Afghan Mantu Macaroni

I’m no expert in Afghan cuisine. However, I love exploring out of my comfort zone (in the kitchen, at least). Even if it’s a miss, there’s always peanut butter in the fridge. Good thing, though, this recipe was a success.

Mantu is originally an Afghan dish with ground meat stuffed dumplings, covered in a tomato lentil sauce, topped with a yogurt sauce and dried mint. I think the only time consuming part is assembling the dumplings…so I came across a shortcut and thought, why not try it?



Instead of making dumplings with wonton wrappers, the shortcut is the boil macaroni noodles and top with ground meat, lentil sauce, and yogurt. No time consuming dumpling assembly required.

This mantu macaroni was pretty simple to make. I loved that I got to use quinoa pasta for my macaroni instead of regular wheat pasta. Overall it’s a pretty healthy and quick meal to try out once in a while. Read on for the recipe!

Mantu Macaroni

Yield: 4 servings

Mantu Macaroni


  • 1 box elbow macaroni
  • 1 lb ground beef, cooked
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 can 14 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chana dal (bengal gram split lentils)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1.5 cups yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons dried mint
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced.


  1. Soak the chana dal in a bowl for 1-2 hours before making the dish.
  2. While dal is soaking, cook the ground beef with 1 tsp garlic powder, 2 crushed garlic cloves, and salt and pepper.
  3. Chop the onion into small pieces. When the ground beef is done cooking (water evaporated), then add the onion and cook for another minute. Turn off stove and allow ground beef to cool.
  4. For the lentil sauce, add one can tomato sauce to a pot and cook for one minute with 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp red chili powder, and salt. Add drained chana dal to the tomato sauce. Add 1.5 cups water and cook on medium heat. The chana dal should be soft but still hold its shape. This will take about 20-25 minutes. Allow the lentil sauce to slightly cool.
  5. For the yogurt sauce, simply mix together yogurt with 2 minced garlic cloves (or 1 tsp garlic powder) and some salt. Thin out the yogurt with 1/4 cup water. Add 1 tsp dried mint, mix well.
  6. Boil the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside until ready to assemble.
  7. To assemble, on a large platter, spread about 1/2 cup yogurt. Add the macaroni in an even layer, then sprinkle ground beef on top. Add the lentil sauce next, and then drizzle the yogurt sauce last. Sprinkle on remaining teaspoon of dried mint. Enjoy right away! It will keep in fridge for 2-3 days but it's best eaten fresh. Enjoy!

This entry was posted in entree.

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