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