Tuesday, November 23, 2010


A bowl of pelmeni with sour cream and dill
I love dumplings and it is one of my many goals to make dumplings of all cultures. Pelmeni seems to have sidetracked me from my lofty goal because I can't stop making them. I even have a pelmeni mold from Russia.
Pelmeni are a fair bit of work but with my professional grade mixer (with a dough hook) they have become easier to make. They take some time to master and are time consuming. Why do I love them so? First of all, they are versatile; I change the fillings based on my mood. Second, they freeze really well. Third, when I cook them, they take about 15 minutes total to cook. Fourth, they are delicious. They are a perfect dumpling. Having said that, this pelmeni recipe took me a while to develop.

The Dough
A word of warning- the dough is difficult to work with. I now have arm muscles. It is a lot of work to get the dough to roll out in a thin layer.The thinner the dough better the dumpling.

To make the dough mix together:

2 to 2 1/2 Cups (250 g to 313 g) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup (125 ml) of Water
1/2 Tsp of Salt

Start with 1 1/2 cups (188 g) of flour and add a 1/2 cup (63 g) at a time until the dough is the correct consistency. It should form a ball and be elastic.
This dough needs more flour
This dough is ready to be kneaded
At this point I switch over to a dough hook and knead for 4 minutes (you need to have a professional mixture to do this- if you don't knead the dough by hand).
This dough is ready to rest
The next step is to wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

The filling
Ok so maybe I am a little obsessed with pelmenis. I grind my own meat for the filling. That way I can grind the spices into the meat and I choose the cuts of meat I use. I usually use a mixture of half pork and half beef (sometimes I throw lamb in as well). I don't measure the amount I use because I use left over meat in other recipes or I freeze it for later. So back to the meat mixture. The meat mixture is ground park and beef, one grated onion (small) and a spice mixture. I really like Penzey's Tsardust Russian spice. I also will make the following spice mixture: salt, garlic, cinnamon, pepper, and nutmeg (sometimes I throw in some cayenne- just because).

Making Pelmeni

Note: The dough drys out quickly so whatever dough you are not using, keep wrapped up in the plastic wrap.

Using a Pelmeni Mold
My pelmeni mold

Take a piece of dough and roll it out thin. Place the dough on top of the pelmeni mold and place a bit of the meat mixture into each hole.
Filled pelmeni mold
Next roll out another thin sheet and place on top of the mold. (it looks like a pie)

Dough layer, meat layer, and then another dough layer
Next roll a rolling pin over the mold and the pelmeni are almost done.
The pelmeni mold after a rolling a rolling pin over it
Finally take the pelmeni out of the mold and place on a cookie sheet and freeze.
These pelmenis still need to be separated
Once the pelmenis are frozen, they can be place in a plastic freezer bag until you are ready to eat them.
Holding a pelmeni
By Hand 

Roll out the dough as thin as possible- use a round cookie cutter to cut the dough into 3 inch (7.5 cm) circles.
The first step of making pelmenis by hand: cut out the dough

Place about a teaspoon of the meat mixture onto one side of the circle and fold the other side on top of the filling.
The second step: placing about a teaspoon of meat in the dough

Then crimp it shut using your fingers. You may need to lightly moisten the edges.

The third step: crimping the pelmeni closed
Make the pelmeni into a crescent shape.

The fourth step bending the pelmeni into a crescent shape

Repeat this process until all of the dough is used.

Cooking Pelmeni

A bowl of pelmeni with sour cream and dill
Pelmeni are amazingly easy to cook. Drop frozen (you should freeze them before you cook them) pelmeni into boiling water, beef broth, or chicken broth. Cook until done (5-7 minutes). You could serve in the broth like a soup, drain and serve as is, or drain and fry in butter. I usually serve pelmeni with sour cream with a bit of dill. Vinegar is a traditionally served with pelmeni. I gave up on trying to pair pelmenis with wine-- if you have any ideas I would love to hear about them. I think the best pairing for pelmenis is ice cold vodka-my current favorite is Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka.

No comments:

Post a Comment