Citizens, today we visit the proud and magnificent cuisine of Turkey with one of their finest dishes! 🙂
Turkish Manti are basically the ancestors of tortellini and have been made in Turkey since at least the 1400’s, and were in fact a favored treat of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire!
While a Turkish tradition, manti actually have their origins with the Mongol Empire. The recipe was carried across Central Asia along the Silk Road to Turkey by migrating Turkic and Mongol peoples.
Turkic and Mongol horsemen on the move are supposed to have carried frozen or dried manti, which could be quickly boiled over a campfire. In Turkey, manti are still sometimes Tatar böreği (Tatar bureks), which indicates its relation to these nomadic peoples.
In contrast to the Central Asian varieties of manti, those made in Turkey are usually boiled or baked (sometimes both) rather than steamed and tend to be small in size.
A mid-15th-century Ottoman recipe has survived, with the manti filled with pounded lamb and crushed chickpeas, steamed, and served topped with yogurt mixed with crushed garlic and sprinkled with sumac.
In modern Turkish cuisine, manti are typically served topped with yogurt and garlic, and further spiced with a red pepper and olive oil sauce, and topped with ground sumac and/or dried mint by the diner.
Although there are many different variations of manti in terms of shape and way of serving, the most praised type of Turkish manti is known as Kayseri mantisi, originally from Kayseri, an Anatolian city.
Kayseri mantisi are tiny and served with yogurt, oil (caramelized with tomato or pepper paste) and seasonings. It can also be served with the water it was boiled in, and often in Kayseri it is consumed as a soup prior to the main dish.
In Kayseri when a couple is engaged to be married, the mother of the groom visits the bride’s house and during this visit the bride should prepare manti for her prospective mother-in-law. The smaller the manti dumplings are, the more the bride is considered to be skillful in the kitchen.
Traditionally the dumplings prepared for the prospective mother-in law are supposed to be so small that 40 of them can be fit into one spoon!!!
Citizens, my manti are supremely delicious and totally authentic – but in the interest of sanity, they are of a size that are easily made by less-experienced home chefs.
Battle on – The Generalissimo
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
For the filling:
½ small onion, grated
2 cloves of garlic, microplaned
1 pound ground lamb
⅓ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
freshly ground pepper
1 ½ tsp sweet paprika
1 ½ tsp minced fresh or dried spearmint
1 ½ tsp cayenne
3 tsp microplaned lemon zest
For the garlic yogurt:
500gr/2 ¼ cups full fat plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
Salt to taste
For the sauce:
15ml/1 tbsp. Turkish pepper paste, biber salcasi (preferred) – buy it from Amazon or use tomato paste
60ml/4 tbsp. olive oil
10 ml/2 tsp. dried spearmint
5 ml/1 tsp. (or more) ground sumac
5 ml/ 1 tsp. (or more) Turkish red pepper flakes, urfa biber – buy it from Amazon
Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F
Prepare the dough by making a well in the flour, and adding the salt, egg, and ¼ cup water in the centre. Using your fingers, work the ingredients together until dough is formed. If needed, add more water a spoonful at a time. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Gather into a ball, place in a bowl, cover, and let rest for an hour.
For the lamb filling, heat some olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic, and sauté until tender (2-3 minutes). Cool to room temperature, then combine in a bowl with remaining ingredients, season to taste and mix well. Roll half-teaspoonfuls of lamb mixture into balls and refrigerate in a single layer on a tray until needed.
In a small bowl combine the yogurt and garlic, with salt to taste, if desired. Let sit at room temperature until ready to use.
Divide the dough into 2 balls. Roll out one ball of dough at a time on a lightly floured surface until very thin (about 1/16 inch). The secret of good dough is to roll it in different directions, not just in one direction.
Cut strips 1 inch wide, then cut into 1-inch squares. Place filling balls in the center of each square. Bring the four corners together over the filling and pinch to seal. Continue making manti until all the dough and filling are used.
Place the manti on a greased heat-proof dish, stacking them next to one another. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes, until the manti start to become a light golden color. Take them out of the oven and let the manti cool. FYI – you can freeze the baked manti in a sealed bag for up to 3 weeks.
Add hot water and a pinch of salt to a large pan and bring to the boil. Place the baked dumplings gently into the boiling water and simmer for about 8 minutes. Once cooked, drain the water and return the manti to the pan. Drizzle a little olive oil over them so that they don’t stick together.
While the manti are cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat the oil in a wide pan and add the biber salcasi or the tomato paste. Stir in the urfa biber pepper flakes, dried mint and sumac, combine well and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Arrange manti on a warm serving dish and spoon the garlic yogurt over them. Then drizzle the infused olive oil and tomato/red pepper paste sauce over the garlic yogurt. You can decorate with extra red pepper flakes, dried mint and sumac and then serve immediately.