Pelmeni (пельмени) or meat dumplings are the ultimate comfort food in Russia. They’re a great addition to soups and just as delicious on their own with a side of sour cream and fresh dill!
While pelmeni recipes can vary, these savory dumplings are traditionally characterized by a mixture of minced meat and thin dough. Our recipe for pelmeni (and Viktor’s favorite version) is simple and no-frills, yet full of flavor and incredibly addicting. While you could fry your pelmeni with a bit of butter or add them to a brothy soup, Viktor has taught me that the best way to enjoy these delicious dumplings is with a heaping spoonful of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh dill.
As my program this last year included students from all over the world, many evenings were spent sharing our most loved dishes from home with each other. Dumpling nights very quickly become one of my favorite ways to spend the evening with friends. We would all gather around a large table, chat and spend the evening filling and shaping everything from mouthwatering Nepali momos to delicious Georgian khinkali. While social distancing means that Viktor and I had only a pelmeni making party for two, we can’t wait to share this recipe with our friends and family in the future. And if you’re looking for more recipes to (eventually) host your own dumpling night, let me suggest these cheesy chicken empanadas or spicy pork and kimchi mandu!
The filling is as simple as it gets and you can use whatever blend of minced meat you prefer — I generally use a 50/50 mixture of ground pork and ground beef. And the only other additions to the filling are onion, salt and a bit of soy sauce! The dough is also incredibly easy to work with. I generally use 3½ cups of flour, but if your dough seems like it’s starting to come together or getting dry you may only need 3¼ cups. To form and shape the dumplings, I like to roll out the dough as thin as I can and use a 3.5 inch (9 cm) round cutter. If you prefer, you could also roll out small individual balls of dough, but I find that it takes a bit more time.
If you’re looking to freeze a portion of your pelmeni, place them on a tray in the freezer for 30 minutes and make sure that they aren’t touching to prevent any sticking. Once the pelmeni harden, you can place them in a freezer bag and store for up to three months. This is the perfect recipe to make in bulk and keep around for quick lunches and dinners!
- flour 420 g (3.5 c)
- salt ½ tsp
- eggs 2 large
- warm water 180 ml (¾ c)
- ground meat 500 g (1 lb)
- (beef, pork or a mixture of both)
- onion ½ medium
- soy sauce 1 tbsp
- salt 1 tsp
for serving (optional)
- - sour cream
- - fresh dill
- Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl.
- Add eggs and mix.
- Pour in warm water and mix well. When the dough begins to come together, begin kneading with your hands until the dough is smooth.
- Cover the dough and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Finely chop the onion.
- Mix all filling ingredients together in a bowl.
- Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough into a thin layer.
- Cut out 3.5 inch (9 cm) circles using a cookie cutter or cup.
- Place about 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of each dumpling. Fold in half and press together to seal. Grab both corners of the dumpling and pinch together.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt.
- Add the pelmeni. Once the pelmeni float to the top, boil an additional three minutes or until the meat is fully cooked.
- Serve with sour cream and fresh dill.
- freezing your pelmeni: place your pelmeni on a tray in a single layer in the freezer to prevent sticking. Once they harden, you can transfer them to a freezer bag.