Mantı in yoghurt with sizzling paprika butter

Mantı in yoghurt with sizzling paprika butter

Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

We spent a fascinating afternoon in Istanbul with Turkish food journalist Engin Akin, who showed us how to make the silky, soft dough that’s used to make mantı, a sort of Turkish ravioli. We watched, fascinated, as Engin and her helpers made the tiny dumplings. ‘The smaller the better,’ Engin said. ‘Although, really, it’s a sort of snob thing to make them so tiny!’ We enjoyed the results for lunch in a traditional garlic-laden yoghurt sauce drizzled with sizzling butter.

While Turkish women deftly roll the dough into paper-thin fineness, if you have a pasta machine at home feel free to use it. Just work the dough through each setting until you reach the finest one. When made correctly, mantı dumplings are around the size of a grape, and it takes great patience and dexterity to shape and seal them with the traditional finish – but it’s worth having a go!


Quantity Ingredient
200g minced lamb
1 small onion, grated
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves
400g thick natural yoghurt
40g unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried mint

Manti dough

Quantity Ingredient
250g strong bread flour
2-3 large free-range eggs
1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. To make the mantı 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 around 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. Combine the lamb and onion in a bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Place a chickpea-sized amount of filling in the centre of each mantı square.
  4. 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 and pinching the side ‘seams’ as you go 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 mantı cook. Place the mantı on a lightly floured tray as you complete them and repeat until all the dough and filling has been used.
  5. Crush the garlic with 1 teaspoon salt, then beat into the yoghurt until well combined.
  6. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Drop in around half the mantı – they will rise to the surface within 1 1/2-2 minutes as they are cooked. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the cooked mantı to four warmed serving bowls. Repeat with the remaining mantı.
  7. Spoon the garlic yoghurt sauce over the warm mantı. Quickly sizzle the butter in a small frying pan, then add the paprika and mint and heat until foaming. Swirl the sizzling butter over the mantı and serve straight away.
Middle Eastern
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