Diddle Diddle Dumpling

Tonight we enjoyed a bonus meal from Miss A’s cooking destination, Russia. Typically we only spend two weeks on each country, but with the holiday and weekend travels we needed something that we could make up quickly. Actually this meal, the traditional Russian Pelmeni, is anything but a quick recipe. It’s a lengthy process that took all hands on deck. What made it work for us this weekend is that we actually prepared the Siberian dumplings last weekend, froze them and were able to quickly cook them up tonight.

The Russian pelmeni is a meat dumpling similar to potstickers or pierogies. According to RusCuisine.com, the dumplings, popular all over Russia, are believed to have originated in Siberia as many could be made at once and frozen for the long winters. The first step to making the pelmeni is to create the dough from flour, salt, sugar, egg and water. It’s a very tough dough to knead at first, but eventually becomes soft and resilient. Once we were satisfied with the consistency of the dough we chilled it in plastic wrap for 40 minutes before rolling it out on a floured surface.

The dough must be rolled out very thin – until it’s almost translucent. Then Mr. N and I began cutting out the small circles.

Miss A took care of separating the circles, making sure they were flat (by pounding on them with her “patty cake” hands), and passing them to Dad.

Dad was in charge of the dirty work this time. He placed a teaspoon of our raw meat filling –  a combination of ground pork, ground beef, onion, thyme and rosemary – on the center of each dough circle, and then folded it in half.

Since this recipe made 60 pelmeni, we all took part in sealing the pelmeni around the edges. It’s an important step to make sure the meat remains in the dumpling during the cooking process; and Mr. N, as you can imagine, takes the task to heart. This time he brought out his tool set to run quality control.

Once the pelmeni are sealed, they can be frozen (like we opted to do last week), or cooked immediately. Frozen or fresh, they are cooked in a pot of boiling water. After the dumplings rise to the top they can be removed and strained. Pelmeni are traditionally served hot with melted butter, lemon juice, vinegar or sour cream.

We served our pelmeni with several different dipping selections: melted garlic butter, sour cream and marinara sauce (not a Russian condiment, but one that suited Miss A) and a Russian beet salad. Dad and I both enjoyed the pelmeni with the garlic butter. Mr. N preferred the sour cream and Miss A enjoyed hers with the marinara. Mr. N and Miss A both gave the Siberian dumplings 3 spoons, while Dad and I gave them 2 spoons.

As for the beet salad…it’s probably very good if you enjoy beets; however none of us have ever been fans. We did give the root vegetable an honest shot but, they still gagged me and Mr. N ate his and shouted, “Zero spoons! Zero spoons!” I think we all concurred.

The pelmeni are a good hearty dumpling and if I could buy them already prepared, I’d consider this meal again; however, I don’t see us making them from scratch anytime soon. But hey, it was a fun way to say farewell to Russia.

Print this recipe: Russian Pelmeni

Side note: If you have leftover meat filling, they make good burgers. 🙂

23 thoughts on “Diddle Diddle Dumpling

  1. Kate McClendon says:

    Looks wonderful! I was never a fan of beets before either – but I now love them roasted. You can roast them in aluminum foil with a little olive oil and sea salt. They take awhile – usually an hour or so at 400. Peel them first. You really can’t overcook them, but they get better once they start to soften and brown.

    Or you can put them in a glass dish with four-to-one water to balsamic vinegar, just enough to cover the bottom of the dish by about a 1/2 inch, with a little olive oil too, for an hour and a half at 325. You don’t have to peel them first when you to it this way – the skins will slip right off. They should be soft enough to pierce with a fork. We toss them with goat cheese, golden raisins, basil and some almonds. Or let them cool and use a little creme fraiche and grapefruit with basil.

    Maybe that will help!


  2. Malli's Mint and Mimosas says:

    What a fun family activity to do with young children!! The Pelmeni filling sounds especially good with ground meat, onion, thyme and rosemary… mmmm. The closest to these that I have eaten are chinese dumplings. I love beet salad but usually roast them in the oven first…. love deviled eggs too:)


  3. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    I love a good dumpling recipe. I’m guessing you can take this recipe and mix it up a bit and put any filling you want inside which gives me ideas. And I am not a beet fan either lol, although my mother thinks I’m crazy for not being one lol. And I see that deviled egg on that plate.. LOVE THOSE.


  4. Alison says:

    This looks great! The dumpling sounded like a great fun family activity. I love beets and worked in Lithuania for a while so ate a lot of beet salad and soup and… you get the idea. They are everywhere!

    Thank you for sharing these lovely posts.


  5. Charles says:

    Nice – they remind me a little of Pierogi. I have to say that apart from Bortsch I’m not too familiar with Russian cuisine, and to be honest, I love your idea actually – making dishes from a different region / country of the world – fantastic way to try new things so I might have to give this a try sometime! (By the way, the Bavarians make a really nice beetroot salad consisting of sliced beetroot, thick slices of onion, olive oil and vinegar and a good amount of of ground cumin – that’s really nice if you’re not a big fan of just beetroot).


    • ChefMom says:

      We were completely unfamiliar with Russian cuisine too. This has been a fun way to experiment in the wide varieties of foods all over the world. Cumin on beets…maybe that would work, but at this point I’m not optimistic. 😉 LOL. They are such a pretty vegetable though – I wish I liked them.


  6. Laura says:

    Making dumplings sounds like fun. I will add this to my list of things to try. It’s nice that you can freeze them and use them later. I like your picks for the new destinations!


    • ChefMom says:

      I’ve never had fresh beets, only the canned variety as a kid. I thought maybe the fresh beets might work…but, no. Correction: After speaking with my mom today, apparently I have had fresh beets (as well as canned). She used to grow them in our garden. She said I didn’t like them no matter how I ate them.


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