In Greek: κουλακλί μαντί, pronounced koo-lahk-LEE mahn-DEE
Greek refugees during the last century brought this example of the traditional cuisine of Kappadokia to Greece, and this recipe for minced meat dumplings landed in Kavala in northeastern Greece.
Bite-sized dumplings stuffed with minced meat (ground beef) are served with a delicious yogurt and garlic sauce. The key to this recipe is the dough, which needs to be thick enough to hold the filling during cooking, but thin enough to produce a light wrapping.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- For the dough:
- 2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
- 7 ounces of water
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 1/5 pounds of ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped (leaves and top 1 inch of stems)
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 3 1/2 ounces of salt water (1 teaspoon of salt, fill with water)
- For the sauce:
- 1 cup of Greek yogurt (or thick, strained yogurt – see below)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
Make the sauce: Combine the Greek yogurt with the garlic, and chill. (If thick Greek yogurt is not available, you can make your own thick yogurt using commercial full fat, lowfat, or nonfat plain yogurt.)
Make the dough: In a bowl, combine the water, salt, and oil. Slowly add the flour, mixing first with a spoon, then with hands, until the dough is soft and malleable. Cover the bowl with a towel, and allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes. While the dough is resting, make the filling.
Make the filling: Add oil to a frying pan and sauté the onion over medium heat until soft. Add ground beef and continue to sauté until lightly browned on all sides (about 5 minutes), stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir in parsley, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and add 2 whole eggs, stirring immediately to mix thoroughly.
Preheat the oven to 390F (200C).
Make the dumplings: Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Knead each part for a couple of minutes, then roll out to about 1/16 – 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut the dough into 3-inch squares. Place a teaspoon of filling at the center of each square. Lift the four corners of the dough and pull together at the center to create the shape of a small purse (see photo). Continue until all the dough (or all the filling) is used.
Lightly oil a baking pan and place the dumplings about 1/3 of an inch apart. Bake at 390F (200C) for 30 minutes. Add the salt water, turn off the oven, and let the dumplings sit in the oven for 5 minutes, to absorb the liquid.
Serve the hot dumplings with the chilled sauce.