Mantu with Chicken and Leek
Mantu is a delicious little package of a dumpling which is usually made with beef or lamb mince. If you are looking for a traditional Mantu recipe then stop reading now because this is taking the traditional Mantu dumplings and fusing it with two ingredients that love each other; Chicken and Leek. There is also the unusual shape and quick cheat for the pastry which might make the traditionalist unhappy! If you want to use beef or lamb you can still follow the same recipe. I still think chicken is lighter and tastier with the leek.
This recipe makes 80 dumplings.
800 grams chicken breast (you can mince it in a food processor or puchase mince)
Handful of fresh coriander finely chopped
Handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
1 or 2 small green chilli according to your preferences, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves
8 TBSP Olive oil
2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Coriander powder
2 tsp black Pepper
Pinch of Salt
1 large leek finely chopped
2 large onions
Wonton Skin pastry squares - need 80 sheets
1 cup split yellow peas washed well
3 TBSP tomato paste
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 cups yogurt
1 TBSP dry mint leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP dry mint
Making the mince mixture
Weigh 180 grams of the chicken breast mince and set aside.
Put the remaining mince in a separate bowl with the following ingredients; coriander, parsley, green chilli and crush two garlic cloves. Mix well.
Add 3 tablespoons oil to a heavy set pan and add the following ingredients: 1 teaspoon of turmeric, cumin, coriander powder, pepper and salt.
When the spices are aromatic, add finely chopped leek with 2 tablespoons water and turn the heat to low. Cover with a lid and allow the leeks to sweat until soft. Add the mince that you mixed with the garlic and herbs. Stir to ensure the mixture is well blended with the leeks and cooked through. Ensure all the moisture has dried up. Taste for salt and pepper.
Take off the heat. Finely chop one of the onions and add it to the cooked mince and mix well. Set aside to cool.
Filling the dumplings
When the mixture has cooled down, begin filling the pastry skins. Lay out a few squares of pastry on a bench. Wet the outer edges of the pasty squares with water. Drop approximately 1 teaspoon of cooked chicken mince mixture on the centre of the pastry square. Take two opposite corners of a square and seal them together, next join the other two opposing corners together at the tips. It should look like a little parcel with filling inside. Continue until all the mince and pastry skins are finished. Put the dumplings into a steamer and steam for 3-5 minutes. Taste to ensure the dumplings skins are cooked through before you remove them. If not, cook longer.
Making the Sauce
Place the yellow split peas in a microwave safe bowl, cover with water and plastic wrap. Cook in the microwave for 15 minutes on medium. Take out, rinse, and set aside. They should be softened but not broken down.
In a deep saucepan, add 5 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander seeds, and turmeric, as well as the second large onion finely chopped with the remaining garlic cloves. When the onion is soft, add tomato paste and chicken mince that you had set aside.
Cook, stirring regularly until the chicken has cooked through. Add the split peas and enough water to just cover the mixture. Simmer on low heat. Salt to taste and add more chopped fresh chilli, if you like it spicy. Keep adding water until the peas are cooked soft and hold their shape. When the split yellow peas are cooked, turn down the heat and simmer. Allow the moisture to dry up so you are left with a lovely sauce.
Take half the yogurt and put into a blender with all the ingredients. Blend until the herbs and garlic are completely broken down. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add the rest of the yogurt and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Arranging the dumplings
Spread the yogurt sauce on a large platter. Place dumplings on the yogurt sauce as one or two layers, ensuring there is enough yogurt to cover between the layers. Add more yogurt on top of the dumplings. Spoon the sauce over the top to cover the dumplings.
Make the oil dressing by heating the oil and frying the garlic until soft brown, but not burnt. Add dry mint leaves and stir quickly. Pour over the top of the dish and serve immediately.
Let me know how you go!
Get your hands on my cookbook. It has a full dinner menu for an Afghan dinner party at your place. Now available in print version! Go to: www.afghancookbook.com
NB: Leftover mince or sauce can be used to make an omelette the next day by reheating and cracking an egg into it. Delicious!