Mantı is a traditional Turkish dish that I came to love while living in Istanbul.  Although most recipes come with lamb stuffed into the ravioli, I got spoiled by the chef at work, who went out of her way to cater to my diet needs, even though she didn’t understand them.  I don’t have experience with hand-folding the ravioli, but I’m a big fan of whipping up the tomato-based sauce. My recipe could never compare to hers, but I got a lot of praise from the couple of people who have tried it.  I add a lot more spices than some recipes that I’ve seen, but I prefer the full-bodied flavor.  While living there- the last time I had access to isot- I made this sauce as a side condiment for practically everything.  It’s incredibly versatile, especially if you love a little kick.  The Turks top the dish with a dollop of plain yogurt, which adds a cool and refreshing after note to the spicy sauce. Enjoy!

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes


  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste (NOT sauce)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp isot
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • a pinch of hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon
  • dash of salt


Heat olive oil in pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion and saute for 3 minutes.  Once lightly cooked, add the tomato paste, herbs, and butter, stirring until completely mixed.  Reduce the heat to low and allow to cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, top with lemon juice, and serve over ravioli or anything else that you goes with a thick tomato sauce.  It can also be refrigerated and served cold as a dip for veggies, if you like.