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Recipe of Best Big Meat "Ravioli"- How to Make Russian Pelmeni

Updated on March 22, 2013
Image by IzoSoft
Image by IzoSoft

Cuisine heritage

If you came across my other hubs with recipes, you noticed that I love Russian cuisine and it is understandable. Usually, you cook food that you loved from your childhood. When I was little, I loved to visit one of my mother's friends also because in their house they always had pelmeni, something my mother didn't make (she was too busy for this), but what i just loved.

What is pelmeni?

First of all, "pelmeni" is a plural form of "pelmen", but they never use this word in singular talking about this food, because it is just impossible (im-po-ssi-ble!) to eat this food in a singular item. If you sit down for pelmeni, you won't stop until you are stuffed up to your ears.

So, still, WHAT is pelmeni?

Pelmeni are one of the traditional Russian foods and probably one of the most ancients. If you try to find an equivalent for this food in Europe, the closest would be ravioli, though the only similarity is their appearance. Nothing tastes like pelmeni.

In numerous sources you will find that “pelmeni” originated in Siberia and the name itself came from Komi word “pelnyan” which means “dough-ear,” a food that is half-circular shape (Komi is a people from Ural area). However, if you dig deeper, you’ll find out that this food most likely came from Mongolian people, who in their turn borrowed it from the Chinese pot-stickers and dumpling and during invasion of Russia introduced it to the Urals and even further. East European pirogies are grandchildren to pelmeni. Italian kitchen created ravioli, which are pelmeni’s closest relatives in appearance (not in taste)

To make a summary of it, “pelmeni” are dough packets with meat filling. Pelmeni filling is made with ground beef and pork mixed with minced onion and salt. You may vary, mixing ground beef with ground turkey or chicken, or even ground buffalo meat.

Pelmeni are a family event food in Russian homes, as very often the whole family gathers around the table to make pelmeni, they make them in hundreds and freeze them for further use.

Nowadays, there is a whole industry of making pelmeni using the machinery and they are sold in frozen food sections of Russian supermarkets. But nothing tastes like home made pelmeni and any Russian housewife would consider it almost an insult to use factory made pelmeni on her table. Busy people, students and bachelors are the categories who eat factory made pelmeni.

Pelmeni basic recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

To make dough: Sift the flour into a large bowl. Many people do it into a pile on a clean surface. I personally like to knead the dough in a big bowl. Crack the eggs into a cup, beat them to mix whites and yolks. Add warm (not hot) water into eggs and mix it well. Make an indentation in the top of a flour pile and pour egg/water mixture into that indentation. First mix everything with a fork, and then start kneading the dough vigorously. Pelmeni dough should be elastic and soft, but not sticky. Cover the dough and let stand for 30 minutes before assembly. By the way, it helps if you knead the dough with breaks. It also rests your arms and the dough rests too. Every time you make a short break, cover the dough with a clean white cloth. Why white cloth? I don’t know…. This is what I was told to do and this is what many Russian women do. Probably this is a "nohow" of making real Russian (or Siberian, or Ural, as the variations are called) pelmeni.

Filling: For best results, whole beef, pork and diced onions should be placed in a meat grinder together and ground twice. Or just use the store made ground meat, mix the beef, pork, onions, pepper, and ½ tsp salt together.

Now let's make pelmeni

Roll the dough into a long "sausage", or snake one inch in diameter. Cut the dough at one-inch intervals
Roll the dough into a long "sausage", or snake one inch in diameter. Cut the dough at one-inch intervals
Roll the pieces (flatten) into circles 1/16 to 1/32 of an inch thick
Roll the pieces (flatten) into circles 1/16 to 1/32 of an inch thick
Place a tablespoon of the meat filling in the center and fold the dough over, pinching it to completely seal the pelmeni into a small packet. Pinch together the ends, making pelmeni "round"
Place a tablespoon of the meat filling in the center and fold the dough over, pinching it to completely seal the pelmeni into a small packet. Pinch together the ends, making pelmeni "round"


You can freeze pelmeni uncooked and store them for future use.

To cook pelmeni: boil a generous amount of water with 1 tsp. salt. Drop the pelmeni one by one into the boiling water. Stir pelmeni gently after you dropped all of them to prevent them from sticking to each other or to the bottom of the pot. Pelmeni will start floating and rolling in the boiling water. They are ready to eat when they float to the top and stay there steady (approximately 5-6 minutes).

The best part: Serve pelmeni with butter and salt, sour cream and dill, sour cream and vinegar, as a soup with meat broth (you may boil the pelmeni in meat broth for added flavor). Pelmeni are very good served with salads of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes with mayonnaise or sour cream.

To make it really Russian: put a bottle of good vodka on the table. Pelmeni and vodka go really great together!

Watch how they make pelmeni

Russian Pelmeni is a real treat.

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    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      10 years ago from USA

      ReuVera, I'm so happy to have found your hubs as your writing and recipes remind me so much of food my grandmothers and mother made. The pelmeni are made much like my Polish grandmother made pierogis–I can't wait to try making them. I look forward to reading your other hubs and trying some other recipes.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      10 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Very interesting, and I love learning about other country's foods. Great hub

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      Thank you, all, for your encouragement!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Looks and sounds wonderful! Very informative hub!

    • Patricia Di profile image

      Patricia Di 

      10 years ago

      This looks delicious. I can't wait to try this recipe. Wow it looks good. Thank you so much for commenting on my hub. I appreicate it. I'm honored to have you as my 1st fan.

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      Angeline, my son came for a weekend and I made pelmeni for him, so it was a good reason to make a hub out of it.

      And.. so thank you for a "cheat" idea :) I'll try this too. ;)

    • anglnwu profile image


      10 years ago

      When I first saw the pictures, I say to myself, "Boy, those look like Chinese dumplings" and true enough, you trace these pelmeni back to its Chinese origin.

      I love them too.Of course, I made them Chinese style--I also cheat--I buy "wanton skin" or "dumpling skin" and stuff them with meat mixed Chinese seasonings.

      Lovely pictures of the art of making pelmeni and like you say, you can never just have one. Thanks and rated up.

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      Pop, save it for your 2010 Senate Races school lectures....

      Thank you for following my cooking.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      10 years ago

      This recipe has my mouth watering. I am going to make this for sure. Thank you.

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      dinkan, you are right, pelmeni won't be ready when they just float to the top. I wrote, "when they float to the top and stay there". Sorry that I didn't write more precise. I changed the text a little after your input. Thanks. Actually, they will float almost immediately, but they will be rolling and diving in boiling water. Only after they float steady, they will be cooked.

      I love them with mayonnaise, yes!

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      Vladimir, it is good for sure!

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      Sarah, thank you!

    • dinkan53 profile image


      10 years ago from India

      It won't be cooked every time when it floats, the easiest method is taking it out 3-5 minutes after they float to the top. Pelmeni is good with garlic sause or maionese.

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 

      10 years ago from HubPages, FB

      Um tasty.

    • sjk6101983 profile image


      10 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      Yummy! :) you make the best recipes! xoxo p.s. happy belated Mother's Day! :)


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