These tiny hand-made parcels are packed with spiced minced meat or cheese and served topped with rich tomato sauce, garlic yoghurt and chili pepper infused with melted butter. These delicious dumplings are said to date back to the Mongol conquest, brought to Turkey in the 13th century by the armies of Genghis Khan. The dish takes time to prepare but is definitely worth the effort. Serve as part of a Meze plate or entrée. Serves 4.
Manti (Turkish dumplings)
- Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and water, mixing well with your hands. Add more water, if needed, to form a soft dough. Cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
- Shred the onions and place them in a colander or sieve set over a bowl; drain the juice and discard. Combine the onion, minced beef, salt, and pepper; mix the meat well with a spoon until mashed.
- 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 into a rectangle, rolling the dough as thin as you can. Cut the rectangle into 2-inch/6cm squares with a knife or pastry wheel.
- Place about 2 teaspoons of the meat filling in the centre of each square. Seal the dumplings by gathering the edges of the dough and pinching them together at the top to form a bundle. Transfer the finished Manti to a floured plate and sprinkle more flour over to prevent sticking. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
- Heat the oil and red pepper flakes in a small skillet over low heat just until the flakes have started to colour the oil; don't let them burn. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Stir the minced garlic into the yogurt and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat and cook the Manti until the filling is no longer pink, and the dough is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well. Divide the Manti among four plates. Spoon the yogurt sauce over and drizzle each serving with the hot pepper oil.
- Manti freeze well. Double the recipe and keep on hand for any occasion.