These homemade baked Manti (Sini Manti) are traditional Armenian dumplings. They feature a savory beef filling and a luscious yogurt-garlic sauce. While some recipes differ, using lamb instead of beef, this is my family's beloved version. It's by far the best I've ever had on two continents!
3 ½cups(440 grams) all-purpose flourplus more as needed
1pound(450 grams) ground beef
1small onionminced (about ⅓ cup)
½teaspoonground black pepper
3clovesgarlicfinely chopped or crushed
4tablespoons(57 grams) unsalted butterplus more for greasing pans
3cupslow-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Beat together the eggs, water, salt, and olive oil.
To make the dough by hand, fill a large mixing bowl with the flour and make a well in the center. Add the wet ingredients to the well. Slowly incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients until a ball of dough is formed. Alternatively to make the dough in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour to the mixer bowl, then add the wet ingredients and mix for 3 to 4 minutes until smooth and pliable. If the dough is sticky add a bit of flour as needed, and continue to mix/knead the dough until smooth. Cover the dough with a tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes.
Mix together the ground beef, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and paprika until well incorporated. Refrigerate until needed.
Preheat the oven to 400°F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Grease 2 (13 by 9-inch) baking pans or 1 larger (13 by 18-inch) pan with butter and set aside.
Using a hand-cranked pasta roller or a rolling pin, in batches roll out the dough until it's very thin, dusting the dough with flour as needed. If using the Kitchenaid pasta roller attachment, roll until #4 for thickness (see notes below).
On a lightly floured surface, cut each strip of dough into 1 ½ inch squares. Place a ½ teaspoon of meat filling into the center of each square and pinch the two ends with your fingers to form a canoe-shaped dumpling.
Repeat with the remaining dough and meat filling. Arrange the manti close together in the buttered pans. Dot the tops of the manti with bits of butter, and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, mix the yogurt and garlic, and season with salt. Set aside.
Add the chicken broth and water to a saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
When the manti are golden brown, remove the pans from the oven and ladle the broth mixture over the manti. The broth should fill the pan about ¾ of the way up the manti. Reserve the rest of the broth for serving.
Return the pans to the oven and bake for 10 minutes longer until most of the broth is absorbed into the manti, and about ¼-inch of broth (or less) remains on the bottom and the manti have slightly plumped up. They will have a firmer than al dente texture, with a slight crunch at the ends, but you can bake them longer with the broth if you want a slightly softer texture.
Remove the pans from the oven and serve manti in individual wide bowls, ladling some more of the hot broth over it. Top with yogurt-garlic sauce and sumac. Enjoy!
To roll the dough with a manual pasta roller or Kitchenaid pasta roller attachment: Cut off a 4 ½ to 5 ½ ounce piece of dough (approximate) from the large ball of dough in the mixing bowl, and cover the remaining dough with a clean kitchen towel. Lightly flour your work surface and the small piece of dough and carefully stretch and press it into a rough rectangle. With the pasta roller on its widest setting (usually #1 on the dial), roll the dough through the machine to flatten and stretch it. With the machine still on the widest setting, fold the dough back over itself and run it through the machine again. Do this 2 or 3 times total, lightly flouring the dough if necessary in between. Then one at a time, adjust the dial to the next widest setting (#2) and run the dough through the machine again one time. Then tighten it to next thickness and repeat. And so on. You'll do this until you reach your desired thickness. On the Kitchenaid pasta roller attachment we like setting #4 for the optimal thickness.
To freeze: prepare the trays of manti through step 7 (before adding the broth). After cooling they can be wrapped in foil and frozen in their trays, or they can be frozen in freezer bags and then reassembled in a single layer into trays before finishing. To finish cooking: defrost the manti overnight in the refrigerator. Bake them in trays at 400°F for about 10 minutes, then add the hot broth and continue with the following steps as instructed.
If you bake the manti in a darker pan (such as a non-stick pan) they will brown much faster than in a lighter colored metal pan. In that case bake it for less time just until the manti are golden brown.
If you multiply this recipe and make additional pans of manti you should bake half the pans in the upper third of your oven and the other half the pans in the lower third of your oven (make them fit as best as you can). Rotate the pans from top to bottom and bottom to top partway through cooking so they brown evenly. You may need to bake them a bit longer (around 1 hour) so all the pans are evenly browned. Doubling the amount of pans in the oven will make them collectively bake a bit slower.
This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind.