How To Make Mantı At Home

One of the most prestige dishes in Turkish cuisine with track going back to the ottoman Empire are the little meat dumplings called Mantı. In Istanbul's Restaurants the classic modern […]

One of the most prestige dishes in Turkish cuisine with track going back to the Ottoman are the little meat dumplings called Mantı. In Istanbul's Restaurants the classic modern version of Mantı is severed with a cold yoghurt sauce and is drizzled with hot red pepper oil on top. Cold yoghurt on hot pasta seems peculiar to you? Well, that's something quite common around Turkic and Middle Eastern countries and you should give this awesome delicious dish definitely a try.

Mantı are most popular around all Turkic and Middle Eastern countries, but might vary in size, shape and filling on the geographical region. Every Turkish family has its quite own favorite version. They may be boiled or baked, but the recipe itself is fairly standard. A classic pasta is rolled out and filled with minced lamb or beef meat and fold into tiny packages. In modern Turkish cuisine, Mantı are typically served with a cold yogurt- sauce and topped by further spices. A hot and spicy sauce made of butter or olive oil infused with red pepper flakes, pepper or paste is poured over the dish. In addition to this it can be sprinkled with sumac and dried mint. For some extra crisp the Mantı can be deep fried instead of being cooked.

The most praised version of Mantı is originally from the Kayseri, an Anatolian city in mid Turkey, and is also known as Kayseri Mantısı. In Kayseri there is a tradition that a future bride has to make Mantı for her future mother-in-law. The smaller the tiny dumplings are, the more skillful is the future daughter-in-law in the . It's said that at least 40 pieces should fit on one spoon to certify the future bride good cooking skills.

You can find a full variety of meat Mantı recipes around the internet, but a vegetarian version is hard to find. Down below you can find the recipe for a traditional meat filling, but for a vegetarian option also.


Meat FillingVegetarian Filling
400 g flour

180 ml lukewarm water

1 egg

1 tsp. salt

250 g minced meat

1 chopped onion

1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

½ tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. salt  

150 g lentils

500 ml water

1 chopped onion

2 tbsp. cream cheese

70 g roasted, chopped walnuts

1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

½ tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. salt

Garlic YoghurtHot Spicy SauceTopping
400 g yoghurt

1-2 cloves of chopped garlic

Salt to taste

4 tbsp. olive oil or butter

1 tbsp. pepper paste or paste

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Dried mint Sumac

For the dough mix water, egg and salt together and gradually knead the flour in by hand. Knead it to a smooth dough cover it with clingfilm or a wet towel and give the dough some to rest.

Meanwhile prepare the filling. For the meat filling simply mix all the ingredients listed outlined above. When you go for the vegetarian filling, cook the lentils in water until the lentils are done. 500 ml of water is an approximated benchmark of the amount of water you need, depending on the lentils you use. Mix the onion, walnuts, cream cheese, parsley, salt and pepper to the lentils. You can also prepare the yoghurt sauce in advance by basically mixing yoghurt, garlic and salt, so it has to develop its full taste.

Take a third of your dough and roll it with the help of a standard or Turkish rolling pin (Oklava) to a thin layer. Sprinkle the dough with some flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your work surface. Take a knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into little squares of about three centimeter. Put a pea-size portion of filling in the middle of each square. The tricky part is to fold the Mantı in the shape of little packages by pressing together all four corners and pinch to seal. Once you got how it works it's a relaxing but time consuming task. In Turkish families making Mantı is traditionally a group project which is filling a whole afternoon and involves all female members of the family. Prevent the Mantı from sticking to each other by putting them with on a towel or lightly floured surface without toughing each other.

Cook the Mantı in a large pot of simmering hot salted water for 5-10 minutes. You might do this in two or three batched depending on the size of your pot. Drain the Mantı, but don't rinse them. For the hot spicy sauce let oil or butter get hot in a little pan. Stir in pepper or tomato paste and red pepper flakes and let it come up to boil for a minute. Serve the Mantı topped with a generous amount of yoghurt sauce and a tablespoon of hot spicy sauce. Sprinkle with dried mint and sumac up to taste.

Afiyet olsun!

Photo Credits: JJ Hall

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