Manti (both cold and hot) is a dish originating from Central Asia
It is dough stuffed with meat – is the best description of this interesting dish. The remaining question is the choice. Some cooks cook the mantle, some bake this dish, and some cover the mantle with yogurt or sour milk. That’s how it was for centuries and that’s how it is today.
Manti (the word is of Greek origin: mantion) and denotes a part of clothing similar to a long robe, robe of sacred faces, cloak, mantle. The word “manti” of Turkish origin is also used, which is called a type of pie. This word came to Turkey from the Far East (more precisely, from China).
Some researchers (cultural history of food) link manti to Central Asia because a similar dish with a similar name (mantu, mandi, mono, etc.) appears in Korea, Afghanistan, Tibet, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Armenia and Turkey. The dish was also popular in the former USSR, in the holy city of Mecca (Saudi Arabia), but also among Tatars in Crimea.
Mantis are delicious both hot and cold. If a cook or a skilled housewife describes “mantija” then they will definitely mention “dough dish filled with minced meat”. In some regions, this dish is called “pita” and served “like pate with meat”. In Asian kitchens, it is cooked in steam or in water. In Turkey, the dish is baked in ovens. There is also a saying in Turkey “If a girl can’t make 40 mantis fit in one spoon, then that girl can’t get married.”
In cookbooks and recipe collections, mantles are classified as “appetizers”. Thus, in the collection of recipes “Balkan kitchen” (1987) there is a description for mantles. The explanation says that the filling is made from ground meat, oil, onion, pepper and ground red pepper. And it is prepared by placing a full spoonful of filling in the middle of the dough. The piece of dough is in the shape of a square and has a diameter of 10X10cm. Then the end parts of the square are assembled over the filling. This is how the filling is “wrapped” in the dough.
The Turks took the dish further into the world to the west during the time of Gingis Khan and Temerlan. According to legend, horsemen always carried this dish in their bag (frozen or dry) to quickly cook or roast on the campfire. Hence the name “Tatar burek” used in Turkey. Culinary historians and respected chefs say that this indicates the connection of the mantle with nomadic peoples.
The dish from Anatolia arrived in Italy very early, i.e. in the middle of the 14th century, in the form of “ravioli”.
Meanwhile, the mantle is being prepared in special workshops. It is an indispensable dish during celebrations and festivities. Somewhere mantija is also described as a type of dough filled with chopped meat or eggs mixed with cheese. It also had the name “pie with two noodles, which is made for the New Year’s Eve, with rice in the middle and honey on the outside”.
In the Balkans, mantles are cooked in boiling water and served with sour milk to which garlic is added. There is a variant that they are pre-baked and then cooked (a similar procedure is used in Asian regions). The mantles can be baked in the oven and then topped with salty toppings (yogurt, sour milk, etc.).