Friday, May 04, 2007

Manti, Kaz-Am Style

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.


Iglu Cilutung, between Volcanos said...

Hey I just came across your blog while attempting to locate a Kazakh fellow name of Sanzhik who posted a very thoughtful and interesting message on, while he was a foreign student in China in 2002. He's not at Planetout any longer - have you perhaps heard of the guy? He'd be about 26 or so by now - very good English. Thanks for your help (I had two short trips to Almaty in 1997 - fell in love with the country).

Byron Black in Jakarta

Anonymous said...

I know 5 Sanzhiks in Almaty right now!

W. Shedd said...

I love manti myself, I'm not sure why it is, but there always seems to be room for more. I'll think "oh, I've had too many" and still ... eat just ONE (ok, maybe TWO) more.

I was also going to suggest using a winter squash, like acorn or butternut squash in place of pumpkin, but I see you're all over it.

The hardest part for Katja and I in making mante was finding a good mante steam pan. She managed to buy one rather cheap from someone on a Russian wife forum online.

I'll be checking out more of your blog later. Keep up the good work.

Nyura said...

Seems there are a lot of manti fans out there! I haven't yet invested in the steaming pans, but I do have an idea of what I'm looking for now.

The food/recipe section of the second issue of Steppe Magazine is on manti. I think their pumpkin manti has the squash cooked and mashed, though. I'll have to double check.