Manti: Lamb Dumplings with Garlic Yoghurt and Red Pepper Butter

I discovered this dish while having dinner at friends on my first visit to Turkey several years ago. I have developed a real fondness for Turkish cuisine.  This dish combines the distinctive flavours that have me a Turkish food fan.

Be warned, this recipe is a bit ‘fiddly’ and it takes a lot of time to make the dumplings.  We tend to make this for special occasions when there is time to spare.

In Pictures:

Manti Meat Mixture Items Manti Meat Mixture Mixing Manti Meat Mixture Mixed

The ingredients are prepared for the meat stuffing.  Lamb and beef are mixed with onion, fenugreek, cumin, salt, pepper, Aleppo pepper and Turkish pepper paste.  A small piece of meat was fried (not shown) in order to assess the seasoning.

Manti Dough Elements Manti Dough Rolling Manti Dough Cut in Squares Manti Dough Squares with Meat

Ingredients for the dough are measured and combined.  After resting, the dough is rolled as thin as possible and cut into 4 cm squares.  A small amount of meat filling is placed on each square.   If the humidity is low, placing a moist towel over the dough will help keep it pliable to allowing you to make the dumplings more easily.

Manti Dumpling Folding 1 Manti Dumpling Folding 2 Manti Dumpling Folding 3 Manti Dumpling Folding Final

There are probably as many ways to roll a manti as there are Turkish grandmothers.  We chose to make sealed, square dumplings.   Start with a small amount of meat in the centre of the dough square.  Bring the 4 corners of the dough to meet at the top of the meat.  Pinch the edges together to make a tight seal (especially if you are going to boil them in stock at the end.)

Manti in Pan Manti Baked

Manti can be steamed, baked and boiled (in stock) or baked and braised (in stock).  The manti are put into a roasting pan and browned in the oven.

Manti Lamb Broth Manti Lamb Broth Oblique

While the manti are browning, bring lamb stock to a boil. We were afraid of our dumpling forming skills so we didn’t want to try boiling the manti. The stock was added to the pan before going back in the oven to finish cooking.

Manti Yoghurt Sauce Manti Pepper Butter

The garlic yoghurt and pepper butter sauces are made.  We couldn’t get Turkish peppers so we used Turkish pepper paste and added Aleppo pepper instead.

Manti Plated

The manti are plated with the yoghurt, butter and dried mint.

The manti were delicious but the tops were a little dry.  Next time I would either cover the manti completely in stock or baste them during the final phase of cooking.



Yield: Enough for 4 – 6 people



  • 450 g all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 100 mL cold water

Meat Filling:

  • 125 g (1/4 pound) ground lamb
  • 125 g (1/4 pound) ground beef
  • 1 small onion, grated or minced
  • 30 mL (2 Tbsp) chopped parsley
  • 2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) ground cumin
  • 2.5 mL (1/2 tsp)ground fenugreek
  • 2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) hot pepper
  • 2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) sweet pepper
  • 2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) dried mint
  • 2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) dried oregano
  • TT salt and pepper


  • 600 mL (2 c) lamb stock
  • 125 mL (1/2 c) Greek yoghurt
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 80 g butter
  • 1 tsp kirmizi biber (Turkish pepper); can use Aleppo pepper or biber salcasi (Turkish pepper paste) instead)
  • Dried mint


  1. Sift flour and salt into a bowl.
  2. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs.
  3. Use your fingertips to combine.
  4. Add water (in batches – you may need more or less than listed above) until the dough comes together.
  5. Turn out onto a floured counter and knead for 5 minutes.
  6. Cover with a damp towel and let sit for an hour.
  7. Mix yoghurt and crushed garlic together.  Add salt and white pepper to taste. Set aside to allow flavours to infuse.  You can prepare the day before for a robust garlic flavour.
  8. Combine all ingredients of meat mixture and mix well.  You can fry a small amount of the mixture in order to taste the seasoning.  Adjust as necessary.
  9. Divide dough into 4 pieces.
  10. Cover the counter with a little flour and roll as thin as possible.
  11. Cut dough into 4 cm/1 3/4″ squares. (If you are in a low humidity environment, cover the dough with a damp towel.  If you don’t the thin dough starts to dry like pasta and it very difficult to form).
  12. Add a small amount of meat to a square.
  13. Gather the four corners above the meat and seal the edges together.  (See pictures above).
  14. Place in a greased oven dish and bake at 200C (400F) for 20 minutes (until golden brown).
  15. While manti are baking bring the lamb stock to a boil.
  16. Pour lamb stock over manti, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  17. Melt butter and add pepper.
  18. To prepare, put manti onto a serving platter, drizzle with yoghurt and butter, dust with dried mint leaves.

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