Drizzle Your Dumplings With Browned Butter

Ukrainian chef Olia Hercules cooks an Eastern European take on a Turkish classic

They're most commonly known as dumplings or ravioli—simple ingredients wrapped in bundles of dough and cooked countless ways. Less well known are manti, Turkish dumplings traditionally filled with lamb that are then steamed or boiled and served with yogurt. They're good enough to cross the border into nearby Ukraine, home of now-London-based chef Olia Hercules, where the lamb is replaced by more locally available pork and yogurt is swapped out for butter. That's how she does it in her just-released cookbook, Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

Hercules favors pork belly, which she insists must be chopped by hand instead of ground for superior texture; the other ingredients are simple, piled in with a delicate hand so the dough can pleat around them. And instead of simple melted better, she ups the stakes with a nutty brown version finished with sweet fried shallots: a new way to treat an ancient dish.

STEAMED PORK BELLY DUMPLINGS

Olia Hercules Manti
Browned butter brings an extra layer of flavor, but the cherry on top comes in the form of fried shallots.Matt Taylor-Gross

How big are manti supposed to be? The answer varies from slightly larger than a pea to a full mouthful. But this is non-negotiable: Eat them in one bite.