A traditional and delicious recipe for handmade Russian pelmeni filled with a beef/pork combination, flavored with onions and garlic! Watch this video to learn how to make the perfect pelmeni!
A popular way to serve pelmeni is with a mixture of sour cream, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper and fresh dill. And if you want to be really Russian, then a glass of vodka is recommended. But do not exaggerate, a glass or possibly two is more than enough.
Pelmeni are dumplings of Russian cuisine that consist of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough.
The filling can be minced meat (pork, lamb, beef, fish or any other kind of meat, venison being particularly traditional for colder regions) or mushrooms. The mixing together of different kinds of meat is also popular. But the filling can be varied in countless ways. Personally, I prefer a filling without garlic.
The traditional Udmurt recipe requires a mixture of 45% beef, 35% mutton, and 20% pork. Various spices, such as black pepper and diced onions as well as garlic, are mixed into the filling. They are commonly topped with sour cream, mayonnaise, dill, red onions or vinegar, all of which are traditional to the region and can be produced in the Siberian climate.
The first mention of a dish similar to dumplings comes from ancient Greece, but the Ural region seems to be the origin place of the pelmeni. The word pelmeni is derived from pel’n’an’ (пельнянь)—literally “ear bread” in the native Finno-Ugric Komi and Udmurt languages. It is unclear when pelmeni entered the cuisines of the indigenous Siberian people and when they first appeared in Russian cuisine.
Another theory suggests that pelmeni were carried by the Mongols to Siberia and the Urals, from where they gradually spread as far as Eastern Europe. Pelmeni became especially popular by Russian hunters.
Pelmeni are particularly good means of quickly preserving meat during long Siberian winter, especially eliminating the need to feed livestock during the long winter months. Thus, despite their Uralic origin, pelmeni were much influenced by the Siberian way of cooking.
Image: Eugene Kim