Grandma’s Chicken with Gravy – Manja

Manja is traditional Gagauz (Turkish) dish. Chicken and vegetables are browned then cooked in gravy with tomato paste, paprika, cumin and garlic. Serve with mashed potatoes or simply with fresh baked bread, just like my grandmother used to do.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:
2 lb. chicken with bone, organic (I used 1/2 chicken)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 carrot, grated
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
4 cups chicken stock or water
1 Tbsp. fresh dill -finely chopped
 
Direction:
Cut chicken into pieces; season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan on medium high heat; add meat to hot pan and fry on 1 side for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown, and then use tongs to turn the pieces over and fry for another 2-3 minutes, until golden brown.

Take the chicken out and set aside. To the same pan where you fried chicken, add onions, garlic and carrots; sauté for about 4 minutes; mix in tomato paste, paprika and cumin;  add flour and mix well so all the vegetables will get coated with flour; cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add chicken broth and stir until smooth and thickened. When gravy is thickened and became smooth add the chicken.

Bring the sauce to a boil; reduce the heat down to low; cover the pot and cook on low heat for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh  dill.  Serve with mashed potatoes, or with your favorite pasta, I recommend, cavatelli, ravioli, spaghetti or ziti, or simply with fresh baked bread, just like my grandmother used to do.
Enjoy!!!

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11 comments

  1. Vuctoria says:

    I made this dish today. My children said its the best!!! I served it with bread and it tasted awesome:-) and its not that hard to make)
    Thank you, Inessa!

  2. Lena K says:

    Inessa, this is a very interesting dish. On am putting on my to do list. Looks realy good.
    Thanks for your wonderful recipes. God bless ;)

  3. Olya says:

    Yummy!!! Where do you buy organic chicken like that? Also, can you buy organic chicken stock or broth anywhere? What’s the difference between chicken broth and stock? Sorry for so many questions ;) My husband and I are starting to buy organic everything now a days!

    • Inessa says:

      Olya, that’s really exiting that your family decided to have organic :)
      I get my chicken from Trader Joe’s or Nugget Store, but I am sure other stores has it too. It’s pricier but you defiantly can tell the difference in taste.
      Chicken stock is made more from bony parts, whereas chicken broth is made more out of meat. Chicken stock tends to have a fuller mouth feel and richer flavor, due to the gelatin released by long-simmering bones.
      Hope this wold help. :)

  4. Svetlana says:

    Inessa, thank you for this post; it reminded me to go back to home style cooking, for I have deeply missed this dish!

  5. Tanya says:

    Mmmmmm…. MANJA!!! LOVED eating this growing up. I make a very similar version of manja. Incorporated the sweet paprika into my manja today. Came out delish! And I totally agree with you… fresh baked bread with manja is THE BEST!!

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