My husband is half Russian, and not long after we started dating, he introduced me to the Russian dumplings called pelmeni, which he often bought at a local specialty store. I was instantly hooked. These dumplings are deceptively simple in terms of ingredients and they are the kind of comfort food I could eat almost every day. The traditional way of serving them – with sour cream, dill and vinegar – gives them a delicious, fresh taste that everyone should try.
Although it is convenient to buy pelmeni from a specialty store, it is also very expensive. When we got married, my husband’s grandmother visited from abroad and taught us how to make these dumplings by hand. I was surprised to find that the process takes several hours – but the pelmeni are so delicious that I still make them regularly. The steps for making dumplings are quite simple: knead the dough, roll it out, use a circular cake slicer, fill and fold. To make the process a little more streamlined, you can use a special pelmeni shape, which allows you to make several pelmeni at once without having to fold them individually. Since it’s a big time saver, I’m in part to use a pelmeni form. In this recipe, however, I will show both processes – making dumplings by hand and making them with a mold – so you can see how it is done, whichever method you prefer. Either with a shape or hand-folded, these dumplings will heat your home and whet your appetite. Winter blues do not stand a chance against these delicious dumplings.
This pelmeni form allows me to make three dozen dumplings at once.
Roll out the dough and place on top of the mold.
Fill each space in the mold with meat mixture.
Top with second layer of dough, then use a rolling pin to separate the dumplings.
Turn the mold over and gently push out the dumplings.
Freeze pelmeni or cook immediately.
For the traditional hand-cut method, use a glass or round cake tin to cut the dough into circular pieces.
Fill each pelmeni individually with your meat mixture.
Fold in half and seal the edges.
Twist the ends together and squeeze to create a rounded shape.
It is important not to overfill your dumplings, especially if you are using a mold because it will break the dough apart. I recommend using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon so you get the same amount of meat in each one and do not overfill them.
For minced meat, you can use beef, pork, veal, chicken or any combination.
Do not skip sour cream, vinegar and dill garnish. These toppings really do do the trick!
4 1/2 cups universal flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lukewarm water
1 pound of minced meat
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)
Fresh or dried dill
- To make the filling, combine minced meat, salt, pepper, parsley, onion and garlic in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate while you make the dough.
- In another large bowl, combine water, salt and eggs. Whisk well.
- Slowly add flour to the egg mixture and stir with a whisk or spoon until the dough becomes too thick to stir around. Then continue to add flour and knead well on a floured surface until the dough is elastic and does not stick to your hands.
- Divide the dough into four equal balls and cover two of them so that they can be used later. Roll out the other two dough balls on a well floured surface so that the dough becomes very thin.
- Flour your pelmeni-form light flour and place a piece of the rolled out dough on top. Trim the extra dough from around the mold. Use 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to fill each hole in the mold with your meat mixture.
- Lay your second piece of rolled out dough on top and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough over the mold until the dumplings separate. Turn the mold over and gently push out each dumpling. Repeat this process with the other two dough balls.
- With any leftover dough, make some hand-folded pelmeni so there is no spillage. To do this, roll out the dough and use a glass or circular cake tin to make a circle. Put 1/2 teaspoon of filling in the middle, then fold in the middle so that it is moon-shaped. Bend the points together, as shown above, to create a round dumpling.
- At this point, you can freeze your pelmeni for later or cook right away. To save, place the dumplings on a large baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes before moving them to a freeze-proof bag to prevent them from sticking together. To cook, add pelmeni to boiling water and cook for several minutes. Dumplings will be finished about 5 minutes after they start floating in the boiling water.
- For serving, toss the pelmeni in vinegar and fresh or dried dill. Some people add butter, but it is optional. Top with sour cream, and enjoy!
- Main courses
- 74 dumplings
- Preparation time
- 90 minutes
- Cooking time
- 10 minutes
- Total time
- 1 hour, 39 minutes, 59 seconds
Image source: POPSUGAR Photography / Julia Vorobiev