Tasty Pelmeni

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Pelmeni are Russian dumplings that consist of small portions of ground meat and onion wrapped in a thin, unleavened dough and boiled. It is not known for sure but these could have been an adaptation of Chinese potstickers. What historians do agree upon is that pelmeni originated in Siberia and were most likely named after a group of people there the Komi and in the komi language “pelnyan” means “bread-ear”. Crossing language barriers the name was altered to pelmeni. They are delicious and enjoyed by both adults and children.

The best are always homemade but when there is no time they can be bought frozen and boiled up at home. Originally they were known as hunter’s food because Siberian hunters would bring along large sacks of frozen pelmeni when they went on winter expeditions. Then when it was time for a meal they would boil them in melted snow and eat them plain or with broth.

Families make pelmeni in large batches for family meals and they are usually accompanied by a cucumber and tomato salad with sour cream dressing. Pelmeni by themselves are delicious eaten with sour cream, mayonnaise, butter, vinegar or just about any other condiments poured over them. If eaten with tomato sauce they would probably be similar to ravioli. I love adding soy sauce to food so I found that making a warmed up sauce of soy and crushed garlic with a bit of olive oil is great drizzled over pelmeni.

If making them at home they are best made with fresh whole ground beef, or ground pork and diced onion. To get the dough just right you have to knead it until it is elastic and not sticky. Then it should be rolled quite thin but not so that it breaks when the meat is roiled into it. Drop them carefully into salty boiling water and they are ready when they come up to the surface. You can make your own and freeze them for cooking later.


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