Sunday, January 26, 2020

'Armenian Blistered Eggplant Dip', aka Baba Ghanoush or Moutabal - a Lenten recipe

Back in December we were pleased to see a recipe for ‘Armenian Blistered Eggplant Dip’ by Dayana Sarkisova in the Washington Post. Why did this make us happy? Because the recipe, also known as ‘Baba Ghanoush’ or ‘Moutabal’,  is one that we love. We also enjoy the grilled zucchini version of this, Mama Ghanoush.
By the way, this is perfect for Lent, which begins on Monday, February 24th this year.

The Armenian Kitchen's version of 'Armenian Blistered Eggplant Dip'

Here’s my version of ‘Armenian Blistered Eggplant Dip’ - 
‘Baba Ghanoush’, or, ‘Moutabal’:

(Making this recipe a day in advance will allow the flavors to develop.)
Yield: about 1 ½ to 2 cups


2 large purple eggplants
2 large cloves garlic, roasted and mashed
¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. Aleppo pepper (freshly ground black pepper may be substituted)
1 tsp. ground sumac (sold in Middle Eastern stores)
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Rinse eggplant; pat dry. Using a paring knife or fork, pierce the eggplant all around.
Roasted eggplant
Wrap 2 large, unpeeled garlic cloves in foil. Place pierced eggplant and wrapped garlic on prepared baking sheet. Roast for about 30-35 minutes or until eggplant and garlic are soft. To test for softness, insert the fork or paring knife into the eggplant. It should slide in without any resistance.

Using tongs, place eggplant on a wire rack to cool. Remove garlic from foil; gently squeeze softened garlic into a bowl and mash with a fork. Set garlic aside until ready to add.
Eggplant mixture before processing
Once eggplant is cool enough to handle, put it on a cutting board, pull away the skin and discard. Roughly chop the eggplant, then place it in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients mixing to combine.

To make a semi-smooth mixture, puree it in a food processor for a few seconds, but don’t over-do it.

Return mixture to the mixing bowl to adjust seasonings, if necessary.

To Serve: Place eggplant dip into a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro. Add a sprinkling of sumac and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

It’s best served at room temperature with chips, crackers, vegetable sticks, pita bread triangles, or lavash.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Time is Running Out! The offer to win your very own copy of ‘The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook’ ends soon!

A few weeks ago, Lena Tashjian and I posted articles about her new cookbook,The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook’, which will be available in time for Lent. 

If you haven’t already done so, we want to remind you to enter by Friday, January 31st following the instructions below.
Thanks, and Good Luck!

How to enter ‘The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook’ give-away:
(Only residents of the United States and Canada are eligible for this give-away.)

1- Make sure you are following ‘The Armenian Kitchen’ on Facebook -and-
2- Make sure you are following ‘The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook’ on   Facebook.
3- Comment on our Face Book pages to let us know that you’re following both!
(We'll be checking!)

        Give-away offer ends at midnight (Eastern Standard Time), Friday, January 31, 2020.
        One winner will be selected at random.
        Lena will message the winner via Face Book.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Khash: A Brief History -and Recipe to Try

A Brief History of Khash, Armenia’s Love-It-or-Hate-It Hangover Cure’ a story by Benjamin Kemper, and ‘Khash’, a recipe by Samvel Hovhannisyan originally appeared in about two years ago.
Khash (istock/Radist)
An abbreviated version of Mr. Kemper’s article, and, Mr. Hovhannisyan’s full recipe recently appeared in the online newspaper, The Armenian Mirror Spectator’s - Recipe Corner - thanks to Christine Vartanian-Datian. She, in turn, asked if I would share these on The Armenian Kitchen.

Enjoy the full article, and, if you’re daring enough, try Mr. Hovhannisyan’s khash recipe (see below) the next time you feel a hang-over coming on!
(Perhaps after Super Bowl Sunday??)
Armenian Khash (or pacha) is a traditional winter dish, and one of the tastiest Armenian national dishes. This distinctive soup has an interesting tradition of preparation, and also a unique way of eating

“A recipe for the Armenian soup called khash, at its most basic, goes something like this: Simmer cows’ hooves overnight. Serve.”

“Gelatinous beef trotters—flavored tableside with sinus-clearing add-ins like lemon, salt, vinegar and raw garlic—may sound like the last thing you’d reach for when nursing a hangover, but Armenians swear by khash’s panacean powers, particularly in the winter, when it’s customarily eaten. Across the small Caucasus nation, friends gather for morning-after khash feasts complete with ritualistic toasts and—as Anthony Bourdain discovered while shooting a Parts Unknown episode set to air in March 2018—punishing hair-of-the-dog vodka shots.”

“Even the soup’s preparation is a production. The hooves must be plucked meticulously of any stray hairs and soaked in water for a day to remove impurities and funky odors. Then comes the cooking, an eight-hour simmer requiring hourly check-ins, lest the pot dry out. Khash-fueled breakfasts start around 9 a.m., which means cooks often literally lose sleep over the dish. “It’s a sacrifice,” said Samvel Hovhannisyan. “That’s why the toast to the cook is so important.” Hovhannisyan is the owner of Bureaucrat Café and Bookstore in Yerevan.

“For the broth to remain white and nearly transparent, the mark of a well-made khash, Armenian cooks don’t add salt to the pot during cooking: It’s up to the end user how much salt and other traditional flavorings to mix into the finished soup. Armenians are known to add up to eight cloves’ worth of garlic to each portion. Two types of lavash, or flatbread, always grace the table: dry, for crumbling into the broth, and fresh, for draping over the bowl to seal in the heat. Purists, like Hovhannisyan, insist that fresh lavash — torn and folded for easy scooping — is the only acceptable utensil for eating khash, and that vodka, never wine or beer, is its only worthy sidekick.”

“Though khash is an ancient dish, mentioned in medieval Armenian texts as early as the 12th century, the ceremonial fanfare surrounding it appears to be a relatively recent phenomenon. ‘We haven’t found evidence that today’s khash rituals—the vodka drinking, the three toasts, the specific serving elements—were widespread or well-established before the Soviets arrived,’ said Ruzanna Tsaturyan, a researcher for Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, adding that the few historical references that do exist characterize khash as wedding food.”

“That khash culture stems from ancient wedding traditions is one of many theories—and folktales. According to Hovhannisyan, some locals recount that a king popularized the dish after tasting it on a junket through the countryside, while others contend that the poor created khash out of necessity as the better cuts of meat were reserved for the rich.”

The name khash originates from the Armenian verb khashél, which means to boil. Besides, the Armenian root 'khashn', well testified in early medieval records means a herd of sheep or goats. The dish, initially called khashoy, is mentioned by a number of medieval Armenian authors, e.g. Grigor Magistros (11th century), Mkhitar Heratsi (12th century), and Yesayi Nchetsi (13th century).

Samvel Hovhannisyan’s Khash Recipe
Serves 6-8

  • 3 cows’ feet (trotters), washed, patted dry, picked over for stray hairs and split in two
  • 30 cloves garlic, pounded in a mortar and pestle or minced and placed in a small bowl
  • Salt, to taste
  • Warmed flatbread, such as soft lavash or pita bread, for serving
Optional garnishes: Chopped parsley, chopped cilantro, sliced lemons, sliced radishes, sliced pickles, chopped fresh chiles

Cooking Instructions:

On the morning of the day prior to your khash feast, place the trotters in a large bowl and cover with water. Refrigerate at least 10 and up to 48 hours, changing water every two hours or so for the first 10 hours.

Place trotters in a heavy-bottomed pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to boil over high heat. Regulate heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Drain water, return trotters to the pot, and cover with 2 inches of fresh water. Bring to boil over high heat, reduce to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 6 to 8 hours, topping up water every hour or two, until trotters are soft and tender.

Pour 2 cups of hot broth into the mortar or small bowl with the garlic and stir to combine.

Serve the remaining broth and meat immediately, passing salt, garlic mixture (Armenians recommend 4-6 cloves’ worth per person), and optional garnishes.

Khash can be made ahead through step three and refrigerated for up to four days. To reheat, simmer for 20 minutes.

Reprinted in part from, A Brief History of Khash, Armenia’s Love-It-or-Hate-It Hangover Cure (Recipe), Cow foot soup: It’s what’s for breakfast, February 27, 2018, by Benjamin Kemper.

References:, “Anthony Bourdain – Khash in Armenia”

Saturday, January 11, 2020

A Special Guest Post: A New Holiday, or any-time-of-year, Cocktail: The Armenian Manhattan!

Ron’s ‘Armenian Manhattan
My name is Ron, I’m the son-in-law of the authors of this blog. My other qualifications for receiving this special assignment include that I’m arguably Armenian – Armenian By Choice, the best kind of Armenian I’ve been told – and that I live in Manhattan. Well, Upper Manhattan, but close enough.

Mandy and I were visiting Doug and Robyn this past holiday season.
A few days before Christmas, my in-laws hosted a neighborhood gathering. Thanks to Robyn it was homemade Armenian Everything – lule kebab, lahmajoun, yalanchi, sarma gurgood, zucchini 'caviar' (See this recipe at the bottom of the page.), basturma, string cheese, boregs and kadaif, to name a few. There was even a priest from the nearby Armenian church in attendance.

When Doug invited me to bartend, I said Yes! But he mentioned a small challenge: An enthusiast of Manhattans (as in the cocktails) would be in attendance, so I needed to ask Google for a refresher on how to make one. Then I needed to make it Armenian, hence, The Armenian Manhattan.

Otherwise, the concept of Robyn’s Armenian Everything shindig would all fall apart at the bar.

Sitting atop Doug’s well-fortified, swing-open bar was a big bottle of Ararat brandy, “the legendary Armenian brandy since 1887”. I remembered some barkeeps use brandy as the secondary booze in a Manhattan, in lieu of sweet vermouth. Well, Merry Christmas!, the ‘Armenian twist’ problem was solved!

The Manhattan enthusiast – and others – lined up. I’m happy to report this libation (so popular it was made in larger batches) went down smoothly. Second rounds were served. Some guests even had thirds. Or was that just me?

Recipe for ‘The Armenian Manhattan’ by an 'A-B-C'

Serves: 4
Ingredients used for the Armenian Manhattan

1 Cup (8oz) Bourbon (Doug’s pick: Russell’s Reserve 10 Year)

½ Cup (4 oz) Brandy (Required: Ararat 3-Year - or make it fancy with an older vintage)

8 Dashes Bitters (Doug’s pick: Angostura)

12 Cherries - Boozy cherries (Doug’s pick: Stonewall Bourbon Bada Bing Cherries)

4 Teaspoons Cherry Juice - Use juice from the jar of Boozy cherries

12 Cubes of Ice -or- 4 single block cubes (My choice: regular cubes - or make it fancy with a single block cube)


Start by adding a cup of ice to a cocktail shaker. Slowly add the Bourbon, Brandy, Cherry Juice and dashes of Bitters.

Prepare 4 cocktail glasses (rocks glasses work nicely) by adding 3 regular cubes (or 1 single-block cube). 

Gently shake the mixture for 15 to 30 seconds.

Pour about 3 ounces (or 2 fingers) of the mixture into each glass. Garnish each glass by adding 3 Bourbon Cherries.

 Genatset! Կենա'ցդ!

Zucchini Caviar with celery sticks
Zucchini Caviar
Recipe adapted from


4 medium-sized zucchinis, peeled and shredded

2 medium carrots, shredded
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup canned, diced tomatoes, drained
2 Tbsp. tomato paste (or red pepper paste)
2 to 3 bay leaves
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper (or substitute 1 tsp. paprika and 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. granulated sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place shredded zucchinis in a large, clean, kitchen towel. Roll up the towel and squeeze out the excess liquid.

In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil on medium. Add strained zucchinis, onions and carrots; sauté for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add diced tomatoes, tomato (or red pepper) paste, garlic, bay leaves, sugar and salt and pepper, to taste.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture should not be watery. If it is, continue to cook until almost all of the excess liquid is evaporated. 
Remove and discard bay leaves. 

Place mixture in a bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add the mixture into a blender or food processor. (You might have to do this in batches). Puree until a thick, creamy texture is achieved. 

To serve: Spread zucchini caviar on toasted baguettes, or, serve with your favorite crackers, chips, bread – such as pita or lavash - and/or vegetable sticks.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Coming Soon – 'The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook' – and - a chance to win your very own copy!

My first introduction to Lena (Tachdjian) Tashjian was back in December of 2013 via an article that appeared in The Armenian Weekly. 

Lena with her Vegan Ghapama
At that time, Lena shared with The Armenian Kitchen a recipe for Basoots Dolma (spelling varies!) – a truly vegan dish. We’ve kept in touch over the years, and now I’m thrilled to introduce to you, Lena's brand-new, soon-to-be-released, 'The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook' – and just in time for Lent, too!
Lena's 'The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook'
Lena explained to me how the Cookbook project began:

'The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook' is a collaborative project between Lena, the author, and Siroon Parseghian, a photographer and creative director she met in Armenia eight years ago.
Vegan Breakfast Spread

The cookbook focuses on both local and Diasporan Armenian cuisine, and shares stories behind the dishes, and traditions surrounding them. It also includes some food idioms, holiday planning, and menu pairing suggestions.

The book will be released this month, January, 2020, just in time for Lent, and can be ordered on this website, where recipes, videos, and more will be shared. While the majority of recipes found in the cookbook are naturally plant-based or Lenten, Lena has veganized a few classics, including khash!
Vegan Khash!

Vegan Jingalov Hats

How to enter 'The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook' give-away:

Due to technical difficulties beyond our control, rather than commenting on this page, PLEASE like both The Armenian Kitchen and The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook, and comment on The Armenian Kitchen’s Facebook post. 
Thank you for understanding!

  • Only residents of the United States and Canada are eligible for this give-away.
  • Give-away offer ends at midnight (Eastern Standard Time), January 31, 2020.
  •  One winner will be selected at random. 
  •          Lena will message the winner via Facebook.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Some Traditional (and non-traditional) Armenian recipes to serve in celebration of the New Year and Armenian Christmas!

Just when you thought the excessive, festive eating and drinking was behind you, a new year (and a new decade) – plus Armenian Christmas follow right behind.

Enjoy the festivities with a few of our favorite Armenian dishes and beverages.

May the New Decade bring peace, joy, and good health to you all! 
Shnorhavor Nor Dari yev Soorp Dznount!

Anoush Abour


Dare Hats 

Lamb meatballs and other party favorites 

Armenian Sangria

Coffee with Armenian brandy
Armenian sangria and coffee with Armenian brandy 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Blessing of Pomegranates

Today, many Armenian Churches are performing a fairly new tradition - blessing pomegranates.
Our Blessed Pomegranate
When and how did this begin?

A few years ago, St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, FL (our former parish) had it’s very first Blessing of Pomegranates. Here is an excerpt from the church newsletter from late 2015 explaining this then-new tradition:

“In 2015, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, blessed pomegranates in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin for the first time and established it as an annual tradition on New Year's Eve (or day).

The Pomegranate is considered by many faith traditions to be the fruit of the tree of knowledge and a symbol of abundance and life.

The custom of blessing fruits was known among the Israelites.  The Jews offered to the Temple the first harvest, which included wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and honey.

In nations of the East, the pomegranate is considered to be the king of all fruits, not only because of its pleasing taste and medicinal properties, but also because the top of the pomegranate resembles a crown.  Some believe that the design of ancient royal crowns was based on the pomegranate "crown".

The pomegranate has been known in the East from the 12th to the 7th centuries BC.  Because Cartagena was known for its pomegranates, the ancient Romans called the pomegranate malum punicum 'Cartagena (Phoenician) apple' and malum granatum 'granular apple'.

As a national symbol, the pomegranate has been widely used in Armenian architecture, carpet weaving, arts and crafts and manuscripts illuminated by Gregory Khlatetsi, Toros Taronatsi, Toros Roslin, and in the Haghpat and other Gospels. 

In Christianity the pomegranate symbolizes the diversity of God's grace, the Church.  Just as the seeds of the pomegranate are separated by thin membranes yet held tightly together, in the same way the Christian Church holds all Christians around the world together in Christ's love; though they are separate, they are not divided.  Thus, the pomegranate shows unity in diversity.

The pomegranate's crown represents Jesus' crown and His sovereignty over the entire world.  The red color symbolizes His salvific Blood that was shed for all.  The popular belief is that each one contains 365 seeds corresponding to the number of days in a year, symbolizing new life in Christ and the New Year.”

Here’s a recipe forQuinoa with Pomegranate and Pistachios’ from actor Stanley Tucci, which I posted a number of years ago: 

Note: For more pomegranate recipes, scroll through the recipes lists on the right side of the screen - or - go to the search bar at the top of the page and type 'pomegranate'.
Stanley Tucci's Quinoa with Pomegranate and Pistachios (Photo from AARP magazine)
Quinoa with Pomegranate and Pistachios

(A gluten-free recipe from Stanley Tucci)
Serves 6


2 cups quinoa
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds plus 2 Tbsp. for serving
3 Tbsp. salted pistachio nuts, shelled
3 scallions, chopped
1 orange, peeled and sliced into rounds, optional
Extra virgin olive oil for the orange


1. Rinse quinoa in cold water to remove its bitterness.
2. Bring 4 cups salted water to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Prepare a dressing with the 2 Tbsp. EVOO, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place quinoa in a serving bowl. Toss with the dressing; set aside to cool. 
4. Gently mix in the pomegranate seeds, pistachios and scallions. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Serve with sliced oranges drizzled with olive oil, if desired.  

Friday, December 20, 2019

A Quick and Easy Simit Recipe

Our freezer is beginning to overflow with goodies I’ve been preparing in advance for our up-coming Christmas celebrations. I’ve already made - and froze - lule kebab, mini lahmajouns (short-cut version), manti (long version), a variety of cookies, and now, simit. There’s still plenty of cooking to do, but those recipes must be prepared just before company arrives.

I’ve posted several simit recipes in the past but decided to try Deegeen (Mrs.) Makrouhi’s version. Hers is simple, doesn’t take very long to make (no yeast involved), and has a very nice texture. Doug said it reminded him of a smaller version of his mother’s choreg. I took that as a huge compliment.
First tray of Simit - more to make!
I added my own touch to the simit recipe – meaning that I incorporated my usual choreg spices into the dough. (See recipe below).

When it’s time to serve, I’ll have a plate of string cheese, olives, and basterma to round it out!

Simit (adapted from Deegeen Makrouhi’s recipe)
Yields about 40 (1-oz.) pieces

1 cup corn oil
1 cup milk (I used fat free)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. freshly ground mahlab
1 tsp. ground fennel seed
1 tsp. ground anise seed
6 cups flour
Egg wash: 1 egg, beaten
Garnish: toasted sesame seeds and/or black sesame seeds, optional

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together (except for egg wash and garnishing options) to form a workable, non-sticky dough.

NOTE: If you have a food scale, pinch off some dough and weigh 1-ounce pieces, rolling them into balls. If you don’t have a food scale, pinch off pieces about the size of a golf ball.

On an un-floured work surface, roll each ball by hand into a nine-inch rope. Twist each rope into a simple braid and place it on an ungreased baking sheet. These don’t spread, so you can place them fairly close together.

Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or black sesame seeds, if desired. 
Bake at 375 °F for about 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven) or until golden brown.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Manti – My Christmas Gift to my Daughter

Doug and I are thrilled that our daughter, Mandy, and son-in-law, Ron will be spending Christmas with us.

When I asked Mandy what special dishes she’d like me to prepare, she listed some of her favorites: tass kebab, sarma, midia dolma, banerov hatz, to name a few. All Ron asked for are cookies!

What I know she’d REALLY love to have is Manti. However, she knows that, in the past, my effort to make manti was less than stellar, therefore it wasn't mentioned.

Since I want this Christmas to be extra memorable, I decided to roll up my sleeves and give manti-making another try. This time, no shortcuts.
The final product: Baked Manti
Not long ago, I featured a post about Chef Hrant Arakelian and his Manti recipe. I decided to follow his recipe for making the dough. The meat filling recipe I used is a pretty standard one. What I was truly hesitant about was making this on my own; it is a daunting task, otherwise.

Fortunately, an Armenian friend of mine, Linda K., offered to assist me, so without hesitation, I accepted. Before Linda arrived, I’d made Chef Hrant’s dough (very easy to prepare as it turned out), and a meat filling.
Even with help, it took the two of us 3 hours to roll, cut, stuff, pinch, and bake approximately 180 pieces of Manti!

Here’s how we did it:

Chef Hrant’s Dough Recipe
3 cups of all-purpose Flour
2 whole large eggs
½ cup of warm water (it’s important that the water is warm- about 100 degrees F)  
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
Dough-making as per Chef Hrant
Put the flour in a mound on the counter and make a well in the middle, crack the eggs in a separate bowl (just in case any shell breaks in) then add them to the middle of the flour  add the oil, water and salt.

Use a fork to whisk the liquids while slowly incorporating the flour from the sides.
Manti dough done
Once the flour is mostly incorporated use your hands to knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, you want a dough that forms a nice ball and springs back when you press your finger on the surface. If the dough is super sticky you can dust it with more flour as you knead. It’s always better to start off with a slightly wetter dough as you can easily add more flour but it’s very hard to add more water once you start to knead the dough.
Dough- wrapped and resting
Once you have a nice dough ball wrap it with plastic wrap or place it in a zip top bag and let it rest on the counter for 30 min to an hour. This step is important to allow the starches in the flour to hydrate properly and to give you a smooth and slightly stretchy dough.

If you want to make the dough a day ahead wrap it after you knead it and put it in the fridge for up to 2 days, anything more and the dough can pick up strange flavors.
When you are ready to roll, place the dough on the counter for an hour to come to room temp.

Manti Filling Ingredients:
1 lb. lean ground beef (lean ground lamb or turkey can be substituted)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1or 2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, black pepper, freshly ground coriander, Aleppo red pepper, and allspice to taste
½ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped

Filling Directions:
In a non-stick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic, stirring frequently, until onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add ground beef, salt, pepper, ground coriander, Aleppo red pepper, allspice to taste, cooled onion mixture, and chopped parsley. Combine until ingredients are well-blended.
Manti ready to bake
The Assembly:
Divide the dough in to 5 equal parts and proceed to roll it out.

Roll the dough with a lightly floured rolling pin to about 1/8-inch thickness. You should be able to barely see light though the dough.
Dough was divided into 5 balls, rolled with a rolling pin, cut with multi-wheeled cutter & pizza wheel into 1 1/2-in squares. 
Once the dough is rolled, use a pastry cutter or pizza wheel and a ruler to cut the dough in to 1 1/2- inch for canoe-shaped Manti. (Note: I purchased a multi-wheel dough cutter for this task. It didn’t cut through completely in all areas, but did a good job of marking the dough. The pizza wheel completed the task.)
The first shaped manti
Put a large chickpea size ball of the meat in the center of the dough square and bring up two opposite sides and pinch them leaving the center where the meat is open. It should look like a little canoe, with the meat ball nestled in the middle.

Chef Hrant’s Note: When you are forming the dough and sticking the edges together, resist the temptation to wet the edges; this just makes the dough super soft and hard to work with. I also find that dusting the fingers I am using to pinch the dough in a little flour helps the dough from sticking to me.
The second pan of Manti
Before arranging the shaped manti in the baking pan, I melted 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter and spread it evenly in the bottom of the large, round baking pan. (I ended up using a second, rectangular pan as well.) They were baked in a hot 375°F oven for about 25 to 30 minutes - until the edges of the dough started to brown slightly.

Chef’s Note: If serving immediately: Remove pan of baked manti from the oven and pour on some chicken stock - just enough to come to the top edge of the Manti. Put it back in the oven for a minute or so to cook the manti to allow the liquid to absorb.

Since I’m not serving the manti until Mandy is here, I completely cooled the baked manti, placed them in freezer bags and froze them.

When it’s time to serve, I will defrost the manti in the refrigerator overnight. To heat, I’ll place defrosted manti in a lightly buttered baking pan, bake at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until heated through.

While the Manti bakes, I’ll heat 2 cups (or more) of chicken broth in a saucepan, enhanced with a tablespoon of ‘Better than Bouillon’ (or bouillon cubes) for extra flavor.

To serve: Place broth into individual serving bowls, add the amount of Manti desired. Top it with a dollop of plain (or garlic) yogurt and sprinkle with ground sumac, if desired.