For Mother's Day, we asked local chefs to share a family recipe that they loved making with a maternal figure in their life. Nina Festekjian, Owner and Chef of Anoush'ella, shared this recipe for mante, traditional Armenian dumplings stuffed with spiced beef.

“My earliest memory of making mante was when I was about 10 years old,” she told us. “My sisters and I would gather around the kitchen table and help our mother in making these little boats. Nowadays, every time I make mante, I go back into that kitchen and experience the aroma of the mante cooking, my sister and I giggling while making the mante and telling each other how bad each other's boats were.”

My mom would always say, 'There is no such thing as bad mante as long as you do it with love and care.' She always put her heart and soul into her cooking. That sense of cooking with love and joy serving others has lingered in me and has been the foundation of Anoush'ella.“

Chef Nina Festekjian's Recipe for Mante (Armenian Dumplings)


For the dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the meat filling

  • 1/2 pound ground beef sirloin
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper

For the tomato sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken and beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to one ounce lemon juice

For the yogurt-garlic sauce

  • 1 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt or 1 cup of labne mixed with 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • Kosher salt
  • Sumac and Aleppo pepper for sprinkling


Step 1: Prepare the dough
Beat the egg with the vegetable oil and then add salt and water. Combine the mixture with the flour and mix until a dough forms. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Divide into two pieces and cover each with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for one hour.

Assembling the mante (Armenian dumplings.)
Courtesy of Nina Festekjian

Step 2: Make the meat filling
Combine the meat with the spices, chopped onion, and parsley; set aside in a bowl covered in the fridge.

Step 3: Make the tomato sauce
In a saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil for a minute and then add the tomato paste and the pepper paste and cook for another minute or so, until all is mixed well. Add the broth, lemon juice and the spices. Bring it to a boil then simmer and keep warm.

Step 4: Make the yogurt-garlic sauce
In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and garlic and season with salt. Mix well and refrigerate.

Step 5: Shape the mante
Roll out the first dough into a very thin layer. Cut the dough with a pizza cutter or knife into small 1.5 inch squares. Add 1/2 teaspoon of mante filling in the middle of the squares and form small boat-shaped dumplings by pinching the two sides of the square. Using a round or rectangular pan covered with thin layer of vegetable oil, arrange the mante close together. Repeat with the second dough.

Shaping the mante (Armenian dumplings) into purses.
Shaping the mante (Armenian dumplings) into purses.
Courtesy of Nina Festekjian

Step 6: Cook the mante
Preheat the oven to 400F and roast the mante for about half an hour, until golden brown color. Meanwhile, heat the red sauce, making sure the mixture is almost boiling.

A finished plate of mante (Armenian dumplings.)
A finished plate of mante (Armenian dumplings.)
Courtesy of Nina Festekjian

Step 7: Serve and enjoy
Remove the pans from the oven and serve the mante in individual soup bowls. Add the tomato sauce and then top it with a dollop of yogurt-garlic sauce. Drizzle with sumac and Aleppo pepper. Enjoy!

Nina and Mother picture.PNG
Nina Festekjian and her mother in the kitchen.
Courtesy of Nina Festekjian