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Afghan Mantu dumplings

Afghan Mantu – savory beef & onion filled dumplings

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  • Author: Julie Cockburn
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 40 to 50 small dumplings 1x


Seasoned beef and onions, tucked away in a tender wrapper, and topped with an herby yogurt sauce make this delicious recipe for Afghan mantu, or dumplings, a perfect crowd pleaser for your next party!


Units Scale

Yogurt sauce

  • 1 cup unsweetened yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for brushing
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Big pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 1 bunch (about 2 1/2 ounces) fresh cilantro, minced
  • 40 to 50 wonton wrappers – these come in packs of 48 in my part of the world


  • Cayenne pepper, for garnish
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish


Yogurt sauce

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, dried mint, garlic, and salt to taste.
  2. Depending on the thickness of your yogurt, whisk in enough water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve a creamy, yet drizzle-able consistency. I typically use Greek yogurt, and find that 1 cup of yogurt needs about 5 tablespoons of water.
  3. Set aside, covered in the refrigerator, until ready to use.

Making the filling

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat, until the oil begins to shimmer and move around the skillet. Add the beef, 1 teaspoon salt, ground turmeric, ground coriander, garlic, and pepper to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up any big chunks of ground beef, until the beef is cooked through and most of the moisture has evaporated.
  2. Remove from the heat, and stir in the minced onion and cilantro. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before moving on to the next step.

Stuffing the wrappers

  1. Place a small spoonful of the stuffing into the center of a wonton wrapper.
  2. With your fingertip or a pastry brush, brush a small amount of water on the outside edges of the wrapper to make it slightly sticky. Shape the wrapper into a dumpling by first gently pinching two opposite corners together, then gently pinching the remaining two corners together.
  3. Repeat with the remaining wrappers, covering them loosely with a towel or plastic wrap until ready to steam.
  4. Don’t worry if you end up with more filling than wrappers. Reserve the extra filling and scatter it over the finished dish as a garnish.

Steaming the mantu

  1. Heat your oven to its lowest possible temperature, around 175°F. You will likely need to cook the mantu in batches, and you’ll want to keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve.
  2. Meanwhile, heat an inch or two of water in a pot fitted with a steamer insert. Be sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the insert. Adjust the temperature so the water stays at a steady, steamy simmer – gently bubbling and steaming, without boiling furiously.
  3. Brush the surface of the steamer insert with a small amount of oil, and gently place the mantu in a single layer, working in batches if necessary. Cover and steam until the wrappers are tender and slightly translucent, about 8 minutes. Repeat with the remaining mantu.
  4. Gently wrap the steamed mantu in a piece of foil that has been lightly brushed with oil, and place in the warm oven until ready to serve.


  1. Spread half the yogurt mixture over the surface of a large serving platter. Gently pile the steamed mantu on the platter, and decoratively drizzle about 1/4 of the yogurt mixture on top. Place the remaining yogurt in a dish for dipping at the table. Garnish the platter of mantu with a dusting of cayenne pepper and cilantro leaves.


If you would like to curb the raw onionyness of this recipe a bit, feel free to cook the onions along with the beef. I used white onions, but red or yellow would work just as well.

If you are making the mantu for a party, you can prepare the meat filling and the yogurt sauce a day or two ahead of time. I’ve also had success holding the steamed mantu in a warm oven – just be sure to keep them covered with a piece of lightly oiled foil so they don’t dry out.

Interested in trying more tasty dishes from Afghanistan? Afghan Bolani is a fun street food style recipe made by stuffing thin crust with savory ingredients. While Afghan Noodle Soup, or Aush is a comforting combo of noodles, beef, spices, and a creamy broth, perfect for a cold winter day. 

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Entree or appetizer
  • Cuisine: Afghan
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