Crafting these delicate little parcels of lamb is a labour of love, but it’s also half the fun, as making them is usually a large family affair. Made throughout Turkey and Central Asia, the method varies between regions, but the smaller the manti, the more skilled the cook is considered. The Anatolian town of Kayseri is renowned for making the smallest versions – so small, you can fit a number of them on a spoon.
- 300 g minced lamb
- 1 small red onion, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ cup mint leaves, finely chopped, plus extra leaves, to serve
- 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tsp sumac, plus extra, to serve
- lemon wedges (optional), to serve
- 375 g (2½ cups) plain flour, sifted
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Yoghurt and garlic sauce
- 250 g Greek-style yoghurt
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Aleppo pepper butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 80 ml passata (puréed tomatoes)
- 1½ tsp Aleppo pepper (see Note)
- 125 g butter, chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 1 hour
Drink match 2012 Jim Barry The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley, SA ($22)
To make dough, combine flour, egg, oil and 1 teaspoon of salt in a food processor. Gradually add 160 ml water in a thin, steady stream until a soft dough forms; you may not need all the water. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6 minutes or until smooth, dusting with flour if sticky. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 1 hour.
Place lamb, onion, garlic, mint, parsley and sumac in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix to combine. Set aside.
Divide dough into thirds. Working with one piece at a time, with the others wrapped in plastic wrap, roll out on a lightly floured work surface to about 2 mm thick. Cut into 7 cm squares and top each square with 2 teaspoons of mixture. Gather all 4 corners to a point in the centre, and squeeze to seal and form dumpling. Set aside on trays lined with baking paper and repeat with remaining dough and filling to make 30 manti.
To make sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Season and set aside.
To make Aleppo pepper butter, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add passata and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes or until colour deepens and mixture thickens. Add Aleppo pepper and stir to combine, then stir in butter until melted. Season. Set aside and keep warm.
Working in batches, cook manti in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain. Spoon yoghurt sauce onto serving plates, top with manti, spoon over Aleppo pepper butter and scatter with sumac and extra mint leaves. Season and serve with lemon, if desired.
• Aleppo pepper is from Turkish and specialty food shops.
Photography by Brett Stevens. Food preparation Phoebe Wood. Styling Kristen Wilson.
As seen in Feast magazine, July 2014, Issue 33.