Turkish Meat Dumplings (Manti)

Turkish meat-filled dumplings on a cutting board ready to be cooked

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Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yields: 6 dozen

If you're planning a trip to Turkey, you must put meat-filled dumplings topped with garlic yogurt, or mantı (mahn-TUH'), on your to-eat list. If you've already been to Turkey, you might have tried this classic dish that's loved by adults and kids alike.

Even if you're not planning a trip to the European country anytime soon, you can make the savory dumplings at home. There are many ways to prepare mantı, including the popular Kayseri mantısı (mantı from the Anatolian city of Kayseri). The dish is known for its tiny size and a tangy tomato sauce drizzled over the garlic yogurt.

Try this recipe for Kayseri mantısı at home for a taste of Turkish regional cuisine and a new twist on Italian-style ravioli. All you need is a rolling pin or a pasta machine. Or, go the easier route and purchase pre-made wonton wrappers.

Ingredients

  • For the Dough:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • Water
  • For the Filling:
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (or a mix of ground beef and lamb)
  • 1 medium onion (grated and squeezed dry)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (fresh, finely chopped) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika (or ground cayenne pepper)
  • Garnish: mint, oregano, sumac, and hot pepper flakes, if desired
  • For the Broth:
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or beef bouillon)
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon sweet pepper paste
  • For the Yogurt Sauce:
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups plain yogurt
  • For the Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Optional: salt to taste

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, they are broken down into manageable sections.

Make the Dough and Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. To make the dough, slowly mix together the flour, salt, and eggs in a large bowl with a fork. Slowly knead in enough water to make a firm, uniform dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set it aside at room temperature.

  3. To make the filling, place the ground beef, onion, parsley, salt, black pepper, and optional cumin, mint, and sweet paprika or cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Mix together until well blended.

Shape the Dumplings

  1. Divide the dough into two portions and lightly flour a work surface. Keep one piece of dough covered while you roll out the second portion as thinly as you can using a rolling pin or pasta machine.

  2. Using the tip of a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the rolled-out dough into small squares about the size of postage stamps.

  3. Place a piece of the filling about the size of a chickpea in the center of each square.

  4. Starting with the first square, use your fingers to stretch the dough a little and pinch together two opposite corners in the center over the filling. Then, pinch together the other two corners at the center. Your finished dumpling should have a star pattern with all the corners pinched together at the center. Repeat this will all the squares.

Make the Broth and Boil the Dumplings

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large saucepan, combine four cups of water with 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. If you're using beef bouillon, be careful to check the salt content first. You might not need extra salt. You also can add 1 tablespoon each of tomato paste and sweet pepper paste to the broth if you wish.

  3. Add about 10 dumplings to the simmering broth and let them cook for several minutes. Cooked mantı will usually float to the top, but test one before you decide. The dumplings should be tender but still hold together when cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon to individual serving bowls and repeat until all the manti are cooked.

Make the Yogurt Sauce and Tomato Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Crush the garlic cloves and whisk them into the yogurt with a wire whisk until creamy.

  3. Melt the butter in a small pan, add the tomato paste, water, and optional salt and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes.

Serve the Manti

  1. Add a few spoons of the cooking broth to each bowl containing the manti.

  2. Top each bowl of manti with a generous amount of garlic yogurt. Then drizzle each bowl with a few spoons of the tomato sauce. If desired, garnish with mint, oregano, sumac, and hot pepper flakes.

  3. Enjoy!

Tips

  • Classic mantı calls for salt and black pepper, and sometimes parsley, but you can add other spices, too. Experiment and find what you like best.
  • If you like larger manti, cut them into 2-inch squares and increase the amount of filling.
  • If you're using wonton wrappers, take them out of the refrigerator and lay them out on a clean, lightly floured surface loosely covered with plastic wrap until they reach room temperature and soften but do not become brittle.
  • Uncooked manti can be frozen by laying them out on a parchment-lined sheet pan and freezing until they are solid. Transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and pull out as many as you wish for a meal.