Afghan Mantu Recipe (Beef Dumplings)

3.4 stars from 70 ratings of Afghan Mantu

Afghan Mantu

Afghan mantu is one of the most popular dishes from Afghanistan. It is a meat (usually beef or lamb) stuffed dumpling that is steamed in a multilayer steamer. Mantu is served on special occasions and often during large gatherings. In Afghanistan, cooked mantu is often sold at markets and busy streets, much like hotdog stands. Mantu can be served as both a main or side dish.

Afghan mantu dates back to the time of the Turkic and Mongol horsemen of Central Asia. It is believed that the horsemen carried frozen mantu during the cold winters while traveling long distances and then boiled them over camp fires for supper.

Afghan mantu is served with chaka (which consists of drained yogurt, minced garlic, lemon, salt) and a variety of sauces and toppings, including ground meat, mixed vegetable, chickpea, or even just cooked onions. The recipe below will show you how to make Afghan mantu served with Chaka and a mixed vegetable sauce. Enjoy!

Preparation and Cook Time

Prep time: 35 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
Yields: Around four servings, depending on appetite

Ingredients for the Mantu

  • 2 cups ground beef or lamb
  • 2/3 cup onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 package of egg roll or wonton wraps

Ingredients for the Mixed Vegetable Sauce

  • 2 cups frozen vegetable mix
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Mantu Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat pan over a medium heat and add the garlic, ground beef, coriander, and some salt. Cook until the meat is half-way cooked for about 15 to 20 minutes. Add a few dashes of black pepper to taste and then remove from heat.
  2. Mix in the cup of raw chopped onions with the meat and let it cool down to room temperature.
  3. Cut egg roll wraps into 4" diameter circles or squares. Place approximately one tablespoon of the cooled ground meat and onion mixture onto each wrap. To make the wraps stick together easily, wet the edges with water (you may use your fingers or a basting brush). Fold over first two opposite ends of the egg roll wrap, followed by other two ends to enclose dumplings. Press the edges tightly to seal together. Continue doing this with the remaining wraps.
  4. Take the racks out of the steamer dish. Add water to the dish, cover, and bring to boil. Grease the bottom of the steamer racks with oil to prevent sticking and place the dumplings on top, leaving some room in between each dumpling so they don't stick together. Once the water has come to a boil, place the racks filled with dumplings back on to the steamer dish. Cover lid and steam for approximately 40 minutes.
  5. While the dumplings are steaming, prepare the vegetable sauce mixture.

Vegetable Sauce Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for about 5-6 minutes, or until soft and somewhat translucent. Add garlic, turmeric, and cumin to sauté for two additional minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste and salt, and heat for one minute.
  3. Add frozen vegetable mix and stir/cook for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add a pinch of black pepper to taste. (Optional)

Yogurt Mixture


  • 1 cup strained Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon of lime or lemon juice
  • Salt to taste


  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Serving Instructions

  1. Now that the dumplings have cooked, add a thin layer of the yogurt mixture to a large serving plate.
  2. Place the steamed dumplings on top.
  3. Pour some more of the yogurt mixture on top of the dumplings and coat everything with the the vegetable sauce.
  4. Garnish with dried mint and a little bit of cayenne pepper.


Share Your Mantu Cooking Tips!

If you have tips or any special ways of making mantu, please share with us on the comment section below. We would love to hear from you!

Comments 4 comments

yama 2 years ago


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soulfully 2 years ago

These dumplings look really tasty. I often eat dumplings made in stew, but they look very different to yours. The ingredients in these dumplings look very healthy too, so I might give them a go. It would make a change from the usual ones I make.

Thanks for the recipe. It made my mouth water! :)

Sahar 3 years ago

Freshta. Garlic is a must and does add nice flavort

Freshtaa 4 years ago

Thank you for sharing your recipe of is definitely one of my fave foods and have so many wonderful memories of making it with my mom and siblings. I just wanted to add, my mom learned to cook Mantu from our neighbours who were from Mazar, where Mantu is a major dish and they were great in teaching her to cook it in a more traditional Mazari way. Hope you enjoy this version as well. So for traditional mantu, the yogourt mixture does not have any garlic added to it but just salt and some water to make the yogourt (chakka) more fluid, as the flavour of the garlic mixed with the onions can change the authentic taste of traditional mantu and instead of sprinkling dried mint on top of the dumplings, traditionally ground coriander (tukhmeh gashneez in Dari) is sprinkled as it enhances the taste of the beef/onion mixture. It's also best in terms of flavour and traditional mantu, for the sauce to be a split chickpea sauce (in Dari, qormeh daal nakhod)...split chick pea in a light tomato/onion sauce. You will also enjoy the flavour when the raw onions are minced in a blender then mixed in with the ground beef and be generous with the onions; makes it even better in terms of depth of flavour. When placing dumplings in the steamer, to prevent the dumplings from drying, grease the steamer racks with some vegetable/canola oil (with a brush) and also with a brush, brush on some oil on the tips of the dumplings when placing in the racks (my mom would lightly dip them in a small bowl of canola oil and then place it in the rack). Also it is good to sprinkle some water on top of the dumplings halfway through cooking time, again to make sure they stay moist and not dry. I hope this helps and you enjoy :).... have to say, making Mantu is definitely an art anyway one makes it and it's one of the best comfort foods during holidays :) Enjoy and nosheh jaan :) (Bon Appetit) Thank you :)

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