Manti (dumpling)

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Mantu in a steamer.jpg
Manti (or Mantu) in a steamer before cooking
Place of originTurkic Countries
CreatorTurkic people
Main ingredientsSpiced meat (lamb or ground beef)
Cookbook:Manti  Manti
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For other uses, see Manti (disambiguation).
For the Romanian village of Manţu, see Tătărăni.
Mantu in a steamer.jpg
Manti (or Mantu) in a steamer before cooking
Place of originTurkic Countries
CreatorTurkic people
Main ingredientsSpiced meat (lamb or ground beef)
Cookbook:Manti  Manti

Manti or Mantu (Turkish: mantı; Kazakh: мәнті; Uzbek: manti; Kyrgyz: мантуу; Pashto, Persian, Arabic: منتو‎; Armenian: մանթի) are dumplings popular in most Turkic cuisines, as well as in the Hejaz and Caucasian, Central Asian, and Chinese Islamic cuisines. It is closely resembling the Korean mandu, Chinese baozi, Mongolian buuz, Japanese nikuman, and the Nepali momo. Manti are also popular throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States, where the dish spread from the Central Asian republics. Manti dumplings typically consist of a spiced meat mixture, usually lamb or ground beef, in a dough wrapper, either boiled or steamed. 'Manti' indicates either singular or plural.


Uyghur kawa manta filled with pumpkin and minced lamb

Manti is believed to be originated by Uyghur Turks living in China as mantou,[1] and was carried across Central Asia to Anatolia by migrating Mongol peoples in the Chingizid-Timurid periods.[2] In particular, according to some researchers, manti first reached Cilician Armenia as a result of the cultural interaction between Armenians and Mongols during their alliance in the 13th century.[3] According to Holly Chase, "Turkic and Mongol horsemen on the move are supposed to have carried frozen or dried manti, which could be quickly boiled over a camp-fire".[4] In Turkey, it is also called Tatar böregi (Tatar bureks), which indicates its relation to nomadic peoples. Korean mandu is also said to have arrived in Korea through the Mongols in the 14th century.[5] However, some researchers do not discount the possibility that manti may have originated in the Middle East and spread eastward to China and Korea through the Silk Road.[6]

In Central Asian cuisines[edit]

Central Asian manti in a steamer
Uzbek manti

Manti in Central Asian cuisines are usually of rather big size. They are steamed in a multi-level metal steamer called mantovarka, mantyshnitsa (Russian terms for manti cooker), manti-kazan or manti-kaskan (manti pot). It consists of layered pots with holes, that are placed over a boiling stock and water.

In Kazakh cuisine, the manti filling is normally ground lamb (sometimes beef or horse meat), spiced with black pepper, sometimes with the addition of chopped pumpkin or squash. This is considered to be a traditional Uyghur recipe. Manti are served topped with butter, sour cream, or onion (or garlic) sauce. When sold as street food in Kazakhstan, manti are typically presented sprinkled with hot red pepper powder.

In Uzbek, Tajik, and Kyrgyz cuisines, manti are usually made of one (or a combination) of the following ingredients: lamb, beef, potato, or pumpkin, with fat often added to meat manti. Steaming, frying and boiling are all common. Manti are usually topped with butter and served with sour cream, tomato sauce, or fresh onion rings (sprinkled with vinegar and black pepper). A sauce made by mixing vinegar and chilli powder is also common. In Uzbekistan manti are also called kaskoni.[7]

The same style of cooking manti is traditional for Tatar, Bashkir and other cuisines of the Turkic peoples living in the vast area from Idel-Ural to the Far East. It is nowadays widespread throughout Russia and other CIS countries.

In Afghan cuisine[edit]

Afghan dish of mantu

In Afghan cuisine, the mantu are filled with beef or lamb mixed with minced onions and spices, steamed and then topped with a very typical sauce (seer moss, lit. "garlic yogurt") of yogurt, dried or fresh mint, lemon juice, and minced or pressed garlic. The mantu are also typically topped with a very small amount of tomato-based sauce which can include split peas, red kidney beans, and/or some sauteed ground meat. The amount of yogurt sauce is typically much greater than the tomato sauce; the tomato sauce is meant to be dotted on top - not covering the dish.[8] Chatney, a spicy green or red pepper condiment sauce, may be sprinkled on top. Many Afghans also like to serve mantu with a carrot qorma/stew instead of a tomato-based sauce.[8]

In Saudi cuisine[edit]

Mantu (Arabic: منتو‎) is part of the traditional cuisine of the urban areas of Hejaz (western Saudi Arabia) which is used to receiving Muslim immigration from Central Asia and elsewhere and incorporating elements of immigrant cultures into the local cuisine. Today, mantu is a common meal in cities like Jeddah and Mecca. A Saudi variation in the form of a casserole also exists and is called Mantu Kaddab (Arabic: منتو كذاب‎, literally, "lying manti," roughly meaning Faux Manti).

In Armenian and Turkish cuisines[edit]

Armenian manti with sour cream
Turkish dish of manti

In contrast to the Central Asian varieties, manti in Anatolia and Transcaucasia are usually boiled or baked rather than steamed and tend to be small in size. A mid-15th-century Ottoman recipe has survived, with the manti filled with pounded lamb and crushed chickpeas, steamed, and served topped with yogurt mixed with crushed garlic and sprinkled with sumac.[9] In modern Turkish cuisine, manti are typically served topped with yogurt and garlic, and spiced with red pepper powder and melted butter, and topped with ground sumac and/or dried mint by the consumer.

Similarly, the Armenian manti are usually served with yogurt (matzoon) or sour cream (ttvaser) and garlic, accompanied by clear soup (mantapour). Manti are more common among western (Cilician) Armenians, while among eastern Armenians, Georgians and Azerbaijanis, similar dumplings called khinkali are more prevalent.

Although there are many different variations of manti in terms of shape and way of serving, the most praised type of Turkish manti is known as Kayseri mantisi, originally from Kayseri, an Anatolian city. Kayseri mantisi is tiny and served with yogurt, oil (caramelized with tomato paste), and seasonings. It can also be served with the water it was boiled in, and often in Kayseri it is consumed as a soup prior to the main dish. In 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. Manti may be made from shredded meat of quail, chicken or goose in some regions of Turkey, while 'boş mantı' ('empty dumpling') lack filling entirely.

Similarly small dumplings are also found in other Turkic cuisines but they are not considered to be a type of manti. Examples are dushbara in Azerbaijani cuisine and chuchvara in Uzbek cuisine.

In Bosnian cuisine[edit]

In Bosnian cuisine, name used is "klepe". These are made of minced meat with onions. It is served in a sauce consisting of yogurt and garlic. There is also a separate dish named "mantije" which is made of the same ingredients, but the pastry balls are put together with no free space in between and baked. After the baking yogurt is poured on top. This second type is considered to be a pita or börek rather than manti, and is primarily made in the region of Sandžak.


  1. ^ More Than Just Another Dumpling, The School of Russian and Asian Studies, retrieved in Jan. 25, 2014
  2. ^ Fragner, Bert (2000). "From the Caucasus to the Roof of the World: a culinary adventure". In Sami Zubaida & Richard Tapper. A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (2nd ed.). London & New York: Tauris Parke Paperbacks. p. 60. ISBN 1-86064-603-4. 
  3. ^ Irina Petrosian, David Underwood, Armenian Food: Fact, Fiction & Folklore., 2006. ISBN 1-4116-9865-7
  4. ^ Chase, Holly (2000). "The Meyhane or McDonalds? Changes in eating habits and the evolution of fast food in Istanbul". In Sami Zubaida & Richard Tapper. A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (2nd ed.). London & New York: Tauris Parke Paperbacks. p. 81. ISBN 1-86064-603-4. 
  5. ^ (Korean) Mandu at Doosan Encyclopedia
  6. ^ (Korean) Mandu, Hankook Ilbo, 2009-01-21
  7. ^ Uzbekistan Country Study Guide Volume 1 Strategic Information and Developments. Int'l Business Publications. 2013. pp. 56–57. ISBN 1438775881. 
  8. ^ a b Saberi, Helen (2000). "Pasta & Noodle Dishes". Afghan Food & Cookery: Noshe Djan. Hippocrene Books. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-7818-0807-1. 
  9. ^ (French) Yerasimos, Stéphane (2001). "Recettes". Á la table du Grand Turc (1st ed.). Arles, France: Actes Sud. pp. 114–115. ISBN 2-7427-3443-0.