I’m always on the quest for something new, with so many different dishes out there in the world, why eat the same thing twice. I put a lot of work into finding new dishes to make or even a twist on something old, because of this I spend a lot of time looking at food blogs. I have a handful of favorite blogs, ones that consistently update and have great recipes that I don’t often need to tweak. When looking for something new I start with the blogs, see if I can fall down a rabbit hole and get my hands on something unique, find an idea that leads me into more research. Other times I turn to Wikipedia and read about a cuisine from a country I don’t know much about, usually it’s this way that I find something really interesting.
Now that I have the name and description of this new dish I need to make I need to find out more about it. I read at least half a dozen recipes or more, see what they have in common see what makes them different from one another. From there I try to narrow it down to two or three and then combine the different things I like together to make my own version. If it’s a dish I’m not at all familiar with then I’ll follow the recipe’s measurements more closely, if not I’ll wing it and write down notes as I go. I like being able to cook by feel rather than a strict set of measurements, I encourage everyone to be comfortable with the food they make and eventually to make most dishes by taste.
This dish is born from a lot of research. Turkish manti are tiny dumplings stuffed with a simple ground lamb mixture and accompanied by two sauces, it’s the sauces and the texture of the dumplings that make this dish. After the dumplings are baked and boiled they get tossed in butter, slathered with caramelized tomato paste and finished with a dollop of garlicy yoghurt. The smaller the dumplings are the more fun they are to eat!
I sometimes make a cheater version of this dish, forget the whole dumpling folding part and make it a simple pasta dish instead. Make all the same elements, toss spaghetti in the caramelized tomato paste sauce, top with meatballs of the filling mixture and a good blob of the garlic yoghurt. Same great flavor at a fraction of the work.
Put all of the dough ingredients into a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead for 8-10 minutes until you have a smooth dough. Cover and let rest at room temperate for 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl add all of the ingredients for the filling, with a clean hand mix it together for at least two minutes. This helps to incorporate the water and make a gooey structure to hold the moisture in.
Mix everything together, taste and adjust seasoning, chill till ready to serve.
Fill the manti
Preheat the oven to 325F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a floured surface cut the dough into four pieces and cover the pieces you are not working with to prevent them from drying out. Roll the dough out into a sheet about 1 /16th of an inch thick.
Cut the dough into small squares, about 1 ½ inches. (make these bigger if you can’t stand small fiddly work) Add a small amount of meat to the center of each square and pinch the dumplings closed by pulling the four corners up to the center and pinching the four seams.
Place them on your parchment lined baking sheets and continue to shape all of the dumplings.
Bake at 325F for 15 minutes or until the edges just start to get a little color. At this point the manti can be stored in the fridge for a few days, allow them to come to room temperature before boiling.
Caramelized tomato paste
In a small pot over medium heat cook the olive oil and tomato paste stirring constantly for 8 minutes until the tomato paste changes to a darker color and all of the oil is incorporated.
Add the paprika and cook an additional 30 seconds until fragrant. Remove from the heat and whisk in the water, season to taste.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, turn down to a simmer, add the manti and cook for 10 minutes until they are tender.
Drain the pot, add a hunk of butter to the pot and tumble the manti on top, toss gently to coat and season with salt to taste.
Divide the manti into bowls and serve with a generous amount of caramelized tomato paste and yoghurt. Garnish with sumac and fresh mint.
I’m a tall ship cook, I prefer to cook with water beneath me, no land in sight and lots of mouths to feed. I like to play with bold flavors, pushing people’s taste buds in new directions and using a recipe as a guideline, my hands are my measuring spoons. Read More about “About Me”…