Last Sunday we wended our way down to Willunga on the south coast for an afternoon spent with great friends, eating sensational food made by our resident duck expert and foodie friend extraordinaire, Lucy.
We had been hoping for a sunny winters day (there have been a few of those lately) but that was not to be. Instead we drove down under a cold, drizzly, grey sky – to be met with the gorgeous smells of hot zucchini fritters wafting out the front door and down the steps of Lucy’s beach house.
We were greeted by our lovely friend’s faces and this Middle Eastern spread…
Everything was a taste sensation – we were very willing and appreciative guinea pigs for a variety of Lucy’s new spice blends (Spice Road) she will shortly start selling at her shop at the Adelaide Central Market – Jagger Fine Foods (and all good food shops :))
I had to restrain myself (but oh, so poorly) from gobbling down every last Mantu dumpling that came out of the kitchen (and there were a lot). I had not come across these delightful morsels before but I will become better acquainted with them as soon as possible now that Lucy has kindly given me (and now all of you) her recipe.
The silky, slightly chewy and crispy skin of the fried, then steamed, then fried gowgee wrapper (in the style of Chinese pot stickers) enclosed a highly seasoned, spicy beef mince filling coated in a minty yoghurt dressing and a dab of garlicky, spicy tomato sauce.
The only modicum of restraint on any of our feasting at this stage of the proceedings was the knowledge that there would be duck to come…
The duck marylands were roasted to perfection and served with a rich, tangy, fruity and spicy sauce made with dates and pomegranate molasses (along with shallots, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cumin and some stock). A focussed silence descended as everyone tucked in heartily to this dish which was accompanied by a pretty and texturally appealing Turkish jewelled pilaf and an earthy slow cooked Ethiopian wat (stew) of silverbeet and chickpeas.
Finally we were wowed by a huge dish of perfect tirimasu…
As you can see we were incredibly spoiled. What a glorious winters afternoon it turned out to be!
Mantu (Afghan Dumplings – by Lucy Upill)
2 Tbl olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp tomato paste
400g minced lamb
gow gee wrappers, 1 pack of 30
grape seed oil for frying
1 Tbl olive oil
1 shallot, finely shopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
pinch of cumin, chilli and cinnamon
1 cup of chopped tomatoes or Italian tomato passata
1/4 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup of yoghurt
2 Tbl dried mint
small pinch of salt
spring onion, finely sliced on an angle
In a large fry pan heat the oil and fry the shallots and garlic gently until soft and slightly coloured. Add the spices and fry for a minute then add the tomato paste and stir through. Turn up the heat, add the lamb and brown. Season well with salt and pepper as the lamb cooks for a few minutes, then cool the lamb mixture before filling dumplings.
Place about a teaspoon of filling in the centre of each wrapper, then draw up and pinch the sides together along the top, creating a flat bottom. You may need to brush the edges with water.
Heat the oil for the tomato sauce, fry the shallot and garlic, add the spices then the tomatoes, extra water, sugar and salt and simmer for about 7 minutes to reduce to a thick sauce.
Mix the yoghurt, mint and salt together.
To cook the dumplings (you will need to do this in batches), heat a fry pan over a medium – high heat, add a little oil and then dumplings in a single layer. Fry the dumplings until lightly coloured. Fill the fry pan with water to come half way up the sides of the dumplings and cover with a lid. After about a minute remove the lid and let the water evaporate until the dumplings are frying again and have crisped up on the bottom.
Serve with a large teaspoon of yoghurt sauce and about 1/4 teaspoon of the tomato sauce on top of each dumpling then sprinkle over the chopped spring onions.