Meat-filled pockets of dough are a common element of cuisines around the world. Italy has its Raviolis or Tortellinis, China its Baozi and Poland its Pierogis. And then there is Manti from Turkey! Manti is served with a cold, yogurt-based sauce with garlic and mint and topped with another sauce made from butter and spicy paprika powder. Fried peppers are a common substitute for the red paprika sauce.
Manti is a traditional specialty from the Kayseri region but exists thoughout the country today. While it is still common to make the dough pockets at home, they are also available ready-made in the convenience food department of any larger supermarket in Turkey. As alternatives to meat are becoming more and more popular, Manti even exists as vegetarian versions with tofu or potato cubes.
Make me some Mantı and I will marry you!
The little dumplings supposedly have their origin in central Asia where they are also prevalent today in various forms. In Turkey, they have been around since the 16th century. Traditionally, making Manti was a task of housewives who would sit together with other women of the family or the neighborhood. This was a common habit for complicated dishes as the company and a bit of chit-chat and gossip would make the work more fun. At the same time, young girls would quickly learn from the other women and gain practice in cooking.
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The dumplings prepared in Kayseri are especially tiny which makes their production very tricky and time-consuming. As a proof of being a worthy wife, women had to show off their Manti-making skills, back in the days. Men would propose to those women who could fit 40 tiny dumplings into a wooden cooking spoon.
You might not need Manti to proof your cooking skills but if you are looking for a great alternative to pasta or specifically Tortellini or Ravioli, you should definitely give it a go. Here is our authentic recipe: Not the easiest but with a little practice you will soon be a Manti-making pro – or you simply buy ready-made ones!
Klepe from Bosnia
Mänti (Мәнті) from Kazakhstan
Manty (Манты) from Russia
Mantu (منتو) from Afghanistan
Baozi from China
Do you want to share your knowledge on any of these? Get in touch!
Photos by SunnySideCircus