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  • Writer's pictureKonky's Creative Kitchen

Ukrainian Pelmeni - Українські пельмені

These beautiful, pillowy dumplings are made in so many ways and from so many countries. The true origin of Pelmeni even baffles the experts. The fillings can be different, depending on where you are or how your mother used to make them. These are popular in Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and are considered an adaptation of the Chinese version, jiaozi.

These beautiful bites can be made either by hand or with a special frame called "Pelmenitsa", which resembles a honeycomb shaped ravioli mold that can make 37 at a time. These are great in a bowl with some butter, a fresh stock, a hearty gravy, etc. It's entirely up to you on how you would like to present them.

European style ravioli or also called dumplings
Ukrainian Pelmeni

INGREDIENTS: For the Dough -

400g AP or 00 Flour 8oz Water, warm Kosher salt, few pinches For the Filling -

1lb/453g Ground beef (or other ground meat, or combination) 8oz White onion, finely minced 2-3 TB Garlic, minced 1 1/2 TB Thyme, dried 1 TB Kosher salt 1 tsp Black pepper

For the Stock - 2 QT Choice of homemade stock Red wine vinegar - to your liking Fresh Dill - to your liking Kosher salt - to your liking Black Pepper - to your liking

Garlic - finely minced - to your liking 1. In a mixing bowl, combine your flour, warm water, and kosher salt in a bowl. Mix as if you were making a pasta dough. You may need to make minor adjustments due to the humidity of your kitchen. If the dough is too wet, add a couple tablespoons of flour. If the dough is too dry, add a couple tablespoons of warm water. Keep kneading the dough until it is smooth.

2. Once you have made the dough, divide in half and leave this in your mixing bowl, Cover with a tea-towel. The dough must rest for at least 30 minutes.

3. While the dough rests, now you will need to make the filling. Mix all of your filling ingredients into a new bowl and mix this well. The onions and garlic must be finely minced for this. Your mixture must be mixed vigorously until you have developed a smooth consistency. Set this aside when done.

4.) Roll out your pelmeni dough with a rolling pin. The goal is to roll out both your dough balls larger than the circumference of the pelmenitsa. Or, if you are doing the hand method, simply use a round cutter after rolling out the dough. YGently flour the surface you are working on. (You can follow my dumpling video for folding on Youtube, if you dont have a pelmenitsa) For the pelmenitsa, the dough must not be too thin, so be careful how even you roll out the dough. Rotate the dough a quarter turn until this is larger than your pelmenitsa. Do this to both dough balls.

5.) Gently lay one rolled dough on top of your pelmenitsa. A disposable pastry bag makes a world of difference for filling the cells with your meat mixture. Or, you can use your hands, but this will take much longer to do.

example of how much meat filling to use in a pelmenitsa
Portion of meats per cell on the pelmenitsa board

6. Make sure the filling is as even as possible. Go back and make adjustments if necessary. Lightly wet around the dough with a pastry brush and water. This will help your top rolled rough layer.

7. With your second dough rolled out, you will now lay directly on top of the pelmenitsa. With a large cutting board, place directly on top and press downward to anchor the dough layers together. This will help press together in place before you continue.

8. With a rolling pin, you will roll over the mold to help crease the dough together. The end result will be that the pelmeni should be sealed, cut, and easily removed from the pelmenitsa

9. Once fully sealed, you can tap the pelmenitsa on your counter and that should help get the pelmeni to release. You may have to gently push a few out. Gently flour the loosened pelmeni. Inspect the seals to make sure the dough has sealed appropriately

Pelmeni is cut and sealed through the pelmenitsa board
The Pelmenitsa helps seal each pelmeni.

10. In a medium sized pot with boiling, salted water, high heat, you will now boil the pelmeni. These can take as long as seven minutes to cook. Once the pelmeni have floated to the top, cook for two minutes more. Remove them into a slotted spoon and place into a container of melted butter or olive oil. 11. In a small pot, add your stock ingredients and bring up to a boil. You must season it to your own liking. Into each bowl, add your cooked pelmeni and ladle your stock over the pelmeni.

GARNISH SUGGESTIONS: Sour cream, fresh dill, finely diced carrots, onions, celery.

This dish also can be served in a tomato-wine stock for robust flavor.

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