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Manti (Turkish Dumplings)

Have I told you that I heart dumplings? Wait, I got that wrong — It’s more like I heart heart heart dumplings!

After reading about Brian and Michelle’s dumpling party a few weeks ago, I’ve been craving a dumpling party of my own. Unfortunately, I really have no excuse for making more potstickers because I still have a huge batch sitting in the freezer, from a dumpling party not too long ago. (And yes, I can still call it a dumpling party, even if it was a dumpling party of one. It’s like an army of one, only less violent and more delicious.)

Thankfully, Saveur comes to the rescue! My favorite foodie magazine also happens to have one of my favorite, non-Chinese dumpling recipes – Manti or Turkish dumplings. These are tiny dumplings made with homemade dough and filled with little bits of lamb, onions, and parsley. They’re first baked in the oven to make them chewy before being boiled in stock (also in the oven). Fresh out of the oven, they’re then tossed with a garlicky yogurt sauce, topped with mint and chili powder, and finished with a drizzle of olive oil. The only bad (?) thing about them is that they’re really really addictive. So don’t blame me if you end up eating the whole pan!

Adapted from a recipe in Saveur March 2006.

1⅔ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
about ¼ cup water

½ lb ground lamb
1 small onion (or ½ a large onion), chopped very fine
2-3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper

4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 cups thick yogurt (I just bought some Greek yogurt but you can also strain “regular” yogurt)
3 cloves garlic
salt
olive oil
mint leaves, chopped
chili powder

Make the dough: Combine flour, eggs, salt, and a little bit of water and stir for a minute or so. You want the dough to start coming together into a ball but you also don’t want it to be too sticky. So add water just a little bit at a time until you get a decent dough ball.

Lightly flour work surface and turn dough ball out onto it. Have some extra flour nearby because the dough will be quite sticky. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, sprinkling small amounts of flour onto the board and the dough when it gets too sticky. Expect to get dough all over your hands at this point, which is fine – Cooking is extra fun when it’s messy!

After kneading for 10 minutes or so, divide the dough ball into 4 pieces with a knife or dough scraper. Cover with a damp kitchen towel or paper towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Prep the filling:While waiting, prepare the filling. Combine lamb, onion, parsley, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Also, butter a baking dish – big enough to hold all the manti in a single layer (I used a roasting pan without the rack).

Wrap the dumplings:After the dough has rested, take out one of the pieces to work with but leave the rest under the damp towel. Keeping everything lightly floured to prevent sticking, roll the piece of dough out into a rough square, about 11 x 11 inches. At this point, you have to decide how meticulous you feel like being. The original recipe calls for cutting out 1 inch squares to make teeny, tiny dumplings. I started doing this but as I got hungrier, my squares got bigger. I would say you probably shouldn’t go much bigger than 2 to 2.5 inch squares though.

Put a dollop of filling in the center of each square (¼ tsp for 1 inch squares, ½ tsp for 2 inch squares). Take two opposite corners, fold them towards the middle and pinch together – now you have something that looks a tube with open ends. Take the other two opposite corners, fold them towards the middle, and pinch again – now you should have a little square-ish dumpling with a little peak in the middle. Transfer to baking dish and continue with the rest of the squares.

Repeat with the three other balls of dough, arranging the manti in a single layer in baking dish. While working on your last ball of dough, preheat oven to 400F. Bake manti for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Meanwhile, heat stock over medium heat until simmering.

Once the manti are golden brown, carefully pour the hot stock over the manti in the baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for another 25-30 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Make yogurt sauce:While waiting, prepare the yogurt sauce. Mince the garlic with a bit of salt so it becomes a fine paste. Stir into the yogurt. Taste the yogurt and season with more salt, if needed.

Serve the manti immediately out of the oven with dollops of yogurt sauce and garnished with mint, a dash of chili powder, and a drizzle of olive oil.


Yield: about 6 servings
TIme: ~1-2 hrs prep + 1½ hrs resting/baking

Note: If you want to be more decadent than me, you can also make browned butter and drizzle that on instead of olive oil. Browned butter is basically made by melting butter on the stove and then heating it some more until the solids in the butter get a bit brown.

One Comment

  1. Laura said:
    12 August 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I made this recipe when l saw it in Saveur and fell in love with it. Then I lost the magazine and haven’t made it since. I just did a google search and you have the recipe……… Making it right now! You have Great taste….. This recipe rocks!!

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