The world is drooling over dumplings, and we are no different. India’s proximity to China, Nepal and Tibet has influenced our street food and fine dining fare to a great extent. Every fortnight, we hear of a new oriental restaurant “making waves”, and if they have enough exciting dumplings on the menu, they have my attention. For the longest time growing up, I associated dumplings with Asia. But the truth is they aren’t exclusive to the orient. Dumplings, by definition, are just pieces of dough that are wrapped around a sweet or savoury filling that is either steamed, fried, or boiled. Many variations of dumplings around the world in further west have convinced us that dumplings have been around for centuries and are here to stay.  

Very recently, I tried the Turkish Manti. The dumpling delicacy is popular in the South Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Balkans and even parts of Russia and post-Soviet countries, where it reached via the people of Central Asian republics. 

These dumplings mainly comprise minced lamb or spiced meat mixture. The wrapper of the dough is kept very thin, and these dumplings are either steamed or boiled. Rings a bell? Yes, they are indeed very similar to Chinese jiaozi, bao, Korean Mandu, Mongolian buzz and Tibetan momo. 

The size of the dumplings and the way they are served in different locations are significant markers that often differentiate these dumplings from one another. But is there a common link between the dumplings of east and west? It is hard to say, simply because it is tough to trace dumplings' origin since they go so far back in history. 

The Journey Of The Turkish Manti

According to experts, the recipe was carried across Central Asia along the silk route to Anatolia by Turkic and Mongol horseback riders on the move. They would often take frozen and dried manti boiled over the campfire and consume them as a quick snack. The Turkic-speaking people who migrated to neighbouring states brought the dumplings to Anatolia. The Kayseri region primarily, where many Tatars settled down, became renowned for its Turkish Manti. Interestingly, the Korean Mandu also arrived in Korea via the Mongols in the 14th century. Therefore, dumplings pretty much found their place on your plate whether you were in the east or west during the medieval era. 

The Turkish Manti that I had, comprised of a minced mutton filling. It was served with a thin, creamy yoghurt sauce, making the treat all the more wholesome and memorable. In Afghanistan, too, people like to east Manti with yoghurt. The yoghurt-based sauce is made with salted yoghurt, pressed garlic, lemon and fresh mint. 

For you, we have handpicked the easiest recipe of Lamb Manti. Try it at home and let us know how you liked it.