Manti are meat-filled dumplings found in Turkey and throughout central Asia. The Turkish variety are usually made very small, in fact, newly-wed brides are judged by their mother-in-laws by how expertly small they can make their manti. Fitting 40 manti onto one spoon will ensure a blessing from the mother-in-law!
Traditionally manti are stuffed with a lamb filling, but I used ground venison, which tastes excellent in this preparation. The boiled dumplings get smothered in two delicious sauces, one yogurt-based, and one butter-based, and are so delicious, you won’t be able to stop eating them. This recipe will make 40-60 manti, though only one or two will fit on a spoon at a time!
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Venison Turkish MantiCourse: Wild Recipes
- For the Dough
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (or use 2 cups all purpose flour total)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup+ water
- For the Filling
1/2lb ground venison
1 small onion
3 tablespoons parsley, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
- For the Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced and crushed into a paste
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- For the Butter Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper (or paprika)
- For the Garnish
Dried mint (optional)
Fresh mint (optional)
Serve with an assortment of pickles and tart salads.
- Add the flours and salt to a medium bowl, then mix well to combine. Make a well in the center and add the egg and water. Lightly beat the egg and water with the handle of a wooden spoon, then turn it around and mix the contents of the bowl together into a shaggy mass. You may need to add a touch more water to incorporate all of the loose flour.
- Switching over to your hands, begin forming the dough into a ball, then kneading it in the bowl for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to become smooth, elastic, and somewhat sticky.
- Form the dough into a smooth ball, leaving it in the bowl. Drape the bowl with a damp towel and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, grate the peeled onion on the large holes of a box grater (or mince finely with a knife). Discard any large chunks. Put the grated onion into a strainer and press down to remove any liquid.
- Add the grated and drained onion to a medium bowl. Add the venison, parsley, salt, pepper, and tomato paste, then mix together until everything is incorporated.
- Lightly flour a working surface and place the dough ball on it. Roll out the dough to about 1/16” thick.
- Use a knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 2” strips, then cut the other way so you end up with 2×2” squares. You can make the squares smaller if you’d like smaller dumplings.
- Split the filling evenly between all of the squares, depositing about ¼ – ½ of a teaspoon onto each. Discard any leftover dough.
- To seal the dumplings, pick one up and gather all of the edges and press them so they meet in the middle like a bundle with four corners. Make sure the edges are pressed together well and sealed tightly. Put the finished dumplings on a lightly floured baking sheet while you complete the others. The amount you end up with depends on how large you made the dumplings. I ended up with 55.
- If you plan on freezing some, leave them on the baking sheet, being sure none are touching. Put the entire sheet in the freezer until the dumplings are frozen solid. Tip them into a labeled freezer bag. They can be cooked the same as from fresh, just allow for a slightly longer cooking time.
- For the yogurt sauce: In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, garlic, and salt, then set aside.
- For the butter sauce: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the Aleppo pepper or paprika and tomato paste. Stir together well, and then take off of the heat.
- Bring 4 cups of water, or even better, venison stock, to a boil. Add the dumplings and cook for about 10 minutes.
- To serve, place dumplings onto a plate, spoon over the yogurt sauce, and then drizzle with the butter sauce. Garnish with dried and fresh mint, or parsley, as well as more Aleppo pepper if you’d like.
- Expect each diner to eat about a dozen when served with pickles and salads. Enjoy!