Sini Manti (Armenian Baked Lamb Manti) Recipe

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[Photographs: Andrew Janjigian]

Manti are meat-filled dumplings commonplace to many Central and West Asian cuisines. At their most simple, they’re parcels of spiced flooring lamb or red meat surrounded through a skinny wheat dough wrapper, and they are usually steamed or boiled. The phrase “manti” is etymologically connected to mandu in Korean, mantou in Chinese, and manju in Japanese, illustrating the far-flung historical past of the dish, which is assumed to were carried from East to West Asia through Mongols touring the Silk Road.

Armenian manti, also known as “sini manti,” are a variation by which the dumplings—tiny, canoe-shaped, and open-faced, on this case—are baked till crisp after which served in a tomato-infused meat broth, completed with a dollop of yogurt, minced garlic, and a sprinkling of Aleppo pepper and sumac powder. To me, this without equal manti, because the aggregate of flavors and textures is exceptional: crunchy-crisp dumplings, their corners softened gently through the new, fragrant broth, paired with the cool, tart yogurt, it all brightened through calmly highly spiced, fruity, and tart garnishes.

Up till a couple of years in the past, consuming manti was once a Christmas Eve ritual for my prolonged Armenian circle of relatives. For weeks ahead of the vacation, the ladies within the circle of relatives would collect in combination on weekends in my Aunt Esther’s kitchen to roll, fill, form, and bake the tiny dumplings, which might then be frozen prematurely of the Christmas Eve meal. Hours and hours (and hours) of labor went into making sufficient manti to feed a couple of dozen other people a meal they’d been having a look ahead to consuming throughout the year. And then it will be over, and we’d all have to attend every other 12 months to benefit from the dish.

Sadly, as schedules grew busier and other people grew older, we let this ritual fall through the wayside. I exploit “we” right here, regardless that actually the verdict was once by no means as much as me or any of the opposite males in my circle of relatives, since we by no means participated within the paintings of constructing manti ourselves. When the ladies of our extended family made up our minds that they not had the time or power to make manti for Christmas Eve, it was once a tragic, however solely comprehensible second, given the exertions concerned.

Which is why I sought after to create a manti recipe for you right here, to carry our circle of relatives custom again, even though handiest in recipe shape. I used my Aunt Esther’s manti recipe as the foundation and place to begin for my very own. I’ve streamlined her procedure reasonably through turning to labor- and time-saving equipment like a pasta curler and drive cooker, and I’ve taken liberties with the dough method a bit, however for probably the most section I’ve attempted to stay true to the spirit of her recipe, and the end result.

As with all stuffed dumplings, manti are very best made in a gaggle atmosphere, the place the roles of rolling, slicing, filling, and shaping may also be shared amongst many of us. For the time being, that’s clearly now not an choice, however I will say that all through many rounds of recipe trying out my spouse and I had no drawback making many loads of manti all on our personal, simply the 2 folks. Nor did we have now any drawback consuming all of them ourselves.

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