Turkish Mantı* are one of the most delicious things I can imagine putting in my mouth. Not only does almost everything taste better wrapped in dough, but dumplings, as a part of the cuisine of most cultures, is a great connector of people. Start with the more obvious, (ravioli, shumai, pierogi, samosas), and I’m sure you can name at least an additional five types of mouth-watering dumplings.
This take on Yayla Çorbası (Yogurt Soup), combining my love for dumplings, yogurt, and bright flavors, is excellent both in winter and summer seasons, alike. The recipe below is adapted from my Turkish friend, Fikret. As summer approaches, I hope to offer more inspired Turkish recipes as Turkish food is a natural partner for a delicious summer.
1 cup Mantı or small dumplings (e.g., mini meat tortellini)
4 cups of water
2 cups of plain full-fat yogurt
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of dried Turkish mint (often marketed as Moroccan Mint in the U.S.)
1 tbsp dried smoked pepper (e.g., paprika)
Cook Pasta: In a large pot, bring the water to a boil and cook your pasta for the time recommended on the package. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook until desired tenderness. If you like your soup to be thicker, reduce the amount of water.
Blend Yogurt Mixture: In a large bowl on the side, whisk the egg, yogurt, and flour.** Take a bit of water from the pot and temper it into the yogurt mixture, slowly, until you have about a cup of water added.
Infuse Oil with Herbs: In a small pan, bring olive oil to a low heat and add in the dried mint and pepper. Cook for about a minute and remove from heat.
Final step: Once the pasta is cooked, reduce to low and whisk in the tempered yogurt mixture slowly. Continue stirring until mixture is fully incorporated. Then, whisk in the herbed oil, salt to taste and serve.
*Mantı is spelled with a dotless “i” and is pronounced like the “i” in “nation.”
**Adding flour to yogurt sauces helps prevent the yogurt from curdling. A general rule of thumb is 1 tbsp of any type of flour (e.g., wheat, chickpea, etc.) per cup of full-fat yogurt.