Anatolian Manti


If you feel like dedicating you afternoon to creating something somewhat special in your kitchen, arm yourself with tonnes of patience and make this Turkish hot snack, which can easily be a meal on its own. I promise, you will not regret it.
Mantis can be large or small, boiled or steamed, and are usually filled with ground meat, lamb or beef, although chicken and duck meat is also used. This particular variety is filled with chickpeas paste and is popular in the region of eastern Anatolia and are very small in size. In a city of Kayseri when a couple is engaged to be married, the mother of the groom visits the bride's house and during this visit the bride should prepare manti for her prospective mother-in-law. The smaller the manti dumplings are, the more the bride is considered to be skillful in the kitchen. Traditionally the dumplings prepared for the prospective mother-in law are supposed to be so small that 40 of them can be scooped up with one spoon (an extract form Wikipedia)

A distinct flavour comes from the process of baking, where you first bake them the regular way in a lightly oiled tin and when they are done, you add extra flavour and texture by pouring hot vegetable stock over them and return to the oven until the liquid is absorbed.
It's served with red pepper and tomato sauce, usually topped with a spoonful of natural yoghurt, which all together makes it suitable for vegetarians.

Anatolian Manti

450 g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk beaten together
50 ml water
600ml vegetable stock, boiled

400 g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1tsp red paprika ( or sweet chilli flakes)
pepper, salt
1 tsp cumin seeds crushed (optional)

1tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion
1 garlic clove
3 Romano peppers, grilled, skin peeled, then chopped
2 tsp sugar
400 g can chopped tomato, juice drained if you wish
bunch of parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Make the dough by mixing and kneading all the ingredients together, then make a ball and let the dough rest covered with a damp dish cloth for 1 hour.
For the filling mash the chickpeas with a fork and add paprika, herbs and seasoning.
For the sauce heat the oil and butter and fry the onion and garlic, add Romano peppers, seasoning, cook for few minutes to combine, then stir in the tomatoes and sugar. Cook until the sauce is thick, add chopped parsley, adjust the seasoning and remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6
Roll the dough as thinly as possible and cut it into small 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm (1 in) squares. Spoon a little chickpea mixture into the middle of each square and put the corners of the dough together to form a small parcel (see the above pictures).
Bake the parcels for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown then pour the boiling hot stock over them. Return the tin to the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until almost all the stock has been absorbed. 
Serve with warm tomato sauce and few spoons of natural yoghurt mixed with crushed garlic. 
Note: I made around 100 parcels and put the rest in a freezer, which was enough to be served as a side dish for 2 people.

Adaptation from  Recipes from Turkish kitchen, by Ghillie Basan

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