When I traveled to Turkey I absolutely fell in love with one dish in particular: Manti, small pasta parcels filled with parsley, onion and spice infused minced meat. Boiled or baked you have it with creamy yogurt and some spicy paprika (my favorite is the Spanish red paprika). You probably noticed by now how obsessed I am with yogurt, but it adds that extra freshness to everything, even to pasta! Just remind yourself how salmon and crème fraiche fettuccine tastes like, the sourness of the crème fraiche is exactly what I am going for.
For me Manti is the ultimate comfort food, as pasta by definition is the ultimate comfort. Still Manti is so much more than pasta; they are soupy from the beef stock, spicy from the paprika and fresh from the yogurt. You can have it in a broth to warm up in the winter or eat them cold with yogurt in the summer. You can also pour over a garlicky tomato sauce for a classic touch – bake them for extra crunchiness or boil them for extra softness. It’s up to you! The more comforting the better 🙂
It makes me happy that every country I travel to makes their own version of pasta, because I am such a pasta lover that I don’t think there is a pasta dish in the world I wouldn’t try! When I was little I even used to eat pasta with apricot jam or with crushed walnuts and sugar, apparently a recipe from Hungarian origin. Sounds strange but it’s incredibly delicious!
I baked the Manti together with the beef stock to make them both soft and crunchy. After researching a couple of different versions I chose the recipe from Ghillie Bashan’s Classic Turkish cooking, which turned out fantastic but if you consider buying the cookbook have in mind that the quantities written are not entirely accurate. Still for the dough recipe you can follow any Italian pasta recipe and apply it to the Manti. Also when you bake the Manti with the beef stock make sure the liquid covers the Manti entirely otherwise they will stay raw on the top. My point here is when you are making the beef stock measure it with your eye to make sure it is enough or choose a smaller pan, allowing the stock to cover the Manti. Phew…! Now that I warned you enough we can procede tot the recipe J
450 g strong unbleached flour
½ tsp. Salt
60 ml water
1 egg yolk
225g minced beef
1 onion, finely chopped
a few springs fresh parsley, finely chopped
Kofte spice (sweet red pepper powder, hot red pepper powder, ground black pepper, ground cumin, dried oregano, dried mint)
600 ml beef stock
6 tbsp. thick yogurt
- Sift the flour and the salt into a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the egg and the yolk (whisk them before hand). With your hands draw the flour together, adding the water and suing your strength to blend entirely the consistency
- Prepare the beef stock if you haven’t already done so. I used a beef cube and dissolved it into boiling water.
- Cover the dough with a damp towel and leave it to rest for 1 hour
- Make the filling in the mean time. Start with the veg prep: finely chop the onion and the parsley. Add them together with the kofte spice to the minced meat and bring together using your hands
- When dough is ready spread it evenly and as thinly as possible using a rolling pin. Cut into 2.5 cm squares. Take a bit of the filling, form it into a ball and place into the middle of each square. Fold the four corners and bunch them together
- Bake them alone for 20 min on 180 C. Take the Manti out of the oven, cover them with the stock and pop them back in the oven for another 15 min
- Serve the Manti in a soup dish, sprinkle with yogurt and some fresh powder paprika. Decorate with a tip of a parsley spring