colorful: kofta munti with eggplant puree and crispy beet “fattoush”

About a year ago, I made a dish that was extremely similar to this actually. But I guess you can say that this is the revised/upgraded version of that one. For this dish, we have munti, which are Turkish dumplings, stuffed with a lamb kofta filling, where we also have wilted beet greens folded in there. For the garnishes, charred eggplant puree, thinned out with tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice, as well as my take on a fattoush salad. Typically, fattoush has pomegranate molasses, crispy bread, mint, parsley, sumac, lemon, and onion. For my version, we have the parsley, sumac, lemon, and shallot featured as a vinaigrette. The mint, pomegranate, alongside black garlic, is reduced to form a sauce. For the crispy bread, I used slices of golden beet root that I deep fried into chips, alongside deep fried mint and parsley. To garnish, I have braised beet root as well as beet stems, which I tossed in the vinaigrette, and finally, pomegranate seeds, just for another crunchy element.

For the munti wrappers, I opted to dye them black with the activated charcoal. There were really two trains of thought behind this. The first being, it’s edgy, different, and aesthetically dramatic, and the second being a reference to how kofta is typically cooked: over hot, burning coals. Since I don’t own a grill to do that, activated charcoal as a flavoring just made sense. And a little went a long way, since I only needed 1 1/2 teaspoons of it to achieve that beautiful, almost squid ink black color! I also love making munti because the shape of them are really pretty. They are a bit finicky to do, but the end result is well worth it! I went with fried herbs, just because they look so beautiful and translucent, while the frying process just brings out a fragrance in them that is addictive, and a crunchy texture similar to autumn leaves.

For the eggplant puree:
1 Chinese eggplant
1/4 cup tahini
a pinch of salt
olive oil
vinaigrette liquid

Slice and char a Chinese eggplant until the white flesh is blackened. Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film, until the eggplant is cooled completely. Puree with tahini, salt, and thin out with vinaigrette liquid and olive oil until smooth. Pass through a sieve and transfer to a squeeze bottle.

For the munti wrapper:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons activated charcoal powder
3 tablespoons hot water
a pinch of salt

Knead together into a dough. Allow to rest. Roll out to the second thinnest setting on your pasta machine, dusting with more flour as needed. Cut out 2 inch by 2 inch squares. Place about 1 1/2 inch balls of filling in the center, brush the edges with water, and bring the points of the squares to the center, pinching the seams to form the creases. Boil in heavily salted water for 2-3 minutes.

For the kofta filling:
4 oz ground lamb
1/2 cup beet greens
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen or seed; ground
1 teaspoon salt
a pinch of black pepper
olive oil

Wilt down garlic and beet greens in olive oil. Mince into a fine paste and mix into the lamb with your other ingredients.

For the braised beets:
2 golden beets, rinsed and quartered
1 1/2 cups of water
juice from 2 lemons
a pinch of salt
oil

Continuously simmer the beets in the liquid until tender. Heat a pan with oil and saute the beets until they caramelize on the outside.

For the pomegranate sauce:
Residual beet braising liquid
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1 black garlic clove
4 sprigs of mint leaves
a pinch of salt

Mince garlic until creamy. Simmer ingredients together until pomegranate seeds are tender, and press against a sieve.

For the shallot-sumac vinaigrette:
1 shallot
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sumac
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
1/4 cup julienned beet stems

Shave shallot on a mandolin to form rings. Soak in lemon juice, sumac, and salt. Toss with olive oil once shallot has cured in the lemon juice and allow to sit with parsley and the beetroot stems. Drain and reserve any residual liquid for thinning out your puree with.

To garnish:
Mint
Golden beet
Parsley
Canola oil
Pomegranate seeds
a pinch of salt

Thinly shave the golden beet on the mandolin. Bring up canola oil to 300 degrees F. Fry the beet slices until crispy(30 seconds each side), as well as the mint and parsley until crisp as well(10 seconds in total for the herbs). Drain on a paper towel and dust with salt.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

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