Friday, September 11, 2015

Health Report, New Restaurant.

Many of you will be aware that I went to see the vascular surgeon this afternoon, Thursday,  He has operated on my veins a couple of times before, however, this time he said that although my carotid artery was blocked 70% it was fairly stable and unless I had a stroke or a TIA (mini stroke) he didn't feel it was necessary to operate. He said there was only a 2% likelihood of this happening and if he operated it would only reduce that to 1% so he proposed not doing anything at this time. He figured the fact that I am already on blood thinners was sufficient treatment for now. We discussed my collapse in the elevator early in the summer, but he didn't think it was really connected. So that's good, no operation in my future.

I wanted to have a break from cooking, and anyway, I have a birthday coming up, so we were going to go out for dinner.  I then ended up with a headache so didn't feel much like doing either. However, I remembered a restaurant which had opened just down the road from us so we decided to go and try it. I't name is A & A Grill Restaurant. It isn't a grill though. It turns out the young men who run it are from Afghanistan and at the moment they offer three Indian dishes, three Afghani and three Western (someone had fish and chips they looked good). Matt was grumpy but as he has eaten biriyani's before, I got him to choose a Chicken Biriyani which came with a small side salad. I opted to try something different though and chose a dish they had listed as Man Tuu. It was well presented although simple, and absolutely delicious. It was served with Dahl and a yogurt sauce. So of course I had to Google it. This is what I found. There are a number of pictures showing how to make the dumplings, etc. Matt ate every bit of his meal so I guess, grumpy or no, he enjoyed it. I will be back, he, perforce, will have to come back with me. LOL. I am really thrilled to have found this little place, it is very plain inside and a bit lacking in atmosphere. Once upon a time it was an Italian restaurant, Ennio's, They did so well they moved to the other side of town, I think.

Afghan Mantu Recipe (Beef Dumplings)

What is Afghan Mantu? A Brief Background and 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!

Preparation and Cook Time

Prep time: 35 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
Yields: Around four servings, depending on appetite

Ingredients for the 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

    Cooking Mantu—Tips

    Before you start preparing and making/cooking your Mantu, keep these helpful hints below in mind:
    • Keeping your onions raw. You may find other mantu recipes that instruct you to cook the onions with the beef. But if you keep the chopped onions raw and simply mix it with the raw beef/lamb mixture, you'll get a much moister and more flavorful mantu resulting from the onions cooking with the meat, melding the flavors together during this process. In fact, the traditional mantu recipe calls for the raw ground meat and chopped onion mixture to be placed directly onto the steamer without any precooking. Now, however, since we have concerns of e-coli and other bacteria in our meat, we cook the meat at least halfway through before steaming it.
    • Meat proportions. If you want to make more or less dumplings, remember that for the meat mixture, the ratio of onion to meat should be approximately 1/3 of the meat. Make sure you adjust your spices accordingly, as well.

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

    Serving Instructions

    1. Now that the dumplings have cooked, add a thin layer of the yogurt mixture to a large serving plate.
    2. Place the steamed dumplings on top.
    3. Pour some more of the yogurt mixture on top of the dumplings and coat everything with the the vegetable sauce.
    4. Garnish with dried mint and a little bit of cayenne pepper.
    Have a great day


    1. Hi Jo - glad you didn't need an op - that's a relief. The little restaurant sounds interesting and trying different foods is fun .. take care; the Mantu looks a good choice .. cheers Hilary

      1. Yes Hilary it is a relief, but a bit anti climactic though. I was so worried about the whole thing. I really, really wanted to help them with their menu though. The mantu was just described as beef and dahl or something. It should have been something like" Afghan beef dumplings enrobed with dahl and a dressing of yoghurt." You know the type of thing I mean.

    2. Replies
      1. Thanks Glenda I will endeavor to do so LOL. After being worried though, it was kind of a let down.

    3. That is good to hear you won't have to have surgery. I had typed reports that people had blockages up to 90% and the doctors weren't recommending surgery either. Sounds like an interesting place you went to eat.


      1. I must say I was surprised Betty, but 90% staggers me. It was interesting.

    4. So happy to hear you don't need an operation - and thanks for the illustration (I thought it was in your leg... don't ever hand me a scalpel :)

      PS: From one "Mantu" another, tell Matt to not be so grumpy - especially if he ate all his food :)

      1. Thanks Mork. I certainly will not hand you a scalpel there is a world of difference between my leg (which has been done in the past) and the carotid in the neck. You have two of them by the way, one on either side.

        Trust you - I will pass on your message.

    5. Such great news that you don't need surgery!

      1. Yes it is JoJo, although it was a bit of a let down when I had been bracing myself for said surgery.

    6. That is good news, Jo. Surgery is never pleasant and to be avoided whenever possible.

    7. Sounds like the risks of surgery would be worse than leaving it alone.

      Interesting recipe.

      1. Sounded like that to me Melissa.

        Delicious dish. I really enjoyed it.

    8. I am glad to hear you will not have to go under the knife as they say. Did he even try to find out why you fainted? Dinner out is always nice and this recipe sounds very involved but it also sounds good.

      1. No he didn't seem overly concerned about the fainting Birgit. I have fainted a few times in my life so not terribly concerned about it. Never had any ill effects afterwards. Dinner out was good, and the results of this recipe were delicious.

    9. Good to hear you've finally sorted that carotid. I wonder why you did faint then? My mum is a fainter but there's no underlying cause. It must feel great to have that worry over with. Now you can really enjoy your upcoming birthday :)

    10. I was very glad really. I am now somewhat inebtirated

      1. Obviously that was supposed to be inebriated LOL

    11. Happy Birthday. Glad he ate it, even though he was grumpy.