Tomatoey Turkish take on the much-loved dumpling
This recipe has lamb manti served with garlicky yogurt and browned butter
Although they exist in thousands of forms around the world, dumplings are difficult to define.
If all filled packages are considered dumplings, are empanadas dumplings? Are samosas or calzones?
Of course, many true dumplings aren't filled at all.
Consider chicken and dumplings and any simple dough that's dropped by the spoonful onto a pot of soup or stew and steamed. What about spaetzle, gnocchi or gulab jamun?
Gulab jamun, South Asian milk sweets, are little balls of milk reduced to the consistency of soft dough. But these are never described as dumplings. They're deep-fried before being saturated with sugary syrup, so maybe that makes a difference.
- For more delicious dishes, bookmark cbc.ca/juliesrecipes
I'd like to make the argument that a key characteristic of a dumpling is that it's soft instead of baked or fried until golden and crisp.
My idea of a true dumpling is any dough, filled or not, that has been boiled, steamed or simmered. That is, water has been used as the heat conduit with which to cook it.
This recipe is for manti, Turkish lamb dumplings, which fit the bill as a perfect example of a dumpling.
They're small and soft, made with a flour-egg-water dough similar to Russian pelmeni or Ukrainian (or Polish) perogy. They're simmered in water and served with a garlicky yogurt sauce.
Some recipes call for melted butter spiked with Aleppo pepper, but I came across one that called for browned butter and tomatoes. It made use of a couple wrinkly tomatoes on my countertop.
Lamb manti with garlicky yogurt and browned butter tomatoes
This recipe has been adapted from several sources, including Feast: Food of the Islamic World by Anissa Helou, the magazine Saveur, and advice from family at Anatolia Turkish Food in downtown Calgary and Crossroads Farmers Market.
2 cups all-purpose flour.
¼ tsp salt.
½ cup warm water.
1 large egg.
½-1 lb (227-454 g) ground lamb or beef.
1 small onion, coarsely grated.
1 tsp baharat. Optional: substitute a spice blend of mint, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander and cumin.
½ tsp salt.
Freshly ground black pepper.
2 cups plain full-fat yogurt.
2 garlic cloves, finely crushed.
¼-½ cup butter.
2 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped.
Pinch of Aleppo pepper or dried chili flakes.
To make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.
Stir in the water and egg and stir until you have a soft dough.
Knead it for a few minutes, until smooth. Cover with a tea towel and let rest while you prepare the filling.
In a medium bowl, blend the lamb, onion, baharat, salt and pepper with your hands until well combined.
Stir the garlic and salt into the yogurt. Set aside or stash in the refrigerator.
To fill the manti, divide the dough into four pieces. Work with one at a time. Keep the others covered with a tea towel.
Roll the dough out thin and cut into strips 1½-inch (3.8-cm) wide, and again across, making 1½-inch squares.
You also can go with two inches, or five centimetres, if that's easier to handle.
Place a tiny amount of filling on each square and gather up the corners to meet in the middle, pinching down the seams to seal.
These can be filled in advance and frozen. Otherwise, keep covered in the refrigerator until you're ready for them.
To cool the manti, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and drop them in.
Boil for six to eight minutes, until tender. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon.
Meanwhile, in a skillet set over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook it until it turns golden and smells nutty.
Add the tomatoes to the pan along with the pepper and a pinch of salt.
Cook until the tomatoes break down and become thick and jammy.
Divide the yogurt between four to six shallow bowls and top with the manti, browned butter tomato sauce and a light sprinkle of sumac.
Serves: Four to six people.
- Hear more about how many cultures serve something tasty wrapped in dough:
- MORE RECIPES | Make your own royal wedding-worthy lemon elderflower cake
- MORE RECIPES | Shake up brunch with breakfast crostini and banh mi
- MORE RECIPES | Try these different takes on pancakes, a breakfast staple
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.