On Saturday 22 August at 2 pm the Afghan community shared their recipes


It was the first day of Ramadan, the holy month for devout Muslims throughout the world during which they do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. Undeterred the wonderful women in the Wellington community demonstrated the art of mantu making, a delicious steamed dumpling with yoghurt and bean sauce. Recipes are available at Pataka in the Afghan kitchen.


About eighteen families have settled in the Wellington region and are making New Zealand home. All have left their war torn homeland and have arrived here under New Zealand's refugee quota. Many fled the fighting and moved from their homes to Pakistan and on to Iran before coming here. Some families tell stories of walking for 25 hours in the northern mountains to escape the Taliban, the women carrying babies under their chador, (full length garments.)


Every week a group gathers to do embroidery, the young ones learning from the older women.                            




MANTU - this is my mother's recipe, Fahima



1 kg of minced lamb

• 6 large onions (finely chopped)

• 2 cloves of garlic (grated or minced)

• 2 red chillies (finely chopped)

• 1tsp. ground black pepper

• 1tsp. coriander powder

• Salt

• Readymade wonton wrappers

• 500g of plain yogurt

• 2 more cloves of garlic (grated or minced)

• A bunch of fresh or dry mint (podina)

• Cooking oil




 Heat cooking oil in a frypan, add the garlic and meat and mix thoroughly to break into a finely minced texture, and cook until the meat is brown.

 Add the seasonings, coriander and chilli and continue to cook for 20 minutes. Add only enough water, if any, to prevent the meat from sticking.

 Add 2 tsp. oil to chopped onion and fry for 5 minutes. Allow the meat mixture to cool.


Mix the onion with meat mixture. Take a wonton wrapper and place a teaspoon of meat mixture into the centre. Fold the wonton wrapper to create a dumpling by taking the two opposite corners and sealing them with wet fingers. Then repeat with the other corners, creating a neat parcel. Place the mantu into a steamer and cook for 30 minutes.


Create a sauce by mixing the plain yogurt and garlic together Assemble the dish by covering the base of a large platter with the yogurt sauce, and cover with the meat parcels, piling them on top of each other to create a mound A little sauce can be spooned over the lot, then some minced lamb, topped with mint.