Mantı resemble tiny ravioli or tortellini. They are thought to have originated with Turkic tribes in Central Asia, and appear in many different forms from China all the way through the countries of the Middle East. In China, they are known as "mantou."
In Turkey, mantı are served boiled, fried, or steamed with various different fillings and toppings. The most commonly found is boiled mantı filled with spiced beef or lamb, topped with yogurt and tomato sauce.
Making mantı can be extremely tedious if you aim to make them very small. One of my Turkish friends told me that the best mantı-makers can make them so tiny that you can fit at least 40 pieces on your wooden spoon. Of course, to do that you need a lot of time and you need to be very skilled at working with the dough. Making them a bit larger still takes time, but is much easier to do when you do not have all day to spend shaping them.
At some of the best home-cooking style restaurants in Istanbul, they serve homemade mantı for people on their lunch breaks. In order to have these, you need to get there early because they are very popular and run out quickly as soon as word gets out that it is a "mantı day." Of course there are some restaurants where mantı are the specialty and therefore always available. One of my favorites is Sinop Mantı in Beşiktaş.
Traditional meat-filled mantı are great, but I wanted to try to make the healthier chickpea version. I altered this Turkish chickpea-filled mantı recipe to make it even healthier by using mainly whole wheat flour for the dough.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (190 grams)
1/2 cup white flour (60 grams) +more for rolling out dough
Pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (15-30 ml)
3 cups beef or chicken stock (720 ml)
1 cup cooked chickpeas (165 grams)
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup tomato puree (60 grams)
1 cup yogurt (250 grams)
1 clove garlic, minced
Dried red pepper flakes (optional garnish)
Dried mint (optional garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
- Prepare the dough with the wheat and white flour, salt, eggs, and olive oil. You may want to split it into 2-3 pieces to make rolling it out easier if you have limited space.
- Roll dough out to be extremely thin, then cut into squares about 2 fingers wide.
- Place a chickpea in the center of each square, then pinch the corners together to seal it. The sides should be left partially open to trap the sauce.
- Arrange mantı onto baking sheet and place into oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden and dried.
- Heat your stock in a large pot on the stove and add the mantı to it. Simmer, covered, until all broth is absorbed. Toward the end, you should taste one piece to make sure it is completely soft. Because of the whole wheat flour, you may need to add some water (~ 1/2 cup) to cook them a bit more if the stock is not quite enough.
- While mantı are boiling, prepare toppings: Melt the butter and mix in the tomato puree. Add the garlic to the yogurt. You may want to warm the yogurt just slightly.
- Serve mantı hot with a drizzle of the hot stock, garlic yogurt, and tomato sauce on top. Place dried pepper flakes and dried mint on the table so everyone can add it to their own dish according to their preferences.