Pelmeni recipe - Siberian dumpling recipe

There is something universal about dumplings – we all connect over our shared love of boiled dough stuffed with a filling of sorts. While there are so many types of dumplings native to different parts of the former Soviet Union, Siberia’s claim to fame is its own signature type called Siberian pelmeni. These tiny round dumplings stuffed with a blend of minced pork and beef are consumed with a generous chunk of butter, black pepper and soured cream or – and this is my family’s favourite – in their own richly flavoured cooking broth, with plenty of black pepper, of course! My dad would often have these (as well as pretty much anything else) with soy sauce that his mother would send us from his home town of Khabarovsk way before it became widely available in shops all over Russia. As pelmeni were usually eaten in winter when no fresh herbs were available, adding fresh dill was not common practice, but I would highly recommend this to you these days, as well as experimenting with other non-Russian herbs. Pelmeni in sage butter, anyone?

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 700g ‘00’ flour, plus extrafor dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml water

For the meat filling

  • 500g mixed minced porkand beef (in equal measure)
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the fish filling

  • 500g mixed skinless trout, salmon and cod fillet (in equal measure), cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the mushroom filling

  • 400g mixed mushrooms (wild mushrooms or white and chestnut mushrooms)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • dash of soy sauce
  • 150g pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the cooking broth

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 vegetable, fish or meat stock cube, according to your filling

To serve

  • chopped fresh herbs
  • soured cream
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • unsalted butter (if serving without the cooking broth)

Method

  1. To make the dough, sift the flour onto a clean, dry work surface.
  2. Make a well in the middle and add the salt, eggs and measured water, gradually mixing the flour into it with your hands to form a firm dough. Knead well for 5–7 minutes. Cover with clingfilm and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. In the meantime prepare
  3. your fillings.
  4. To make both meat and fish fillings, thoroughly mix the ingredients together in separate large bowls.
  5. To make the vegetable filling, finely chop the mushrooms, onion, garlic and parsley in a food processor. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the vegetable mixture with the soy sauce for 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and stir through the pine nuts and seasoning. Let the mixture cool before handling.
  7. The dough should be ready by this point. Take it out of the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface. For best results, use a pasta machine, as you need to make sheets that are about 1.5mm thick, which you will get by using the number 7 setting
  8. on the pasta machine.
  9. Using a shot glass, cut out discs about 4–6cm in diameter from the dough. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each disc and fold in half to make a half-moon shape, then fold again so that the edges of the half-moon are stuck together.
  10. The dumplings can be cooked immediately or frozen to be cooked at a later date using the same method as below, increasing the cooking time as necessary.
  11. To cook, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, adding the bay leaf and stock cube. Add the pelmeni, in batches, to the boiling broth and cook for 5 minutes. You know they are ready when they float up to the surface.
  12. Ladle your pelmeni into soup bowls with the cooking broth, topping them with fresh herbs, soured cream and black pepper. If you prefer to have them without the broth, use a slotted spoon and add a generous dollop of butter as well as the rest of the ingredients to the bowl. There should be around 10 servings of dumplings, but if that’s more than the number of mouths that you have to feed, they freeze well kept in flat layers in a freezer bag.

A recipe from Salt & Time: Recipes from a Russian Kitchen by Alissa Timoshkina (Mitchell Beazley). Buy the book here.

Pelmeni recipe - Siberian dumpling recipe