Monday, February 8, 2010


MANTI or TABAK BÖREK (Dumplings)

This is one of the most traditional dishes in Tatar cuisine. Small dumplings with meat filling are cooked in broth and served as a main dish. It may also be served as a dumpling soup (with its own broth). The origin of MANTI goes back to Central Asia. Dumplings of different shape and size are are made in various regions of the Turkic world. For example, MANTI and the Uzbeki "chuchvara" are similar to the dumplings prepared by Volga Tatars and called "pilmen." In Crimean Tatar dialect, the dumpling soup is referred to as "kashik börek" and the dish of dumplings (also Turkish "manti") as "tabak börek."
2 cups wheat flour
1 egg
½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
½ pounds ground beef or lamb (225 grams)
(traditionally minced meat)
1 small onion
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Beef broth for cooking the dumplings
Yogurt or sour cream
Note: One cup in U.S. measurements corresponds to 2.5 deciliters in the metric system.
Sift 2 cups of flours into a bowl and add salt. Beat the egg and mix in the water. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the egg mixture. Mix well and knead the dough until it is smooth. Divide the dough into two balls, and set them aside, covered with a towel for 30 minutes or longer.
To prepare the filling, grate or finely chop the onion. Add to the meat with salt and pepper.
On a flat surface sprinkled with flour, roll out each ball of dough into a round layer about 1/16 inch or 1 mm thick. Using a cookie cutter or a glass, cut out round pieces about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter (4-5 cm). Place 1/2 teaspoon filling on each round piece and fold one half of the dough over the other half so as to form half-moons. Seal the edges. Take the two ends, overlap, and press gently.
Cook the dumplings in boiling water or broth for about 10 minutes or until the edges of te dumpling appears translucent but still firm. Generally, dumplings are served in the broth as a soup, and yogurt or sour cream may be added to individual bowls. If a dish of dumplings is preferred, then remove them carefully from the boiling pot with a slotted spoon and serve with melted butter, yogurt or sour cream.
NOTE: The recipe was written by Inci Bowman, based on information provided by several TMG members: Akif Ali, Sermin Hardesty, Rashid Khairoulin, and Ilcen Mert. The basic recipe for dough and filling was given by Alice Arndt, a food historian in Houston, Texas.

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