A concoction of small dough parcels, traditionally filled with ground lamb meat. The dough parcels are made from basic pasta-like dough. The meat is is essentially encased in the dough then baked and served with accompanying sauces.
Believed to have originated in Armenia, then moved to Turkey. Now both Armenian and Turkish cuisines make manti. Both methods are essentially the same however the Armenian Manti, keeps the centre of the dumplin open, while the Turkish enclose it fully by pinching all sides at the centre. The Armenian version is served with a tomato sauce and a yogurt sauce, while the Turkish one is served with a yogurt sauce topped with a drizzling of spiced oil. All the remaining steps are more or less the same. (I have included both methods below)
One more Manti worth mentioning is the Uzbek Manti, which is more or less the same, however made much larger and shaped like a flower or basket. The main difference is that the dumpling is steamed and served with yogurt and spicy oil on the side.
Back to the Armenian Manti, which once filled, the parcels are baked in a moderate oven until browned. This results in a crunchy texture that is usually aided/soften slightly by serving with the sauces. Some traditional recipes I found, also call for adding some water towards the end of baking, just to soften the manti slightly. However, more often than not, you will be served the crunchy manti, which goes to show that not many follow the whole rehydrating step towards the end of baking.
In all versions of Manti, sumac is an essential component. It is always sprinkled over the manti, placed at the table for top ups. It is what gives Manti that tang, and works beautifully with the flavour of lamb.
I make manti regularly following the method I describe below, however, at times I also make it with a delicious twist to the traditional. Where I make it with an Armenian Sujuk filling (Armenian sausages), instead of the traditional lamb filling. It turns out fabulous! The sujuk recipe is on the link at the end of the post. Use that filling instead of the traditional one here and it turns out succulent. Always good to have variations.
Keeping with the Armenian spirit, I have included for you a video of Armenian women making Lavash (the traditional Armenian Flatbread). Absolutely love it!