Lamb Dumplings

lamb dumplings

Martha's fried version of mantou, a Saudi meat-filled dumpling, pairs spiced lamb with sweet golden raisins and buttery pine nuts.


For the Chile Sauce

  • ¼ cup tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

  • Pinch of sugar

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Dough

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 large egg

For the Filling

  • 2 tablespoons ghee

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander

  • ½ teaspoon ground sumac

  • 1 pound ground lamb

  • ¼ cup golden raisins

  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint

  • 1 quart safflower oil, for frying


  1. Make the chile sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk to combine tomato paste, vinegar, oil, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 cup water. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened and reduced by one-third. Season with salt and black pepper. Sauce may be served warm, room temperature, or chilled.

  2. Make the dough: In a large bowl, stir to combine flour, oil, salt, egg, and 3/4 cup water. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and slightly sticky, about 10 minutes.

  3. Divide dough into 32 equal pieces. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet and your hands with oil. Working with one piece of dough at a time, use your hands to roll into a ball. Transfer to baking sheet, then repeat process with remaining dough. Drizzle balls with additional oil, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let rest at room temperature for 3 hours.

  4. Make the filling: Melt ghee in a medium skillet over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until just softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

  5. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, and sumac and cook until fragrant. Add lamb and cook, stirring often, until meat is browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in raisins and pine nuts. Remove from heat and let cool slightly; stir in mint. Let cool to room temperature.

  6. Working with one ball of dough at a time, place ball on surface and use your fingertips to flatten into a 4-inch round. Place 1 heaping tablespoon lamb filling into the center of the round. Fold dough over filling to enclose, forming a half moon. Pinch edges together, crimping to tightly seal. Repeat process with remaining dough and filling.

  7. Heat oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350 degrees. Working in batches, fry dumplings until crisp and golden all over, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet; let drain. Serve dumplings warm with chile sauce.

Related Articles