My unmatched Citizens of TFD Nation! I, the Malik of Manti, have been itching to share this particular recipe for some time as the food of the proud nation of Uzbekistan is near and dear to My unmatched palate and is a cuisine rarely experienced in the West. Manti are one of the most beloved recipes in Uzbekistan, though they are much larger than the tiny Turkish manti Westerners are more familiar with and spiced in the classic Silk Road style. My beloved Citizens, this recipe is not difficult to prepare and will bring the potent flavors of the region to your own table with grace and savor in equal measures!
Manti is a type of dumpling popular in most cuisines of the South Caucasus, Balkans, Central Asia, and Afghanistan. Manti is also popular among Chinese Muslims, and it is consumed throughout post-Soviet countries, where the dish spread from the Central Asian republics. The dumplings typically consist of a spiced meat mixture, usually lamb or ground beef, wrapped in a thin dough sheet which is then boiled or steamed. The size and shape of manti vary significantly depending on geographic location.
Manti resemble the Chinese jiaozi and baozi, Korean mandu, Mongolian buuz and the Tibetan momo. The dish’s name is cognate with Chinese mantou, Korean mandu, and Japanese manjū, though the modern Chinese and Japanese counterparts mostly refer to different dishes. The name, depending on the language, can refer to a single dumpling or to more than one dumpling at a time; in English, it is often used as both a singular and plural form.
The Chinese word mantou has been suggested as the origin for the word manti, though the origin of the name manti is somewhat uncertain. Several different Chinese characters were originally used to spell the dish’s name, which potentially indicates the Chinese adapted a foreign word to their writing system. The term mantou (饅頭) appears in early records of the Jin dynasty (266CE–420CE) and similar foods were produced and consumed in earlier periods. Different Chinese synonyms such as manshou (饅首)” and zhengbing (蒸餅) were also already in use.
Originally, mantou was meat-filled and mantou still retains its old meaning of stuffed bun in Wu Chinese as moedeu. However, in Mandarin and many other varieties of Chinese, mantou refers to plain steamed buns, while baozi resemble the ancient mantou stuffed with meat. Some of the earliest mentions of dishes resembling Turkic manti date to the Mongol Empire. One such mention of manta is found in the 1330 manuscript Yinshan Zhengyao by Hu Sihui, a Chinese court therapist in service of the Yuan Dynasty Emperor, Buyantu Khan. Some variations may be traced back to the Uyghur people of northwest China.
In general, there is agreement that the recipe was carried across Central Asia along the Silk Road to Anatolia by Turkic and Mongol peoples. According to Holly Chase, “Turkic and Mongol horsemen on the move are supposed to have carried frozen or dried manti, which could be quickly boiled over a camp-fire”. According to an Armenian researcher, Armenian manti first reached Cilician Armenia as a result of the cultural interaction between Armenians and Mongols during their alliance in the 13th century.
Migrating Turkic-speaking peoples brought the dumpling with them to Anatolia, where it evolved into the Turkish manti. When the Tatars settled into the Kayseri region of modern-day Turkey, the area became known for its manti. Korean mandu is said to have arrived in Korea through the Mongols in the 14th century. However, some researchers do not discount the possibility that manti may have originated in the Middle East and spread eastward to China and Korea through the Silk Road.
The earliest written Ottoman mantı recipe appears in a 15th-century cookbook written by Muhammed bin Mahmud Shirvani. The version in Shirvani’s book is a steamed dumpling with a minced lamb and crushed chickpeas filling spiced with cinnamon and flavored with vinegar. The dish was garnished with sumac and like most contemporary mantı variations, it was served with a garlic-yoghurt sauce.
Many early Turkish cookbooks do not mention a dish called mantı. The first printed recipe book, Melceüt`t Tabâhhin, was published in 1844. It includes a recipe for a dish called Tatar böreği, which is similar to mantı but is not served with garlic yoghurt sauce. The first English-language Ottoman cookbook and a third cookbook printed in 1880 includes this same recipe.
Manti in Central Asian cuisines are usually larger in size. They are steamed in a multi-level metal steamer called mantovarka, mantyshnitsa (Russian terms for manti cooker), manti-kazan or manti-kaskan (manti pot). It consists of layered pans with holes that are placed over a stockpot filled with water. Steaming is the main method of cooking manti; if boiled or fried, they are considered another type of dumpling, such as pelmeni.
In Kazakh cuisine and Kyrgyz cuisine, the manti filling is normally minced lamb (sometimes beef or horse meat), spiced with black pepper, sometimes with the addition of chopped pumpkin or squash. This is considered to be a traditional Uyghur recipe. Manti is served topped with butter, sour cream or an onion sauce or garlic sauce. When sold as street food in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, manti are typically presented sprinkled with hot red pepper powder.
In Uzbek and Tajik cuisines, manti are usually made of one (or a combination) of the following ingredients: lamb, beef, cabbage, potato or pumpkin, with fat often added to meat manti. Manti is usually topped with butter and maybe served with sour cream, different types of ketchup, or freshly sliced onions (sprinkled with vinegar and black pepper). A sauce made by mixing vinegar and chili powder is also common. Uzbeki Bukharian Jews also use cheese fillings, and such dumplings are usually served with yogurt. In Uzbekistan, manti are also called kaskoni.
The same style of cooking manti is traditional for Tatar, Bashkir and other cuisines of the Turkic peoples living in the vast area from Idel-Ural to the Far East. It is nowadays widespread throughout Russia and other post-Soviet countries.
As further elucidated in this excerpted story from euronews.com:
As Uzbekistan gears up for celebrations surrounding the 30th anniversary of its independence from the USSR on September 1, we travel back in time and explore the country’s history and culture through its cuisine.
Uzbekistan has been inhabited since Neanderthal man first lived there during the Old Stone Age, around 300,000 to 40,000 years ago. After that, the country’s story gets more diverse. In the first millennium BC, Iranian nomads occupied the land, then the Scythians, Achaemenids, Greeks, Arabs and Mongols, according to Sophie Ibbotson, Uzbekistan’s official Ambassador for Tourism and consultant to the World Bank.
Three Silk Road cities Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva also fall on Uzbek soil. And the people, the ideas and goods that travelled the route have become part of Uzbekistan’s culture, including its cuisine.
Largely thanks to the Silk Road, Uzbekistan’s culinary tradition is made of a mix of East and West, offering roasted meats and tandoor-baked bread from Central and Eastern European countries like Turkey, Iran, and Morocco, as well as steamed dumplings and noodles found in the likes of China, Nepal, and other Eastern Asian countries.
After becoming independent from the Soviet Union, the cuisine in Uzbekistan played a role in growing national unity, developing a distinct identity “through the savvy use of national cuisine”, according to food historians Glenn Mack and Asele Surina.
The country’s culinary tradition has also been transformed by globalisation, and migrations from other former Soviet states have also brought more diversity onto plates.
Some food historians think that original Uzbek cuisine took its present form recently, only 120-150 years ago, when the country also starting experimenting with products and culinary techniques from European dishes.
Uzbekistan has distinct geography consisting of deserts, oases, valleys and mountains, and they have made use of their land. Uzbeks extensively cultivated grain and domesticated livestock. And the investment granted an abundance of produce, which also enriched their cuisine.
Most traditional recipes today have a farm-to-table model and a common ingredient: meat and animal fat. Staple ingredients also include flour (for the preparation of recipes such as dumplings and noodles), rice, vegetables, and spices such as cumin, pepper, coriander, cinnamon and bay leaves.
As further noted on people-travels.com:
In Uzbekistan manti are very popular and common dish, steamed out of the delicate fine dough with juicy meat filling inside. As a rule, Uzbek steamed dumplings – manti are served for lunch or dinner. In Uzbekistan, hot and still steaming manti are served on a large colorful lagan (platter), and one takes the right amount of it. Most of the dishes of Uzbek cuisine supposed to eat with your hands, manti are among them.
By the way, you will understand that eating manti with hands not only convenient, but also much more delicious – juicy stuffing does not fall out, but remains with the juice inside manti. Therefore, if you are invited to visit Uzbekistan and served Uzbek manti, safely eat it with hands – it does not violate the etiquette.
Uzbek manti is one of the many dishes of Uzbek cuisine, which gives scope for the irrepressible imagination of cooks. Only the composition of the dough is in fact unchanged, and stuffing safely varies depending on the season and taste preferences. So, stuffing can consist of meat, potatoes, greens, turnips, tomato, sweet pepper, and even there is manti with pumpkin. The main thing, that onion and dumba (fatty tail) would be always on hand in abundance.
Citizens, as much as I would DEARLY love to make My usual ultra-authentic version of a recipe – in this case, I simply cannot as I am lacking a most important ingredient here in this country! Specifically, I speak of the tail meat and fat from the fat-tail sheep of the Silk Road region! When I say “fat tail” I mean it – LOOK at this beast! Traditionally, you’d be using mutton from this sheep as opposed to lamb (mutton is the adult sheep), but mutton is virtually impossible to find in this country due to lack of demand.
The meat and fat from that fat tail is also unique – grainy, meaty-tasting and absolutely delicious – and it is equally impossible to find this ANYWHERE in the United States. Believe me, I’ve tried! However, we can substitute as best we can by using organic lamb breast meat mixed with organic lamb fat – you can buy both from this excellent lamb purveyor I frequent at the links. I like to use smoked salt to approximate how manti used to be made outdoors over a wood fire – this one is my go-to. Wild cumin is traditionally used in Uzbekistan and I specify it as well – this brand is excellent!
Citizens, this is a superb and delicious recipe that absolutely belongs in your repertoire – trust Me, it’s going to be very much in demand by your oh-so-lucky guests! 😀 Thanks to my use of judicious amounts of lamb fat as well as lamb chop and breast meat, these are always going to be juicy and delicious, just the way Uzbekis demand their manti to be at home!
Battle on – the GeneralissimoPrint
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