Afghan Mantu

Brief History

Afghan mantu is one of the most popular dishes from Afghanistan. It is a meat (usually beef or lamb) stuffed dumpling that is steamed in a multilayer steamer. Mantu is served on special occasions and often during large gatherings. In Afghanistan, cooked mantu is often sold at markets and busy streets, much like hotdog stands. Mantu can be served as both a main or side dish.

Afghan mantu dates back to the time of the Turkic and Mongol horsemen of Central Asia. It is believed that the horsemen carried frozen mantu during the cold winters while traveling long distances and then boiled them over camp fires for supper.

Afghan mantu is served with chaka (which consists of drained yogurt, minced garlic, lemon, salt) and a variety of sauces and toppings, including ground meat, mixed vegetable, chickpea, or even just cooked onions. The recipe below will show you how to make Afghan mantu served with Chaka and a mixed vegetable sauce. Enjoy!

Recipes (Click here to view original reference)

Preparation and Cook Time
  • Prep time: 35 min
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook time: 40 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour 15 min

Ingredients for Mantu
  • 2 cups ground beef or lamb
  • 2/3 cup onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 package of egg roll or wonton wraps

Ingredients for the Mixed Vegetable Sauce
  • 2 cups frozen vegetable mix
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Mantu Cooking Instructions
  1. Heat pan over a medium heat and add the garlic, ground beef, coriander, and some salt. Cook until the meat is half-way cooked for about 15 to 20 minutes. Add a few dashes of black pepper to taste and then remove from heat.
  2. Mix in the cup of raw chopped onions with the meat and let it cool down to room temperature.
  3. Cut egg roll wraps into 4" diameter circles or squares. Place approximately one tablespoon of the cooled ground meat and onion mixture onto each wrap. To make the wraps stick together easily, wet the edges with water (you may use your fingers or a basting brush). Fold over first two opposite ends of the egg roll wrap, followed by other two ends to enclose dumplings. Press the edges tightly to seal together. Continue doing this with the remaining wraps.
  4. Take the racks out of the steamer dish. Add water to the dish, cover, and bring to boil. Grease the bottom of the steamer racks with oil to prevent sticking and place the dumplings on top, leaving some room in between each dumpling so they don't stick together. Once the water has come to a boil, place the racks filled with dumplings back on to the steamer dish. Cover lid and steam for approximately 40 minutes.
  5. While the dumplings are steaming, prepare the vegetable sauce mixture.

Vegetable Sauce Cooking Instructions
  1. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for about 5-6 minutes, or until soft and somewhat translucent. Add garlic, turmeric, and cumin to sauté for two additional minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste and salt, and heat for one minute.
  3. Add frozen vegetable mix and stir/cook for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add a pinch of black pepper to taste. (Optional)

Yogurt Mixture
  1. 1 cup strained Greek yogurt
  2. 1 clove garlic, minced
  3. 2 tablespoon of lime or lemon juice
  4. Salt to taste
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

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