Kayseri-Style Meat-Filled Dumplings With Garlic Yogurt

Turkish meat-filled dumpling
 © OZMedia - Fotolia.com

If you're planning a trip to Turkey, you must put meat-filled dumplings topped with garlic yogurt, or 'mantı' (mahn-TUH'), on your to-eat list. If you've already been to Turkey, you may have tried this classic dish that's loved by adults and kids alike.

There are many ways to prepare 'mantı.' This ancient dish has a lot of history behind it. Did you know that versions 'mantı" are found all throughout central Asia?

The one enjoyed most in Turkey is 'Kayseri mantısı,' that is, 'mantı' from the Anatolian city of Kayseri. It's known for the tiny size of the dumplings and a tangy tomato sauce drizzled over the garlic yogurt.

Try this recipe for 'Kayseri mantısı' at home for a taste of Turkish regional cuisine and a new twist on Italian-style ravioli. All you need is a pasta machine and a rolling pin. Or, go the easier route and purchase pre-made wonton wrappers.

For the dough:

  • 1 package fresh wonton wrappers


  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs

For the filling:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef, or a mix of ground beef and lamb
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped 
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. cumin powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp. dried mint (optional)
  • ½ tsp. sweet paprika or ground cayenne pepper (optional)

For the broth:

  • 4 cups water plus 1 tsp. salt, or beef bouillon
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. sweet pepper paste (optional)

    For the sauces:


    1. To make the dough yourself, slowly mix together the flour, eggs, and salt with a fork. Slowly knead in enough water to make a firm, uniform dough. Roll it out into thin sheets with a rolling pin on a floured surface, or use a pasta machine to make sheets of dough. If you're using wonton wrappers, take them out of the refrigerator and lay them out on a clean surface until they reach room temperature and soften.
    1. Grate the onion finely and squeeze out the extra liquid in a fine wire strainer. Put the ground meat and spices together with the onion in a large bowl and knead them together for several minutes. Classic 'mantı' calls for salt and black pepper, and sometimes parsley, but you can add other spices, too. Experiment and find what you like best.
    2. Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut the lasagna sheets or wonton wrappers into small squares. You can start with squares about the size of postage stamps. Place a piece of the filling about the size of a chickpea in the center of each square.
    3. Starting with the first square, use your fingers to pinch together two opposite corners in the center over the filling. Then, pinch together the other two corners at the center. Your finished dumpling should have a star pattern with all the corners pinched together at the center. Repeat this will all the squares.
    4. In a large saucepan, combine four cups of water with 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. If you're using beef broth, be careful to check the salt content first. You may not need extra salt. You can also add 1 tablespoon each of tomato paste and sweet pepper paste to the broth if you wish.
    5. Add the dumplings to the broth and let them cook for several minutes. Cooked 'mantı' will usually float to the top, but test one before you decide. The dumplings should be tender but still hold together when cooked.
    1. While the dumplings cook, prepare your sauces. For the yogurt sauce, crush the garlic cloves and whisk them into the yogurt with a wire whisk until creamy. For the tomato sauce, melt the butter in a small pan, add the tomato paste, salt, and water and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes.
    2. Remove the cooked dumplings from the broth with a long-handled strainer, and put them in serving bowls. Add a few spoons of the broth to each bowl. First, top each bowl with a generous amount of garlic yogurt. Finally, drizzle each bowl with a few spoons of the tomato sauce.If desired, garnish with mint, oregano, sumac and hot pepper flakes.