Shapes of Tastiness: Mantı from all around the World
Have you ever thought that “Mantı” is only belonged to Anatolia, especially to Turkey? Well, if yes, then keep reading! Mantı is a type of dumpling, which is a very popular dish from all around the world, from China to Anatolia, and from East to West.
Different types of dumplings are known by a variety of names: Pelmeni in Russian, Gyoza in Japanese, Manti in Greek, Mandu in Korean, Buuz in Mongolian… They differ in form, size and types of fillings. A ball of dough filled with delicious meaty, veggie or cheesy mixture, whether fried, boiled or baked, but all delicious!
According to previously conducted research, Mantı has its origins in Central Asia and was brought to Anatolia by the Turkish speaking ethnic groups and then spread all over the world. The fact that the dish is called Mandu in Korean cuisine and Mantı in Anatolia support the argument that the dish has travelled from Asia to Anatolia.
The way dumplings are served and made is different in all regions. For most of us, the proper way of eating mantı is with yoghurt and butter. In Turkish cuisine, some famous mantı dishes are Kayseri and Sinop styles of mantı. Sinop mantı is traditionally served with walnuts which is surprisingly a delicious combination!
Kayseri mantı is rolled out as a thin pasta dough, which is then filled with spiced beef or lamb and onion. It is made of really tiny pieces of dumplings and served with yoghurt, butter and red pepper flakes. According to the customs, married women used to show their skills by making the dumplings as small as possible to receive admiration of their elders and families.
While Turkish people try to fit 40 individual dumplings in one spoon, Chinese dumplings are quite big and thick and they are served with dipping sauce.
We can see the traces of mantı in European cuisines as well. Italian ravioli and tortellini are mantı-like pasta dough filled with a combination of vegetarian or meat filling. Gnocchi is made of delicious Italian potatoes. While ravioli and tortellini are preferably served with different sauces, gnocchi is usually eaten with butter and sage. It is very similar to German dumplings which are also made of potatoes. You can either boil or fry gnocchi according to your preference!
The type of mantı made in Cyprus is very similar to Italian ravioli. It is filled with ricotta cheese and mint which is served with their famous Cypriot cheese, halloumi!
The flavours of mantı are always reminiscent of the comfort of a cosy family home on a cold winter night. Shaping the dough requires a considerable level of hand skill. Making mantı is one of the most affectionate ways to show your love and display your skills to your loved ones. At the end of the day, is this just a coincidence that stuffed dough dumplings are everywhere, or is there a reason and explanation as to why these delicious morsels are beloved by many culture around the globe? We may never know the answer, but we can appreciate the mouth-watering flavours of the mantı!