Turkish ravioli in a crab and saffron broth

Turkish ravioli in a crab and saffron broth

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

We spent a fascinating afternoon in Istanbul with Turkish food journalist Engin Akin, who showed us how to make manti, a sort of Turkish ravioli. Although most Turkish women make the silky, soft dough themselves and deftly roll it by hand into paper-thin fineness, for the novice, it’s probably easier to use a pasta machine. Just work the dough through each setting until you reach the finest one. If you don’t feel brave enough to make your own dough, then gyoza dumpling wrappers make a good substitute and are readily available from Asian grocers; you’ll need about 24 for this recipe.

When made correctly, manti dumplings are about the size of a grape, and it takes great patience and dexterity to shape and seal them into the traditional four-cornered star-like shape — but it’s worth having a go!

Manti dough


Quantity Ingredient
2-3 large free-range eggs
250g baker’s flour
1 teaspoon sea salt

Seafood stuffing

Quantity Ingredient
300g raw prawn meat, finely chopped
100g raw crab meat, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped dill
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1 long green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 lime, finely grated zest
2 hard-boiled free-range eggs, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon extra–virgin olive oil
drizzle honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
800ml Crab stock
sea salt
2 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
pinch hot paprika
chervil sprigs, to garnish
1 purple carrot, sliced ino wafers, to garnish (optional)


  1. To make the manti dough, lightly beat two of the eggs, then put these into the bowl of an electric mixer with the flour and salt. Use the dough hook to work it to a stiff dough — if the dough is too stiff, add the remaining egg, lightly beaten. Knead for about 5 minutes, then tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for a further 5 minutes or so until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, then cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for about 1 hour.
  2. Divide the dough into pieces the size of a golf ball. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface to form a large, paper-thin rectangle. Cut into strips about 4 cm wide. Repeat with the remaining dough. Stack the strips on top of each other and cut into 4 cm squares. (If you have a pasta machine, roll the dough through the settings, then trim the sheets to end up with 4 cm squares.)
  3. To make the stuffing, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill thoroughly.
  4. To make the mantı, put a teaspoon of filling into the centre of each dough square or gyoza wrapper.
  5. We’ve gone with a simple ravioli shape, but if you’re brave enough to attempt the traditional shape, bring two opposite corners together over the filling and press to join at the top. Repeat with the other two corners, carefully moistening the side ‘seams’ with a little water as you go and pinching them together to seal them. You should aim to end up with a four-cornered star-like shape. For an easier option, simply moisten the edges with a little water and fold the pastry over the filling to create little triangles, then squeeze to seal. Whichever shape you decide to make, ensure that the edges are sealed well so the filling doesn’t come out as the manti cook. Place the manti on a lightly floured tray as you complete them and repeat until all the dough and filling are used up.
  6. Bring the stock to a simmer in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding salt, if required. Reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer. Bring another large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the manti to the water and poach for 4–5 minutes, or until they are cooked and rise to the surface. Use a large slotted spoon to lift them out and transfer to a colander to drain.
  7. Meanwhile, gently heat the oil and two paprikas to blood temperature in a small saucepan. Tip the bright-red oil into a small tea strainer lined with paper towel over a small bowl.
  8. To serve, ladle the stock into four warmed bowls. Divide the manti among the bowls and drizzle with a little of the paprika oil. Garnish with chervil and wafers of purple carrot, if using, and serve straight away.
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