Category: Turkey


Turkish ravioli – Manti

I love, love, love manti! It’s like a more delicious version of ravioli. I found it’s extremely difficult to find in Sydney (and impossible in Eastern Europe) so I decided to make my own from scratch. Needless to say I am not the best chef and my kitchen wasn’t very well equipped where I decided to cook it, but it still turned out pretty delicious!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon water, or as needed
  • 2 onions, peeled
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 (8 ounce) container plain yogurt

Directions

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and water, mixing well with your hands. Add more water, if needed, to form a soft dough. Cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Shred the onions and place them in a colander or sieve set over a bowl; drain the juice and discard. Combine the onion, ground beef, salt, and pepper; mix the meat well with a spoon until mashed.
  3. Divide the dough into two portions and lightly flour a work surface. Keep one piece of dough covered while you roll out the second portion into a rectangle, rolling the dough as thin as you can. Cut the rectangle into 2-inch squares with a knife or pastry wheel.
  4. Place about 2 teaspoons of the meat filling in the center of each square. Seal the dumplings by gathering the edges of the dough and pinching them together at the top to form a bundle. Transfer the finished manti to a floured plate, and sprinkle more flour over the manti to prevent sticking. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
  5. Heat the oil and red pepper flakes in a small skillet over low heat just until the pepper flakes have started to color the oil; don’t let them burn. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Stir the minced garlic into the yogurt and set aside.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook the manti until the filling is no longer pink, and the dough is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well. Divide the manti among four plates. Spoon the yogurt sauce over the manti and drizzle each serving with the hot pepper oil.

I learned how to make this yogurt soup when I was in Turkey. It’s a hot soup, so yes, you do cook the yogurt. When I first heard this I balked and was a bit wary about trying it (I’m not a fan of yogurt at the best of times), but the soup was so delicious that I just couldn’t get enough of it. Normally it’s only a first course, but I can eat it as an entire meal I eat so much. I believe it’s sort of their version of chicken soup if you get sick. Even if you are wary about it or don’t like yogurt, I highly recommend giving it a go. I obtained this recipe from Almost Turkish so can’t take any credit for it. She has a ton of amazing recipe’s so I recommend taking a look at her blog! My input is in pink.

1/4 cup rice
5 cups of water (if you wish you can use half chicken stock, half water) If I can’t find chicken stock I use chicken stock cubes. I usually put in 3 or 4 (a bit excessive maybe, but I find it delicious).
2 cups of plain yogurt
1 egg
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp dried mint or tarragon
1 tsp salt

-Boil rice in 5 cups of water with salt until (very) soft.
-In a bowl, beat the egg and flour well, and then add yogurt and mix. With 1-2 tbsp water lighten up this mixture.
-Put the yogurt mix in a pot and start cooking on very low. It’s important that you start with low heat, otherwise yogurt would curdle. Give yogurt some time to get used to heat. Cook on low heat for approximately 15 minutes and keep stirring.
-Slowly pour in rice along with water into the soup. Keep stirring. First let it boil on medium and then turn it down and cook for another 10 minutes.
-Heat butter in a pan. Once it sizzles, add mint flakes and stir for 20-30 seconds (don’t let it burn). Then, pour it into soup.

Something to tide you all over until I get my Belarus blogs posted in the very near future (I promise). It will be interesting to see the differences between this post now and in a years time.

A: Age you went on your first international trip: I first travelled to Australia when I was 16 for a soccer (football) tournament. I fell in love with Sydney and never looked back.

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: Hmmmmm, this is a tough one. I’m a big fan of microbrews and have had some of the most excellent beers from microbreweries in Australia and the US (specifically the Rocky Mountains). That being said, I haven’t travelled to Germany yet.

C: Cuisine (favorite): As much as I love the variety of cuisine the world has to offer and it’s all wonderful in its own way, I’d have to say my favourite is Cajun/Creole food down in New Orleans. Also, my mum’s fried chicken. But I only get that when I’m not travelling.

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why: My ultimate favourite is Australia, specifically the Sydney Opera House, but as I live there I don’t think it counts. So other than Australia my favourite so far is Turkey. No real specific place in Turkey, I’ve loved it all so far (only travelled western and central Turkey). They have such a beautiful culture, wonderful people, amazing food and there is soooooo much history. You could live your entire life there and you’d never see it all.

My least favourite? Los Angeles, California. It’s a wretched, polluted, dangerous city (I’m half shocked it’s in a first world country) which has very little to offer society whatsoever. It could fall off into the ocean and I’d probably throw a party.

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”: Again, I’d have to say watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks from just in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but I’m a Sydney-sider so I suppose it doesn’t count. I have a lot of things that have made me say “wow”, but not so much events I suppose.

F: Favorite mode of transportation: Trains hands down. I can lay down and sleep on them, I don’t get sick on them and I don’t have to worry about checking and picking up my luggage. Plus it’s a great way to see the countryside.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling: Sitting outside a little street-side café or restaurant, people watching, drinking in the environment and culture and thinking about all that I’ve managed to accomplish so far and what I am going to accomplish in the future.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to: Any desert area in the American Southwest. We stopped in Phoenix when I was travelling with a friend back in 2001 and it was a whopping 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 Celcius). You’re sandals would literally start to melt as you walked across asphalt.

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where: Usually any decent restaurant in the US will give you great service. In Kamyanyuki Hotel at Belevezhskaya Pushcha National Park in Belarus the staff went out of their way to help me out, knowing that I didn’t speak Russian (and they didn’t speak English). Rather than shrug and attempt to use sign language when I needed something they would call up a member of staff who spoke some English to translate (even at 11pm) and they also got an English translator to come in one day to show me around and help me out (free of charge).

J: Journey that took the longest: Anytime I fly to or from Australia. It’s guaranteed to take at least 24 hours in transit.

K: Keepsake from your travels: I like to collect flag patches, postcards and shot glasses from every country I visit. Unfortunately, I do visit dry countries, so the shot glasses aren’t always possible.

L: Let-down sight, why and where: I just left Odessa, Ukraine and one of the points of interest that they like to push is the allegedly famous Potemkin Steps, well known from what is apparently one of the most influential films of all time (I’ve never heard of it) Battleship Potemkin. It’s just a big set of stairs. I’ve seen cooler stairs.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel: Before I can remember. I’ve always wanted to travel. I blame my dad’s enormous collection of National Geographic magazines that I’ve been reading since I could read.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: Oh, I dunno. I stay in a lot of nice hotels, but they tend to just be the chain ones. The Hilton, Shangri-La, Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, Mantra up at the Gold Coast. I’m not terribly picky about my hotels so I don’t go out of my way to stay in nice ones usually.

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?: Shoe figurines, models, and shoe art. I also have a thing for taking pictures of staircases. I really don’t know where that came from either as I hate going up and down them.

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where: I have about a million and one stamps from passing in and out of Australia a dozen or so times in the past 6 years. I also have stamps from the UAE, Turkey, EU (into Germany, out of Lithuania, back into Lithuania, out of Poland), Belarus, Ukraine, US and New Zealand. Oddly enough, I’m currently in Moldova and they didn’t stamp my passport. Not sure if I should be concerned about that.

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: Any of the “Australia’s Largest” stuff. The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, the world’s largest rocking horse down near Adelaide, the worlds largest Prawn somewhere on the New England highway going up to Nimbin…you get the idea.

R: Recommended sight, event or experience: Event/Experience- New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney, Australia, the Sydney Opera House (after seeing the horrendous structures that are opera houses in a lot of Eastern Europe, I really miss the splendour that is the SOH). Sight- As morbid and depressing as they are, WWII museums. They are touching, humbling and horrifying all at the same time and it’s important to be reminded about history and what can happen so that we don’t repeat.

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: Amazing food. Luckily, most of the world’s best food is super cheap so I don’t have to worry about it though.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done: I was at a conference in Dubai and one night we did a four wheel drive ride through the desert sand dunes and had a dinner/dance party at a model Bedouin camp in the middle of the desert. Also being forced to stop the car, double back and take photos of a bunch of kangaroo’s when my mum was visiting Australia the first time.

U: Unforgettable travel memory: Sitting at the water’s edge in Assos, Turkey at the resort we were staying at with the sun setting, having a drink and watching the lights come on in the villages on the Greek island across the water.

V: Visas, how many and for where? 3- Australia (student and travellers visa), Turkey and Belarus

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where? Hunter Valley Lake’s Folly and Pepper Tree Estate wines are the best I’ve had by far. Moldova also has surprisingly amazing wines. It’s about the only thing the country produces.

X: eXcellent view and from where?: Anywhere along the Turkish coastline. Also, any hotel with a water’s view balcony in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The desolation of the deserted coastline along the Curonian Spit, Lithuania on a chilly, rainy day in June was also a beautiful view for my personal preferences.

Y: Years spent traveling?:  We’ve been travelling around the US since I was a very young kid, but I’ve been travelling internationally off and on for 8 years now.

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?:  Australians and Brits are sports mad about every sport and can turn into quite the hooligans after a match. From personal experience though, the entire world is crazy mad about football (soccer) and you can relate to and make friends with anyone in the world by bringing up the topic.