Mantı – it’s easy to wonder what all the fuss is about. The first time we saw it (and had no idea what it was called) was when we originally moved to Fethiye and our neighbour knocked on our door, presenting us with a bowl of little dough parcels encasing a tiny piece of minced beef and topped with natural yoghurt. Dough and yoghurt? Errm, just no. What’s that all about? We looked at the bowl, looked at each other, smiled politely at our neighbour, closed the door…one spoonful each and that was us finished.
Well that was over ten years ago and during that time, yoghurt has become a staple in our fridge. And mantı – a classic Turkish dish – has also become one of our favourite meals. Strange how your taste buds change like that. Of course yoghurt and little dough parcels go well together. Why wouldn’t they?
Turkish Recipes: Mantı – The Quick Way
Mantı is often eaten out at a mantı evi (eateries that specialise in making and serving mantı) and people are very particular about their favourite ones to go to. Because, if mantı is served in a way that’s not quite to your taste, well, you’re really not going to enjoy it. For us, if it’s too oily or if there’s too much yoghurt, it’s just not a pleasant experience. But when mantı is served just how you like it…well, that’s when you hit foodie bliss.
Our favourite mantı experience to date was when we were in Ankara last year and we ate Kayseri Mantısı in Kızılay, and that’s the dish we try to replicate when we make it at home, these days. However, as you can see in the photo above, we buy our mantı dried and ready made. This is bought from the same yufkacı at Fethiye Market we’ve used for years and the lady who makes it does add meat. (Some of the supermarket mantı can be very skimpy in the meat department.)
Obviously, as with dried pasta, fresh and homemade is best – but for a quick meal, dried is fine. The yufkacı we use sells her mantı in 500g bags and that will easily serve four people. We use half of it for the two of us. So, here’s how we prepare one of our favourite Turkish recipes, mantı (serves 2).
First of all, we prepare our yoghurt and our olive oil because we like the flavours to infuse.
- In a small bowl, add around 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Grate 1 clove of garlic and add that to the oil.
- Sprinkle in some chilli flakes and stir everything up. Your oil will start to take on a red tint from the chilli flakes.
- Now heat some water in a large pan and, once it’s come to a rolling boil, add around 250g of mantı.
- Dried mantı takes a while to soften and rehydrate so boil for around 15-18 minutes (do a taste test to check it’s soft throughout).
- Once the mantı is cooked, drain in a colander and leave to one side.
- Now gently heat the olive oil, chilli flakes and garlic in a frying pan.
- Once your oil has heated, turn the heat off and add the mantı to the frying pan.
- Stir the mantı around gently just to coat the pieces in chilli, oil and garlic. This only takes a few seconds.
- And now it’s time to serve up…
Divide the mantı between two bowls and then drizzle with natural Turkish yoghurt. Sprinkle dried mint and sumac over the top and you’re ready to go.
- How much yoghurt and olive oil you use is down to personal taste. Some people use lots more oil than this.
- We always buy süzme yoghurt (strained yoghurt) and this is too thick for mantı. We use three heaped dessert spoonfuls and then water it down until it’s a looser consistency. We also add a sprinkling of salt.
- The photo above is purely for photo purposes. More mint, sumac and chilli flakes were added before eating just because we love lots of flavour. You can decide for yourself how much or how little you want to use.