Meme’s Manti

When pepe and meme were first married, pepe woke up in the middle of the night with a craving. He didn’t know the name of the dish, so instead, in the wee hours of the morning, he described the dish to his (very patient, might I add) wife. Instead of being totally annoyed with him for waking her up, she surprised him the next day with the dish that woke up from his dreams. Manti.
Manti is an Armenian dumpling, almost like an Armenian tortellini stuffed with meat instead of cheese.
The basic recipe is ground lamb, onions, garlic and some Armenian spices, all mixed up and ¬†stuffed inside of pasta dough. It’s then boiled and served with a garlic yogurt sauce and mint in melted butter.
But that’s the basic recipe.
This is meme’s recipe.
And meme’s recipe involves frying the dumplings before boiling them.
That’s right, we’re going to mix the meat, make some pasta dough, roll little dumplings, fry them all, then boil them.
You ready?
I suggest doing this when it’s snowing or raining out and there’s a good football game on TV. You’re going to be here for a while.
For the filling you will need:
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • ¬†blob of crushed garlic
  • bunch of parsley
  • 2 finely chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon halebi biber (For more on this check out the comments on this post)
For the dough, use your favorite pasta dough recipe, or wonton wrappers if you want to cheat a little.
For the sauces for serving you will need:
  • Greek yogurt
  • Chopped Garlic
  • Mint
  • Butter
Are you ready?
Are you sure?
Okay. Let’s go.
Start by pulsing the onions and parsley in the food processor. Then place the mix in a strainer and press to remove the liquid.
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Place the drained parsley and onions in the bottom of a large mixing bowl.
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To the onions and parsley, add the crushed garlic (a blob is about 2 large cloves), salt, halebi biber and coriander.
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Last, add the lamb and sirloin and mix until completely combined.
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Set the mixture aside and roll out your pasta dough.
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Trim the edges so you have a rough rectangle.
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Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into one inch squares and drop about a teaspoon of the meat mixture into the center of each square.
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Pick up a square, dip your finger in a bowl of water, and run along the edges.
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Fold so the corners meet and the square is now a triangle. Be sure to press and seal the edges.
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Fold the top point of the triangle in and over the meat mix, so they almost look like tortellinis. Repeat until all the meat is used up.
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Now, take a break. Trust me. Get a drink or a snack.
Okay, ready for the next part?
Fill a heavy-bottomed pot with enough vegetable oil for the manti to be almost submerged. Turn the heat to medium, and start frying the manti.
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They take about 2-3 minutes on each side. Flip using tongs.
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Then, place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain slightly.
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Then put them in tupperware to store.
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Or, if you’d like to eat them right away, place the desired amount of manti (less than you think per person as these are very heavy) in a pot and cover with chicken broth. Bring to a simmer. Not a boil. Just a simmer. The manti will absorb some of the broth and soften.
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Finally, top the manti with a garlic yogurt sauce (just some chopped garlic stirred into Greek yogurt) and, if you want to be very traditional, some melted butter with torn mint leaves tossed in. We left that out, opting for just yogurt instead.
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And there you have it. Manti.
This is not a fast and easy dish to make, but it is delicious. And if you make a large batch, you freeze the rest and have some Armenian dumplings ready to go.
You know, in case you have a late night craving like pepe.

2 thoughts on “Meme’s Manti

  1. Jacky the manti looks delicious. It brings back memories of when my mom used to make it when my sister and I were young girls. She used to make them and squeeze the edges like little boats, and bake them before putting them in broth. I can recall when they came out of the oven, and we would run in and take a few on a napkin because we couldn’t wait any longer. The joys of an Armenian kitchen! So wonderful that you are keeping Meme’s kitchen alive!! Bravo!!

  2. Jacky, how wonderful that you and Christopher are carrying on Meme’s tradition of cooking and especially all her wonderful food…. especially the Manti… a favorite of Pepe’s and us all…. We know how much love went into making this and how time consuming it is… A wonderful memory and delicious meal. Max and I have made them and so we know how this is a gift of love. xoxo

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