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Manti, Turkish dumplings with ground meat, onion and spices

These delicious tiny treasures, Manti or Mantu, dumplings with spiced ground meat and onion, is one of the all time favorite  dishes in Turkey. In especially Anatolia, family members gather to prepare the dough and fill the tiny dough squares with the filling together; it is a bit of a labor of love, so it is great to get together for making it, and so worth the effort. The marriage of the melt-in-the-mouth dumplings with garlic yoghurt sauce and spice infused olive oil is simply irresistible. Tangy Sumac, red pepper flakes and dried mint infused in olive oil all add another layer of deliciousness and work greatly with garlic yoghurt as the sauce for manti.

Manti; delicious dumplings with gound meat filling, served with garlic yoghurt ans spices infused olive oil

Manti; delicious dumplings with ground meat filling, served with garlic yoghurt and spices infused olive oil

The word manti derives from mantu,  meaning dumplings. It is a shared culinary heritage that the nomadic Turkish tribes brought with them when they travelled from Central Asia towards Anatolia, today’s Turkey, during the 13th century.  According to Holly Chase, Turkic and Mongol horsemen on the move were supposed to have carried frozen or dried manti, which could be quickly boiled over a camp”; what a brilliant idea. These delicious dumplings are popular in most Turkic cuisines, as well as in Armenian, Caucasian, Central Asian, Afgan and Chinese Islamic cuisines.

These days you can get pre-made Manti in most supermarkets in Turkey and specialty & online stores abroad.

These days you can get pre-made Manti in most supermarkets in Turkey and specialty & online stores abroad.

These days you can easily find these delicious dumplings, manti in every supermarket in Turkey and Turkish specialty stores as well as Middle Eastern stores abroad, but there’s nothing quite like the homemade manti. In our family we make a double batch, bake the dumplings (which gives manti a nice bite) and freeze some of it for a delicious surprise later on, I highly recommend doing it. Traditionally, the filling consists of ground meat, onion and spices, though in Eastern Anatolia the crushed chickpeas with cumin and red pepper flakes are used as filling too and it is delicious vegetarian option.

Delicious, tiny treasures, Manti; Turkish dumplings with spiced ground meat filling.

Delicious, tiny treasures, Manti; Turkish dumplings with spiced ground meat filling.

I hope this scrumptious manti maybe a gift of good food, packed with history for your family and friends to share.

Fascinating Pergamum, Bergama - Turkey

Fascinating Pergamum, Bergama – Turkey

Cok Selamlar (My best wishes) and Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Serves 4 people

Dough ingredients:

300gr/ 2 cups/ 10 ½ oz. all-purpose plain flour (plus a little extra for rolling)
1 egg, beaten
4 fl. oz. / ¼ cup water

30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil
5ml/1 tsp sea salt

For the filling:

225gr/8oz ground beef or lean ground lamb
1 onion, grated or very finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the garlic yoghurt:

500gr/2 ¼ cups thick and creamy plain yoghurt

1 -2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

Salt to taste

For the sauce:

15ml/1 tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi (give link) or tomato paste

60ml/4 tbsp. olive oil

10 ml/2 tsp. dried spearmint, kuru nane

5 ml/1 tsp. (or more) ground sumac (optional)

5 ml/ 1 tsp. (or more) Turkish red pepper flakes, chili flakes, pul biber

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F

First make the dough. Sift the flour and salt into a wide bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in the beaten egg and the water and using your hands, draw the flour into the liquid and mix to a dough. Pour in the olive oil and knead the dough for about 5-8 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Manti dough needs to be quite hard; cover the dough with a cling film or kitchen towel and leave to rest in a cold place or in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, make the filling. Grate or finely chop the onion and combine with the ground meat. Season with salt and ground black pepper and mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat the yoghurt with the garlic and season with salt to your taste.

Spoon a little of the filling, rounded at a size of half a chickpea, into the middle of each square.

Spoon a little of the filling, rounded at a size of half a chickpea, into the middle of each square.

Cut the dough into 3 pieces. Working one piece of dough at a time (and cover the rest of the dough pieces with a damp towel in the meantime so they don’t dry out), roll the dough as thinly as you can into a sheet, on a lightly floured surface. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into small squares (roughly 2.5cm/1in). Spoon a little of the filling, rounded at a size of half a chickpea, into the middle of each square.

 

Pinch the opposite corners to form a little a little pouch and press the seams together to seal firmly.

Bake uncovered for 10 minutes, until the manti, dumplings start to get light golden.

Bake uncovered for 10 minutes, until the manti, dumplings start to get light golden.

Repeat with the rest of the dough and place the stuffed dumplings in a greased oven proof dish, stacking them next to one another. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes, until the manti, dumplings start to get light golden. Take them out of the oven and let the manti cool. You can freeze some of this baked manti in a sealed bag for up to 3 weeks.

Pour the hot water and pinch of salt to a large pan and bring to the boil. Place the baked dumplings gently to the boiling water and simmer for about 8- 10 minutes, until they are cooked. Once cooked, drain the water and return the manti to the pan. Drizzle a little oil over them so that they don’t stick together.

While manti is cooking, prepare your sauce. Heat the oil in a wide pan and add the hot pepper paste, biber salcasi or the tomato paste. Stir in the red pepper flakes, dried mint and sumac, combine well and simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Manti; delicious Turkish dumplings with spiced ground meat, served with garlic yoghurt and spices infused olive oil.

Manti; delicious Turkish dumplings with spiced ground meat, served with garlic yoghurt and spices infused olive oil.

Arrange manti on a warm serving dish and spoon the garlic yogurt over them. Then drizzle spices infused olive oil and tomato/red pepper paste sauce over the garlic yoghurt. You can decorate with extra red pepper flakes, dried mint and sumac and serve immediately.

Afiyet olsun; May you be happy and healthy with this delicious food you eat;

Ozlem

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Baked Prawns with Vegetables and Cheese – Karides Guvec

Baked prawns with mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, garlic - Karides Guvec

Baked prawns with mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, garlic – Karides Guvec

Have you ever tried the baked prawns with tomato, mushroom, peppers, onions and garlic – Karides Guvec, in Turkey? This popular all-in-one pot dish is served in fish restaurants in Turkey as a starter hot mezze and simply irresistible. Raki, Turkish spirit, is a popular and traditional drink to accompany Karides Guvec and seafood in Turkey.

Karides guvec is traditionally cooked in earthenware pot, though ramekin dish works well too.

Karides guvec is traditionally cooked in earthenware pot, though ramekin dish works well too.

Traditionally, prawns are cooked here with plenty of vegetables in a one big earthenware pot (or in smaller individual ones), called guvec, which delivers a wonderful flavor. But no worries if you don’t have one; a ramekin dish or a glass baking dish also works very well too. The marriage of baked tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers and garlic in olive oil with prawns is heavenly; all you need is some crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices and a green salad a side. You can serve this easy baked prawns as a starter or as a main course with some plain rice aside; great for sharing with friends and family.

Karides Guvec- baked prawns with vegetables; a delicious appetizer to share with family and friends.

Karides Guvec- baked prawns with vegetables; a delicious appetizer to share with family and friends.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes                           Cooking time: 30 minutes

225gr/ 8oz fresh raw king prawns, shelled, cleaned and pat dried

225gr/ 8oz chestnut or white mushrooms, wiped cleaned, halved and sliced

1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced

3-4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 green bell pepper (or 2 sivri biber, pointy pepper, if you can get), seeded, quartered and thinly sliced

2 bay leaves (optional)

400gr/14 oz. good quality 1 can of chopped tomatoes

120gr/4 oz. grated cheddar (kasar) or mozzarella, if you prefer a milder taste

3 tbsp./45ml olive oil

2 fl oz./ ¼ cup water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

10 ml/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, Turkish pul biber or chili flakes

Handful of chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish

Slices of fresh, crusty bread or Turkish flat breads, pide to serve

Shepherd Salad of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, Coban Salata to serve

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F

Heat the olive oil in a wide, heavy pan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, peppers and mushrooms and cook for about 4-5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, season with salt (mushrooms especially require generous seasoning) black pepper and red pepper flakes, pul biber. Stir and cook over medium heat for another 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaves and ¼ cups water, combine well. Simmer over medium to low heat for about 10 minutes, until you get a nice chunky sauce. Check the seasoning of your sauce and add more salt or spices to your taste.

You can bake prawns with  the vegetable sauce in a one big pot or in individual dishes.

You can bake prawns with the vegetable sauce in a one big pot or in individual dishes.

Stir in the fresh, raw prawns to the sauce and mix well. Spoon this mixture into individual or a one big earthenware pot or ramekin dish or any baking dish you have. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked through and the cheese is nicely golden brown on top.

Garnish with chopped parsley over the top and serve hot with slices of crusty bread or Turkish flat breads, pide by the side. Refreshing Shepherd’s Salad of sliced onions, cucumbers and tomatoes, Coban Salata, complements this dish beautifully.

 Karides Guvec; Baked prawns with vegetables and cheese, ready to enjoy!

Karides Guvec; Baked prawns with vegetables and cheese, ready to enjoy!

 

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Kayseri Style Layers of Flat Breads with Gound Meat and Vegetable, Yaglama

One of my readers wrote recently; she visited Kayseri, in Central Anatolia and greatly enjoyed this local specialty called Kayseri Usulu Yaglama; Layers of flat bread with a scrumptious ground meat and vegetable topping between each layer. She wanted to recreate this regional specialty at home and asked the recipe from me. And I am so glad she did.

Kayseri Style Layers of Flat Breads with Ground Meat and Vegetables Topping; Kayseri Usulu Yaglama

Kayseri Style Layers of Flat Breads with Ground Meat and Vegetable Topping; Kayseri Usulu Yaglama

Kayseri is truly a foodies’ heaven, nestled in Central Anatolia. Kayseri is the home of the famous manti, Turkish ravioli (tiny stuffed pastry with meat filling), Turkish cured beef, Pastrami, Pastirma, spicy Turkish cured sausage, Sucuk and many more. I have been in touch with the Turkish Culinary Historian Ms. Nevin Halici recently; Nevin Hanim says, “Yaglama is as important as Manti (Turkish ravioli) in Kayseri Cuisine”.  Kayseri also has a rich historic heritage dating back to c. 3000 BCE. I was in Kayseri a few years ago during one of my Culinary tours; the city is a mesmerizing historical settlement and the local cuisine is heavenly, so worth the trip. Kayseri also makes a great stop en route to the fascinating Cappadocia .

IMG_1620

Turkish flat breads form a very important part of the culinary history.

Kayseri Usulu Yaglama makes use of the flat breads that had been a part of Turkish cuisine since the 6th century. Turkish Nomads had been making flat breads while they were in Central Asia; they made their way to today’s Turkey through the centuries and haven’t stopped making these flatbreads since then! When I was a child, our neighbor (originally from Kayseri) used to make this dish and would kindly share with us (sharing food between neighbors is still a very much alive tradition at home, which I love). My mother then learned how to make it from her neighbor and we greatly enjoyed this dish during my childhood.

Layers of deliciousness; Kayseri Usulu Yaglama; layers of flat bread with ground meat sauce

Layers of deliciousness; Kayseri Usulu Yaglama; layers of flat bread with ground meat sauce

This lovely dish consists of layering the flat breads, Sebit, as they are called in Kayseri, with the filling of cooked ground meat, onions and tomatoes between each layer.  Once stacked on top of another, it is cut in four pieces and served with garlic yoghurt. It makes a wonderful party food to share with friends and family. My children absolutely loved it and they helped making the flat breads; a great way to get the children interested in food preparation and also passing on traditions and recipes.  My son said’ “It is a bit like stacked lahmacun, though it is lighter and there are more of them!” True, it looks a bit like lahmacun, though the filling and the base flat breads are cooked separately.

Kayseri Usulu Yaglama; layers of flat bread with delicious ground meat sauce, great for sharing!

Kayseri Usulu Yaglama; layers of flat bread with delicious ground meat sauce, great for sharing!

The original recipe calls for the Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi; this paste will add a lot of flavor to the sauce if you prefer to add. You can make it yourself with my recipe or Middle Eastern stores or Turkish online stores like Tulumba  or Best Turkish Food carry it. This is a great dish to enjoy for the whole family and friends;  it takes a bit of time but worth every effort. You can also use these flat breads to enjoy delicious mezzes like this Walnut and red pepper paste dip.

Serves 4 -6 generously (makes 11 flatbreads of about 23cm/9” each)

For the dough:

460 gr/1 lb./4 cups plain flour

7gr/2tsp. dry yeast

3 tbsp./45 ml olive oil

2 tsp./10 ml sea salt

300ml/10 fl oz. warm water

For the meat & vegetables sauce:

500gr/1lb 2 oz. ground beef

30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil

2 large onions, finely chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 medium tomato, finely chopped

15 ml/ 1 tbsp. concentrated tomato puree

10 ml/ 2 tsp. Turkish hot pepper paste (optional)

300 ml/12 fl. Oz/ 1 ½ cup water

Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Plain or garlic yoghurt to serve

Leave the dough to rest and rise for 45 minutes.

Leave the dough to rest and rise for 45 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and yeast and mix well. Stir in the olive oil and warm water and knead into a soft dough by hand (if it’s sticky, you may need a little extra flour to shape the dough). My mother says, “the dough needs to be of ear lop softness” – kulak memesi kivaminda olacak – As  expected, we also have a saying for the consistency of the dough in Turkish 🙂 Cover the dough with a dish cloth and leave to rest and rise at a warm spot for 45 minutes or until it doubles the size.

Ground meat and vegetables filling for the yaglama; make sure there is generous liquid in it.

Ground meat and vegetables filling for the yaglama; make sure there is generous liquid in it.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Stir in the onions and garlic, cook until soft for a few minutes. Add the ground beef and cook for 2-3 minutes, mixing well. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato and red pepper paste (if using) and combine well. Add the water and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover, turn the heat to medium to low and cook for about 30 minutes. Once all is cooked, stir in the chopped parsley, give them all a good mix and turn the heat off (at this stage you can also check the seasoning to your taste). The filling needs to  have quite  a bit of liquid to cover the flat breads so add a little more water if needed.

). On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a thin, round circles of about 23cm -9” in diameter.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a thin, round circles of about 23cm -9” in diameter.

Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 11 pieces and roll into 11 small balls (each about a size of a small tangerine). On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a thin, round circles of about 23cm -9” in diameter. Dust each of these circles with flour so they don’t stick together and keep them covered with a damp towel so that they won’t dry out.

Cook the flat breads on a wide non-stick pan or griddle.

Cook the flat breads on a wide non-stick pan or griddle.

Cook the flat breads on a wide non-stick pan or griddle, flipping over them as they begin to go brown and buckle. Pile them on a plate.

spread a thin layer of the ground meat Spread a thin layer of sauce over the flat bread and place and place another flat bread on top.

Spread a thin layer of the ground meat sauce over the flat bread and place and place another flat bread on top.

Now it is time to assemble the dish. Place a flat bread on a wide, circle serving dish and spread a thin layer of the ground meat sauce over. Then place another flat bread on top and spread the sauce again; continue this layering until all the flat breads are finished with the remaining of the sauce spread at top.

Cut the Yaglama all the way through into 4 equal pieces and enjoy!

Cut the Yaglama all the way through into 4 equal pieces and enjoy!

Cut the Yaglama all the way through into 4 equal pieces, and serve immediately. A few spoonfuls of garlic yoghurt goes very well with this dish. (For garlic yoghurt; simply crush and finely chop a clove of garlic into a cup of plain yoghurt and season with salt to your taste).

Delicious, melt-in-the-mouth Yaglama, Kayseri Style.

Delicious, melt-in-the-mouth Yaglama, Kayseri Style.

 Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

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