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  • Writer's pictureKonky's Creative Kitchen

Mantu - Afghan Dumplings

This is the native dish of Afghanistan. A dumpling of thin dough that is filled with ground beef, ground lamb or a combination of the two. Fresh herbs, vegetables and spices go into the mixture and are sealed, steamed and presented with a variety of sauces such as a seasoned yogurt, a fragrant tomato sauce, cooked lentils and/or fresh cilantro on top.


These beautiful parcels are served for special occasions and large gatherings. Even the street vendors and shops will have mantu for purchase! This is a main dish or also served as a side dish. Not only are mantu known in Afghanistan, they are also found in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. This dish dates back to the time of Turkic and Mongol Horsemen of Central Asia.


This is a three part recipe that involves heavy mise en place. So, make sure your knives are sharpened, cutting board is set and your fingers tucked in and let's get prepping!

INGREDIENTS - MANTU DUMPLINGS:

1lb/453g Ground Lamb or Beef

3 Carrots, large, scrubbed well (optional: peel them), finely diced

2-3 Celery ribs, scrubbed well, finely diced

1 Bunch Scallions - 3 Halved and chopped, 3 Finely chopped

1 Bunch each: Mint, Cilantro, Dill and Thyme (take 1/4 of each)

1/4 C-1/3 C Garlic, finely minced

1/3 C Zaatar

2 TB Sumac

2-3 TB Olive oil

Kosher salt/Black Pepper to taste

1 pkg Flour Dumpling Wrappers (or make your own dough)


INGREDIENTS - FRAGRANT TOMATO SAUCE BASE 1lb Cherry Tomatoes

1/2 C Shallots, sliced

1/4 C Garlic, finely minced

2-3 TB Cumin Seeds

1 TB Fennel Seeds

1 TB Ras El Hanout (or Turmeric)

1/2 C - 1 C Vegetable/Chicken Stock (your preference)

1/3 C - 1/2 C Olive Oil

Kosher Salt, to taste

Black Pepper, to taste


INGREDIENTS - HERBED VINAIGRETTE SAUCE BASE Remaining Mint, Cilantro, Dill and Thyme (Keep a few of each for garnish)

1/4 C Tomato Sauce base

1/4 C White Vinegar

1/3 C - 1/2 C Olive Oil

Kosher Salt, to taste

Black Pepper, to taste


Prep all of your ingredients for each of the three MANTU - MIXTURE

  1. Large bowl - add all of your prepped vegetables from the Mantu recipe

  2. Add thyme leaves to your own liking

  3. Add half of the garlic into the bowl and mix well.

  4. Grab a small bowl - divide the vegetable batch in half and fill this

  5. Add your chopped herbs to the small vegetable-filled bowl

  6. Grab a large bowl and add your ground meat and small vegetable-herb filled bowl together

  7. Mash this and mix well

  8. Add olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper to your liking

  9. Continue to mix everthing together for about 5 minutes or until completely smooth - set aside

FRAGRANT TOMATO SAUCE BASE

  1. Oven to 400°F/205°C

  2. In a roasting pan, add your olive oil, spices, cherry tomatoes and shallots

  3. Toss to coat

  4. Roast off in the oven for about 20 minutes

  5. Remove and allow to cool

  6. Using a high powered blender, blitz the sauce to form a thick base.

  7. Add chicken or vegetable stock to thin this out to your liking

HERBED VINAIGRETTE SAUCE BASE

  1. Grab all ingredients and blitz in a high powered blender, set aside

BASIC MANTU DUMPLING FOLD

  1. Hold one wrapper in your hand.

  2. Lightly spread water around the edges with your finger

  3. Spoon a heavy tablespoon's worth of the mantu-mixture.

  4. Gently fold upward as if you are holding a taco - pinch the very middle together

  5. Bring the sides up and continue to pinch the very middle together

  6. Make sure all sides are pinched closed and secured

ROSE MANTU DUMPLING FOLD

  1. On your cutting board, line the first wrapper

  2. Lightly spread water around the edges with your finger

  3. Gently overlap wrapper #2 on the side of wrapper #1 and press. Repeat with watering the edges.

  4. Gently overlap wrapper #3 on the side of wrapper #2 and press. Repeat with watering the edges - this should look like three dominoed wrappers

  5. Grab some of the manu mixture and create a logged line just below the middle of the three wrappers. Leave the edge clear of mixture.

  6. Refresh the wrappers with water if needed.

  7. Fold the wrappers from the bottom and line up the wrappers at the top.

  8. Begin sealing the edges

  9. Lightly spread water along the length of the mantu

  10. Begin rolling the mantu into itself to form a spiral. Gently seal the edge to the base of the mantu

COOKING THE MANTU

  1. Just like Chinese dumplings, bring your pan to medium-high heat, add neutral oil and light dusting of kosher salt

  2. Begin adding your formed mantu to the pan while allowing space in between

  3. After a few minutes, check the bottoms of the mantu to see if they are starting to brown. Move your lighter bottoms to the center, if needed

  4. Hold the lid just above the pan and add 8oz water, immediately cover the pan with the lid. This will begin the cooking/steaming process on the mantu

  5. After about five minutes, add another 4oz of water. Allow to cook for another few minutes. Turn off the heat. Remove the cooked mantu and place on a platter to the side.

  6. Empty the pan and return it to the heat with more neutral oil, kosher salt and black pepper

  7. Add the remaining half of the prepped vegetables and saute for approximately five minutes. Remove from the pan into a bowl. Turn off the heat and place pan to the side.

PLATING

  1. With the tomato sauce and the herbed vinaigrette sauce, apply a light coating to the plate.

  2. Place one cooked mantu on each sauced section.

  3. Garnish with fresh herbs, the cooked vegetables and lightly dust with sumac



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