There is an interesting tradition in Turkey related to those mantis, but I will talk about it some other time, when I will be showing you that recipe.
As mentioned in the introduction part, in this post I will share with you the recipe for Balkan style manti. Unlike most other mantis, which are all some kind of dumplings, Balkan manti are rather round-shaped pies, though made from the very same ingredients. It's the preparation that makes them different.
This manti are known wherever some greater percent of Muslim population lives, and cannot be found anywhere. I couldn't tell why they're made in a different manner, but I can tell for sure that they are marvelous!
And this is what you will need to make some manti. You will get approx. 50 pieces out of this ingredients:
for the dough:
- 1 kg flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- approx. 600 ml water (room temperature)
- 150 g butter (melted)
for the filling:
- 2 medium-sized onions
- 400 g minced meat
- 100 g tomato sauce (optional)
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- to taste salt and pepper
- some hot red pepper flakes (optional)
for the topping:
- 500 ml yogurt or buttermilk
- 7-8 garlic cloves
- First, prepare the dough. Combine flour and salt and gradually add water. Start with 400 ml and begin with kneading. Add some more water as you knead until you get a medium-hard dough that does not stick to your hands or to the bowl. You may need some more or some less water, depending on the flour. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.
- After it has rested, divide it into 9 equal parts. Roll out each part just a bit, to approx. ø15-20 cm. Brush each rolled piece of dough with melted butter and lie them on the top of each other. Do not brush the last piece of dough. Cover with some kitchen towel and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, start preparing the filling. I have to mention that the original recipe uses raw meat for stuffing the manti, but I prefer cooking the meat first for any dish, whenever it's possible.
So, if you decide to do it my way, put 3-4 tablespoons of oil or 2 tablespoons of butter into a pot and add minced onions. Cook until soft and translucent. Add meat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until meat loses its pink color. Add spices and tomato sauce, if using any, and combine. Remove from fire and let it cool slightly.
4. Now, let's get back to the dough. After it has rested, roll it out to an approx. 1cm thickness and brush it with butter. Fold it into half and brush with butter once again. Fold again into half (as shown on photo below). Let it rest for 10 minutes.
Cut the sheet into squares (approx. 5x5 cm). It doesn't matter if some pieces have an irregular shape, so do not bother to make it perfectly rectangular.
6. Put 1 tablespoon of filling onto each square.
7. The next thing to do is to shape the manti. Merge together each two opposite corners by lightly pressing them with your fingers. Then, press the remaining opened parts, so that the filling can't go out. And finally, turn the manti upside down and lightly fold the edges so that you get a small ball-shaped pie. See the photo below to get an idea on how it should look like...
Also note that there is another way to prepare the manti sheets, but you need to be very, and I mean VERY skillful to do this. I decided to share with you the simpler version this time, but the "professional" one will follow soon.
Enjoy and bon appétit!