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Afghan Mantu Recipe (Beef Dumplings)

Here you will find traditional food from Afghanistan. Enjoy!

A plate of the completed Afghan mantu with sauces.

A plate of the completed Afghan mantu with sauces.

About 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. Mantu can be served as both a main or side dish.

Origins

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.

Sauces and Toppings

Afghan mantu is served with chaka (which consists of drained yogurt, minced garlic, lemon and 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 timeCook timeReady inYields

35 min

40 min

1 hour 15 min

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

Instructions

  1. Heat pan over medium heat and add the garlic, ground beef, coriander, and some salt. Cook until the meat is halfway 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-inch 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 the first two opposite ends of the egg roll wrap, followed by the other two ends to enclose the 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 a 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.

Photo Tutorial

Place about 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture in each wrapper.

Place about 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture in each wrapper.

Fold the edges to seal the mantu.

Fold the edges to seal the mantu.

Steam the mantu, leaving some space between the dumplings.

Steam the mantu, leaving some space between the dumplings.

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

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for about 5 to 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 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add a pinch of black pepper to taste (optional).

Ingredients for the Yogurt Mixture

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

Instructions

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

How to Serve This Dish

  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.

Noshe-Jaan!

Share Your Mantu Cooking Tips!

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

Comments

TravelAfghanistan (author) on January 20, 2019:

Hi Bayanullah,

Glad to hear this was helpful!

TravelAfghanistan (author) on January 20, 2019:

Hi Kat,

I use small cut frozen mixed vegetables that include green peas, corn, carrots and green beans.

Haz ^-^ on January 14, 2019:

Thanks!!!

Kat on December 30, 2018:

What type of frozen vegetable mix do you use? (Which vegetables?)

soccer2020 on April 10, 2018:

This is my favorite Afghan dish

mantu kumar on February 16, 2015:

video

yama on June 08, 2014:

nice

soulfully on May 11, 2014:

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 on November 19, 2012:

Freshta. Garlic is a must and does add nice flavort

Freshtaa on September 26, 2012:

Thank you for sharing your recipe of Mantu...it 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 :)