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About a dozen years ago, the Elbasi family immigrated to Canada from Turkey, opening one of the best eateries in town – Anatolia Turkish Cuisine in the Crossroads Market. They now have a bricks-and-mortar location downtown, and at their farmers’ market location they have the only phyllo sheeting machine in Canada. But more importantly, they’re a lovely family, cook wonderful food, and when I was researching different varieties of dumplings for CBC, walked me through how to make tiny manti – Turkish dumplings filled with lamb or beef, encased in a soft dough and drizzled with melted butter. On the day I was pestering them with questions, they happened to be making some for that evening’s iftar. They said tomatoes were typical, and when I came across some browned butter tomatoes, I couldn’t not make them.

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We don’t wait for lunar new year to make dumplings around here – they’re one of W’s favourite foods, and long ago we started filling and pinching them together. It’s not as difficult as it looks, a great way to spend 20 minutes catching up with someone you love, and little fingers are particularly adept at manipulating the soft dough. In the end, it doesn’t matter how you seal them – fold them in half like a peroghy, twist it into a little topknot, pull up the corners and make a tent, add a couple pleats or don’t. As long as they’re sealed, they’ll cook up just fine and taste wonderful. (Kids will come up with tiny packages you’d never have thought of.) There are, of course, millions of ways to fill a dumpling – essentially you start with ground meat (pork is very common, but some are made with beef, chicken, turkey, shrimp or veggies) and season it with soy sauce, finely chopped greenContinue reading

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