Manti / Mantı

I remember eating mantı (pronounced maantuh) when I was really little while on holiday visiting family in Turkey, watching as hundreds of teeny tiny parcels of yumminess were origamied into existence, kind of like the smallest ravioli you can imagine. And yes, that’s an i without a dot, one of the many vowels in the Turkish language (find it on a macbook keyboard using option+shift+b, niche keyboard shortcut fans). What I’ve done here is kind of deconstruct it in a Masterchef styleee, so we can have all of the flavour, but without the hours of work because this can be whipped up in a jiffy. Think of it as a kind of minted lamb ragu. Serves 4.

Ingredients

500g pasta of choice

A slurp of olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

500g minced lamb (or use beef)

4 heaped tbsp tomato purée

1 tbsp dried mint

2 tsp sumac

1 tsp pul biber dried Turkish pepper flakes

Plenty of salt and pepper

Plain yogurt to serve

Fresh mint as a garnish

Method

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in a large frying pan with a slurp of olive oil until translucent and softening, a minimum of 5 minutes.
  2. While this is happening, put your pasta on to boil in plenty of salted water.
  3. Crumble in the meat, and continue to fry for few more minutes until browned.
  4. Stir in the tomato puree, dried mint, sumac and pul biber along with plenty of salt and pepper, adding in a ladleful of the water from the pasta pot to loosen the sauce a little.
  5. When the pasta is ready, reserve a little more of the cooking water in case you need it, then drain and stir the pasta through the sauce, adding more of the pasta water if you feel it needs it.
  6. Serve with plenty of yogurt, fresh chopped mint, plus more sumac and pul biber. You can never have too much of any of those things in my opinion.

Notes: If you can get hold of Turkish red pepper paste then use that instead of tomato puree, and use a pinch of chilli flakes if you haven’t got pul biber – chilli flakes are much much hotter so don’t go in heavy handed or you’ll regret it instantly.

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