan is that it allows you to indulge in the non-vegan foods that you love and crave.  You can bet this dish will be hitting the dinner table after 6:00 pm.

Making manti is a labor of love.  True Turkish manti involves making and rolling out paper thin rounds of dough, cutting them into tiny little squares, and stuffing and folding them one by one.  It's a lot of work, and the few times I have made it, I've had the good fortune to have dear friends and family to help (Guler, Cheryl, Wendy, Meryem, Gloria, Lisa, Angela, and of course Asaf and Halil).  However, there are a lot of short-cut or deconstructed versions of manti, often called "yalanci" or "liar's" manti -- boiled shell or bowtie noodles tossed with cooked ground beef and onions and served with the traditional toppings.  Yalanci manti is delicious and a favorite in our home.  But sometimes I crave something more authentic, but without all the labor, and that's what I call Deconstructed and Reconstructed Manti.

You start with 1 lb. of quality ground beef, 1 cup finely chopped white onion, 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, and salt and pepper.

Combine with your hands.  Next, start filling wonton wrappers with the beef mixture, like this.

As you fill the wontons, place them on a pan or cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.  You should have enough to fill all the wrappers in a package of 50.  Any leftover meat can be turned into little meatballs, like so.

Next, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add a beef bullion cube.  In the meantime, mix together two cups of plain yogurt, and add two large cloves of crushed or grated garlic, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Set aside. 

Boil the manti in small batches until they float to the top and the meat inside is completely cooked.  Place manti in a large serving bowl or individual serving bowls and top with the yogurt mixture.  Next comes the Pièce de résistance - the butter sauce.  Melt 1/4 cup of real butter in a pan, sprinkle in paprika, and bring it to a frothy orange bubble.  Drizzle this on top of the yogurt. 

Finally top with any or all of the following (I like all of them, whereas Asaf does not really care for any of them):  Fresh chopped mint (or dried mint), fresh chopped dill (or dried dill), sumak, and red pepper (the best is Turkish dried red pepper, Pul Biber).  Afiyet Olsun!