This is one of my favorite Russian recipes – “Manti.” Although this dish is very popular in Russia, it’s influenced by the Asian cuisine.
The Russians steam the manti in a special pot called “Mantnitsa” but you can buy a steaming pot at an Asian market (the typical steamer consists of a boiling pot and two tiers). This recipe a rather involved, so you have to dedicate yourself! This dish is great to make on a weekend and then enjoy all week as it preserves really well in the fridge.
- 3/4 lb ground meat (beef + pork)
- 3 onions
- salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (and extra)
- 1 3/4 cup water
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 can Hunts tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp basil
- 2 tbsp corn starch or flour for the sauce
The meat filling: Place ground meat in a bowl and season it with salt and pepper by kneading the meat with your clean hands. (Add a little bit of water so that it’s easier to mix, if desired). Add 1 finely-chopped onion slices and mix them in as well. Set aside in the fridge.
Make the dough: Put flour in a bowl and make a crater-like indentation. Drop an egg in the middle, sprinkle some salt all over into the bowl. Start adding 3/4c water and at the same time mix the egg and flour with the fork. After the dough became more manageable, transfer the mixture onto a floured counter-top surface and knead with your clean hands for about 15 minutes or until the dough has smooth and even consistency. (If the dough is too sticky or too soft, add more flour until the dough comes easily off your hands.) Let rest for 30 min.
Gather the tools: Have a rolling pan, cutting board, clean counter-top surface and the meat ready.
Make the dumplings: Roll out the dough, but not too thin. Use large glass to cut out rounds (re-roll the scraps later). Put a spoon of meat in the center of each round. Pinch two of the opposite ends of the round to make one seal by pressing firmly (dip your fingers in a flour if sticky). Then open and pinch the other two opposite ends (two more seals). Then make the side seals hug hands by pinching the ends together on both sides.
Ready to steam: While you are making the last of manti pieces, start boiling 3/4 pot of water. When it starts to boil, add 1 tbsp of salt and reduce heat to medium. Place manti on lightly greased steamer tiers. Space the manti apart so that they don’t touch. Stack everything on the steamer and steam for 40 minutes.
The Red Sauce: Cut 2 remaining onions into half circles and saute them in 2 tbsp of butter. Add 1tbsp of butter. Add 1c hot water and 1 small can of Hunts tomato sauce. Add some basil. Then add some corn starch to thicken the sauce. Stir with a spoon until the sauce is not too runny.
Enjoy: Put 4-5 manti on a plate and add the red sauce. Also, you can use soy sauce, sour cream or simply butter as a topping.