My 1.5 year old daughter had a check-up appointment with her pediatrician last week. Man, this girl can wail! And that’s just while the nurses are taking her measurements! It makes sense if mommy starts crying like that when she sees her weight, but her!? My children are a complete mystery to me!
So, to avoid any further unpleasant encounters with the scale, this dinner is relatively light.
Russians have a few different kinds of dumplings. There are the small ones with ground meat, called pelmeni. There are vareniki – they are a little larger than pelmeni, and the choices of stuffing are unlimited. Finally, there are the huge ones, called manty. Manty’s stuffing is often meat, but it’s chunkier than what’s used for smaller dumplings, and unlike pelmeni and vareniki – that are often boiled or friend – manty are steamed.
Of course, my version of this dish is vegetarian. I was craving a sweet and savory combination. So, the main ingredient is baked winter squash. I added walnuts and mushrooms for the chunkier texture. Mmmmmm! Gooooood!
WINTER SQUASH MANTY
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- ½ cup water
- 3 egg whites
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 winter squash, cut in half, seeds removed, cleaned
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups of favorite mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 cup of walnuts, finely chopped
- ½ bunch of cilantro, finely chopped plus some for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the filling: preheat the oven to 400⁰F/200⁰C. Place the squash into a baking dish, cut side down. Fill the dish with about 1 inch of water. Bake for 40-60 minutes until the squash is done.
Meanwhile, preheat the frying pan and sauté onions until golden. Add mushrooms, and sauté until they shrink in size and most of the liquid evaporates.
Slightly crush walnuts in a mortar.
Once the squash is done, scrape the soft part from the skin and mash it. Add remaining filling ingredients.
Prepare the dough: in a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Once incorporated, dump the dough on a floured surface and knead with your hands.
Make the dumplings: roll the dough into a 1 mm-thick sheet and cut out 2×4 inch rectangles. Place about 2 tbs of filling on each piece of dough.
Fold the dough in half, pinching the shorter ends of the rectangle together.
Pinch the side flaps together, sealing the openings from both sides. Now, press the sides together, “hugging” the dumpling from each side.
Make ahead: at this point the dumplings could be frozen. Place manty on a floured cutting board, and put them in a freezer. After about 30 minutes remove the cutting board, and place manty into a zip-lock bag.
To cook: Boil water in the steamer pot. Spray the steamer pan with olive oil and place dumplings on it. Steam for about 10-15 minutes covered, until the dough is completely cooked.
Serve with butter and sour cream. Garnish with cilantro.