It started as a means to find inspirational ways of using my spices such as Advieh, Baharat, Sumac, Za'atar and ingredients such as Maftoul and Freekeh, but like any curious cook I had been lured and enticed by other recipes. Some of you will have already seen my Iranian Pearl Barley Soup known as Ash-e Jo or Ash-e-Jow, Ghorme Sabzi, Etsis Turlu and more recently a Syrian Mezze.
It was my first time making Turkish Manti or Mantu which are almond shaped dumplings filled with spicy oniony minced meat, of course my version is made with vegan/vegetarian soy mincemeat. However, I have since learned that you can also use mashed chickpeas spiced with chilli flakes and cumin as a delicious filling too and the dumplings do not necessarily have to be almond shaped either.
Manti is a derivation of the word mantu which means dumpling. Please see here to read and learn more about Manti or Mantu dumplings and its popularity in other countries including Armenia and Russia.
Apparently making Mantu dumplings from scratch is a labour of love as you make the dough from scratch and then stuff it with the filling, however a Turkish woman told me that sometimes out of convenience she had used wonton or dumpling wrappers. I guess its the way some people from the Indian subcontinent and diaspora have started using filo pastry for samosa. So I cheated as I had some wonton dumpling wrappers in the freezer. I have to admit, it looks pretty, but I have a feeling this dish would have been better with homemade dough. I learn for next time as I know this is by no way authentic.
On tasting it reminded me a little of wonton pot stickers - see here. One part steamed and the crispy, but open - unsealed - so that you could see the filling. Its also smothered in homemade tomato sauce, the kind you would use for lasagne - again my version is by no mean authentic.
I'd make this again, with perhaps another filling like vegetables and serve it with some greens as well as make the pastry from scratch.
I think this recipe is suitable for vegans, but I did not check if the wonton wrappers were made with egg, so cannot say for definite...sorry.