This was not exactly a new "Kazakh Cooking Experiment", but more of a repeat with slightly different variables. Like Tex-Mex cooking is basically Mexican, but varied and adapted by influences on the American side of the border, the manti I made tonight are basically Central Asian, but adapted to American ingredients and speed-of life.
• Instead of handmaking the dough, I used the biggest packaged wonton wrappers I could find (about 3” across);
• I halved the amount of meat -- only 1/2 lb of a medium-fat (not lean) coarsely ground beef (I can hear the wolves howling in despair already!)
• I wanted to make manti with pumpkin this time, but since it’s practically impossible to find fresh pumpkin when it’s not Halloween, I substituted a medium-sized butternut squash, cut into small dice. Mixed this with the meat and one large onion, also diced small, and salt & pepper.
The rest is the same. Place filling in the center of a wrapper, moisten the edges of the dough, fold over and pinch edges together. Steam for maybe 15 minutes, and serve. I did try greasing the steamer basket this time, but I don’t know that it made much difference -- they stick together if they don’t stick to the basket. Steaming fewer at a time would probably solve that, but it already takes 3 batches to get them all done.
Oh well. The don’t even look ‘authentic’, but this family of 3 devoured all 50 manti in one sitting; I’m counting it as a success. And the whole process was complete in just over an hour. A group assembly effort could probably get dinner ready and on the table in under an hour, making it possible to have manti any day of the week, not just on weekends.
Thanks are due to Kelly, a member of the Kazakhstan_Recipes Yahoo group for sharing this quick manti method.