In Turkey, where these tiny spicy lamb dumplings originated, the size of manti reflects the respect held for the recipient. Manti as small as a centimetre square aren't unheard of for an esteemed guest. Some manti are baked, some boiled and some are both, which is what we've chosen to do here. Using both methods gives a slightly chewy texture and nutty flavour to the dumpling skins.
- 100 gm chilled butter, diced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ cup (loosely packed) mint
- 275 gm plain flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ Spanish onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 250 gm minced lamb
- 1½ tsp each sweet paprika, cayenne and dried mint
- 1For manti dough, combine flour and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add egg and 80ml cold water and lightly whisk with a fork, then use the fork to start gradually pulling in the flour from the edges as you go. When dough becomes too thick to mix with a fork, use your hands, gradually adding a tablespoon of water at a time until a firm dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (5-6 minutes), then cover dough with a damp cloth and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- 2For lamb filling, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic, and sauté until tender (2-3 minutes). Cool to room temperature, then combine in a bowl with remaining ingredients, season to taste and mix well. Roll half-teaspoonfuls of lamb mixture into balls and refrigerate in a single layer on a tray until needed.
- 3Preheat oven to 180C. Cut dough into four and, working with a piece at a time, keeping remaining covered with plastic wrap, roll out on a lightly floured surface to 2mm thick. Cut into 3cm squares and place a ball of lamb mixture in the centre of each. Working with one square at a time and covering the rest with a tea towel, bring opposite corners together, then press all edges together to seal in a cross formation. Place on an oven tray lined with lightly oiled baking paper and repeat with remaining dough and meatballs. Bake manti until beginning to turn golden (8-10 minutes), then cool and refrigerate until required. Manti will keep refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for a month.
- 4Place manti in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, stirring as you add them to prevent them sticking to the bottom of the pan, and cook to warm through (4-5 minutes; if cooking from frozen allow extra cooking time), then drain well.
- 5Meanwhile, heat butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat until light golden (1-2 minutes), add garlic, mint and rind, and cook until fragrant (1 minute). Remove from heat.
- 6Spread yoghurt over the base of serving bowls, then spoon manti on top. Drizzle with hot mint butter, scatter with sumac, season to taste, and serve hot with lemon wedges for squeezing.
Drink Suggestion: Earthy Hunter shiraz. Drink suggestion by Max Allen