Sulu Manti (Manti Soup) is an Armenian soup featuring beef-stuffed dumplings simmered in a tomato broth. It’s the ultimate bowl of comfort on a cold winter’s day.
Sulu Manti is the soup version of regular Sini Manti. In Turkish the word “sulu” means soup and “sini” means pan. Hence the difference between the two dumplings. The dumplings themselves contain identical ingredients. The pan version of these dumplings is my absolute favorite thing in the world. Meanwhile, manti soup showcases the same delicious dumplings (albeit in a slightly different shape) but boils them in a delicious tomato-infused broth along with the optional addition of chickpeas.
This manti soup recipe comes from my maternal grandmother. My paternal grandmother also made it, although her broth differed from this recipe and lacked the potent garlic and lemon flavors. I’m sure there are a million different ways other Armenians make this soup, but this is the version I love so I’m sharing it with you all! It’s kind of like the Armenian equivalent of Chinese wonton soup or Italian tortellini soup. You really can’t go wrong with delicious doughy morsels simmered in broth.
Although it’s a bit more work than a standard chicken noodle, this soup is total comfort in the wintertime. Even if you didn’t grow up with these flavors on your palate on a cold winter’s day, you will totally see where I’m coming from if you extend the effort to make this soup for your family. You will taste the love and effort with every bite. Me? I simply taste my grandmother’s cooking, and my childhood.
How to make manti soup
The first step in making sulu manti is making the dumplings. To make the filling, in a mixing bowl combine ground beef with minced onion, finely chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and paprika. Refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble.
Having a pasta roller or a pasta roller attachment on your stand mixer is extremely helpful for this process. I use my mixer fitted with the dough hook to mix my dough, and then I change out the bowl and dough hook for the pasta roller attachment. Rest the dough for 30 minutes before you begin rolling it out. Cut off small pieces of dough to work with a little at a time. About 4.5 to 5.5 ounces is what I usually do, but accuracy is irrelevant here. Just grab a small handful and cut it off with a knife. Dust the piece of dough with flour and carefully stretch and flatten it into a rough rectangle.
Run this piece of dough through the pasta roller at the widest setting (typically #1 on the dial).
Then fold it over itself one or twice, flatten again with your hands, and run it through the machine again on the same setting.
Proceed to the next widest setting (typically #2 on the dial) and run the dough through the machine.
Then keep going, running your dough only once through each subsequent level until you reach your desired thickness. I aim for #4 on the Kitchenaid attachment.
Cut the sheets of dough into squares, top with tiny spoonfuls of ground beef, and then fold and pinch into the appropriate shapes. There are a couple different ways you can shape your dumplings for this manti soup! You can create a combination of shapes or make them more uniform in your soup. It’s up to you.
- Shape #1: Fold the manti into a triangle, sealing all the edges well. Pinch together the two opposite ends of the triangle to form a tortellini-like shape.
- Shape #2: Pinch the two ends with your fingers as if you are going to form a canoe-shape, but then bring the two ends together in the middle to form a satchel, slightly overlapping and twisting the dough together in the center to seal it.
Place the manti on the baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough and meat filling.
When you’ve shaped all your dumplings, get started on the soup base. Melt some butter, then add canned crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, water, garlic, lemon juice, and spices. When the mixture comes to a boil, add the manti to the broth (and canned chickpeas if using), and cook until tender. Finish the soup with dried mint, and serve immediately.
As you can see, making sulu manti is quite simple once you’ve assembled your dumplings. It helps to have a few extra pairs of hands for the assembly to make the process go faster. My family always makes manti soup as a group, with different members of the family taking on different roles. Someone will roll out the dough while another cuts into squares. Another person will dot pieces of meat atop the dough squares, and so on and so forth.
A note on reheating this soup
This recipe makes a substantial amount of soup, and can comfortably feed 8 to 10 people. If you expect to have leftovers, let me suggest a method to keep them from getting overly soggy. I came up with this idea after seeing how my local Asian restaurants pack noodle soups to go. They store the cooked noodles in a separate plastic container from the broth. Inspired by this method, I tested it out with cooked manti soup.
After my family finishes eating our meal, I strain out the cooked dumplings from the broth. I use a large flat strainer with large holes to scoop into the pot and strain out the solids into a storage container. Once you have strained out the dumplings, store the broth separately. When you’re ready to reheat your leftovers, bring the broth to a gentle boil on your stove-top, then add the cooked separated manti, and cover and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes until heated through. The result will be close to the original with slightly softer but nowhere-near-soggy manti. It may seem strange and not worth it, but after putting in so much effort to make this from scratch I want to make sure my leftovers taste just as good as our initial meal. Give it a try!
Other recipes you may like
- Sini Manti (Baked Manti)
- Armenian Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- Red Lentil Soup with Potatoes
- Armenian Meatball Soup
- Armenian Lentil Soup with Macaroni
- Roza’s Tas Kebab
- Manti Dumplings
Does your family have any customs when making ancestral recipes? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
Sulu Manti (Manti Soup)
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more as needed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 10 ounces ground beef
- 3 tablespoons minced onion
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups canned crushed or ground peeled tomatoes
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 6 1/2 cups water
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (optional)
- 2 tablespoons dried mint
- To make the dough by hand, fill a large mixing bowl with the flour and make a well in the center. Beat together the eggs, salt, water, and olive oil. Add the wet ingredients to the well. Slowly incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients until a ball of dough is formed. Alternatively to make the dough in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour to the mixer bowl, then add the wet ingredients and mix for 3 to 4 minutes until smooth and pliable. If the dough is sticky add a bit of flour as needed, and continue to mix/knead the dough until smooth. Cover the dough with a tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Mix together the ground beef, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and paprika until well incorporated. Refrigerate until needed.
- Lightly dust 2 baking sheets with flour to keep the manti from sticking until they are ready to be boiled.
- Using a hand-cranked pasta roller or a rolling pin, in batches roll out the dough until it very thin, dusting the dough with flour as needed. If using the Kitchenaid pasta roller attachment, roll until #4 for thickness (see notes below).
- Cut each strip of dough into 1 1/2 inch squares. Place 1/4 teaspoon of meat filling into the center of each square.
- You can shape the manti a couple different ways. For the first shape, pinch the two ends with your fingers as if you are going to form a canoe-shape, but then bring the two ends together in the middle to form a satchel, slightly overlapping and twisting the dough together in the center to seal it.
- Alternatively, fold the manti into a triangle, sealing all the edges well. Pinch together the two opposite ends of the triangle to form a tortellini-like shape. Place the manti on the baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough and meat filling.
- Start the soup by melting the butter over medium heat in an 8-quart stockpot. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes to heat through. Add the chicken broth, water, garlic, lemon juice, salt, paprika, and black pepper. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. When the mixture comes to a boil, carefully add the manti to the soup along with the chickpeas, if using. Reduce the heat to simmer, and cook the manti for about 10 to 12 minutes until tender, but not mushy. Add the dried mint and serve.