This Russian pelmeni recipe makes the Russian dumplings stuffed with savoury pork and beef mince that are boiled and served with sour cream and fresh fragrant dill. This is hearty home-cooked Russian comfort food at its best. Made in big batches these Russian-Ukrainian dumplings are typically shared as a family meal, especially for Russian Christmas, Easter, Sunday lunches and dinners.
My Russian pelmeni recipe makes Russian dumplings just like my baboushka, my mum, and her baboushka made. I grew up eating Russian food, which I learnt to make as a child by watching my Russian grandmother and mother. After baba died, my mum and dad and little sister continued making these comforting Russian dumplings at home, and we’d gorge ourselves on them whenever we got together.
After Terence and I left Australia in 1998 to move to the Middle East, we created our own tradition of making a Russian feast every excuse we had, from Russian Christmas and Russian Easter to whenever the weather turned even a little bit cold for our stupidly short ‘winters’, when I’d don my apron and get the rolling pin out and channel my Russian baboushka. I’ll tell you more about this Russian pelmeni recipe in a moment.
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Russian Pelmeni Recipe for Russian Dumplings Just Like My Baboushka Made
Every Christmas and Russian Christmas, it doesn’t matter where we are in the world, I dig out this traditional Russian pelmeni recipe and Terence and I make these traditional Russian dumplings stuffed with savoury pork and beef mince, which we boil and serve with sour cream and fresh fragrant dill.
We also make a handful of other old-school Russian recipes, which I’ll tell you about in the posts I’ll be sharing over coming days, that include varenyki (dumplings stuffed with mashed potato), my baboushka’s hearty borscht, stuffed cabbage rolls, her pink potato and beetroot salad, and a simple garden salad that my papa loved, among other Russian specialties.
No additional tips this time for making my Russian pelmeni recipe as I’ve provided very detailed instructions, below, for my Baboushka’s Russian dumplings. Please don’t be intimidated by the detail, as they’re actually very easy to make once you get the hang out of it. I made a small batch of pelmeni this afternoon in 30 minutes.
Most Russian cooks don’t make small batches, they make enough to feed an army or a big family. Or a small family with plenty of leftovers that can be fried the day after, or frozen, or shared with friends and neighbours. So if you want to do as I did this afternoon, just halve or quarter the ingredients, and please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions in the comments below or by email.
For now, I’ll leave you to don your apron and get out the rolling pin and make my Russian pelmeni recipe while we return to the kitchen to put on another batch of dumplings on to boil and sit down for our own Russian Christmas Eve dinner. More from us tomorrow when we’ll share more traditional Russian recipes.
Russian Pelmeni Recipe
- 500 g All Purpose Flour
- 350 ml water
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp neutral cooking oil
- 1 large white onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 250 g pork mince
- 250 g beef mince
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- Make the dough first (as it can rest while you make your fillings) by pouring the flour onto your kitchen workspace into a mound. Poke a hole in the centre and add the salt, then pour one-third of the water into the hole, and using your hands, start to combine.
- Add a little more water and knead, but don’t over-knead. Once it’s combined, form the dough into a ball and set it aside to rest. (If you prefer, you could combine it in a big mixing bowl instead of on the bench, bring it out of the bowl for a knead, then return it to the bowl to let it rest.)
- Make your filling by frying the onion and garlic in a pan in cooking oil until the onion is translucent. Combine the onion and garlic in a mixing bowl with the raw pork mince and beef mince, salt, pepper, and paprika. Pop the bowl in the fridge while you’re preparing your pelmeni casings.
- To prepare your pelmeni casings, sprinkle your kitchen workspace with a little flour so that the dough doesn’t stick to the surface. Split your ball of dough into quarters and put a clean tea towel or cloth over the dough you’re not using. Use a rolling pin, roll a ball of dough out into a large oval shape to around 3mm thickness. Do not turn it over – the exterior can be dusted in flour, but not the interior.
- Use the rim of a glass (7cm diameter), turned upside down, to create the dumpling rounds. Begin at the top edge and work your way around and then into the centre, leaving no space between rounds. Twist the glass back and forth a few times to cut through the dough.
- Once you’re done, pull the leftover dough away, and roll it into a ball and pop it under the cloth with the rest of the dough. If they feel dry you can dampen the tea towel, or wrap each ball in cling wrap or aluminium foil.
- To fill your pelmeni casings, scoop out some savoury meat mince mixture with a teaspoon, aiming for around 8gms per teaspoon. Place the mixture on the centre of the casing, and do this for each casing, as this helps to ensure they’re of equal sized. Work quickly, though, so they don’t dry out.
- Holding one filled casing in your left hand, fold half over with your right hand, then starting at one end, pinch the sides together, working your way down to the other side until it’s completely sealed. If your dough rested and is nice and soft and smooth, it should seal easily. If it isn’t, pour some water in a small dish, dip your pointer finger into the dish, and rub a little water (not too much) along the interior edge and that should do the trick. Then bring the two ends together, press them together, and pop them on a tray lightly dusted with flour.
- Bring a big pot of water to a boil, throw in a pinch of salt, turn the heat down a little to a gentle boil (so it doesn’t tear the casings apart), then carefully slide the dumplings into the water and turn up the heat a little.
- After the dumplings rise to the surface, give them a couple of minutes, then scoop them out and pop them into a casserole dish with a tablespoon of quality butter. When they’re all in the dish, gently move it from side to side to ensure the pelmeni are all covered in butter.
- Take another ball of dough and repeat that process to make another batch. Any leftovers can be fried the next day. Alternatively, you can keep balls of dough wrapped in cling wrap in the fridge overnight and make more batches the next day. You can also freeze finished batches by freezing them on their tray first, then when frozen put them into ziplock bags.
- Serve pelmeni in a casserole dish at the centre of the table with a big bowl of sour cream sprinkled with fresh dill and a selection of other Russian dishes to be shared family-style, or portion out on individual plates, plopping a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of dill on each plate.
Do let us know if you tried my Russian pelmeni recipe in the comments below, by email or on social media as I’d love to know how they turned out for you.