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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Russian Pelmeni

As a child I grew up making these tasty morsels from about the age of nine years, and they are one of a very few things that bring back memories of my childhood.

Many different cultures throughout Eastern Europe have their own versions of these 'dumplings' with as many variations in the filling used. When I made these at my chef's station I had some people compare them to Chinese Wontons and that was understandable.

I stayed with what was a traditional method in my family using ground pork, chopped green onion and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste for the filling. At the chef's station I cheated and used wonton wrappers, although most Russians or any Eastern European would have made their own dough, which is a simple mixture of flour, water, a pinch of salt, and sometimes the addition of one egg. This is well mixed and then rolled out into a tube shape with about 1 1/2 inch diameter. Finally the tube is cut into 1 inch thick portions and rolled out into round disks with approximate 3 inch diameter. It is handy to keep them all the same size and not go the route of fashion with small, medium, large and extra large.

As I used wonton wrappers I saved a little work, sorry mom I was in a hurry. The wonton wrappers are square but the end result is the same.

Place a small amount of filling in the centre of the wrapper or dough. Keep a cup of cold water beside you as you will need to run a wet finger each time around the inside perimeter of the wrapper, then fold over the wrapper to have the ends meet in a triangular shape and pinch down hard to seal. This is where the use of a little amount of water on your finger helps to make the dough sticky.

Now taking the two outside corners, left and right fold them over each other. Again a little, and only a little water as needed on your fingertips to pinch down and seal. Once you have done that, you can see you have formed a sort of face with an old traditional scarf.

Place the Pelmeni on a baking sheet with parchment paper in rows and then place into the freezer. Freezing can be for a couple of hours or longer. I froze them overnight and then boiled them.

In a large pot bring to a boil about 3 litres of water seasoned with 2 teaspoons of salt and some chopped green onions. As the water reaches a rolling boil drop about 24 of the frozen Pelmeni in. They first sink to the bottom, when you see them all rise to the surface they are ready to be served.

Pelmeni can be served in a bowl with a tablespoon of sour cream or with dippings such as balsamic vinegar, soy sauce or white wine vinegar.

This recipe will make approximate six dozen Pelmeni. Put them in freezer bags of 24 per bag and they will be ready to use as you need them. Now Enjoy.


2 lb ground pork
1 bunch of green onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste


2 cups of all-purpose flour
water, gradually added
salt and 1 egg – or cheat and use prepared wonton wrappers

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