When you see this picture, you probably said to yourself, “these are Chinese Dumplings!” or even “Raviolis!”. These are actually Russian Pelmeni, tasty dumplings filled with meat and onion invented in Russia. In the United States, we often come across the “pierogi” which is a Polish/Ukrnanian delicacy, we can even find them at some local diners and frozen sections at the supermarket. But Pelmeni? Well, that is how I felt, until my husband introduced them to me.
Here is a little history I found about Pelmeni from SRAS (the School of Russian and Asian Studies).
Pelmeni were originally hunters' food. Giant sacks of frozen Pelmeni would be carried by Siberian hunters when leaving on winter expeditions (where they would stay frozen, of course. They would be boiled in melted snow and often eaten plain or with broth when meat was available.
Pelmeni are traditionally made in very large batches in a long and tedious process. After so much work, preparation is followed by a large family meal of, cucumber and tomato salad, fresh greens, and perhaps vodka or kvass (what could be more Russian?). Pelmeni can be dressed with sour cream, mayonnaise, butter, pepper, vinegar, almost any other condiment. They can also be served floating in meat broth or even in the water in which they were boiled, which sounds exactly like Chinese dumplings!
There is a saying in Russian that "пельмешки не терпят спешки." Literally this means "pelmeni can't tolerate speed demons." The saying is used, however, in the general sense of "good things come to those who wait." I can imagine the patience needed while these delicious morsels are being made… and the reward!!
Well, enough of talking about them, here is a great recipe for Pelmeni for if you were using a mold, or making them by hand.
Enjoy the cold weather and the holidays! Hope you can try some Pelmeni fresh and steaming hot right out of the pot!
- Yumi Zaic
Unicultural team and trainers, sharing our views and experiences on everything cultural.