пельменей (pelmeni)

pelmeni are russian dumplings. like many other types of dumplings, they have a thin dough on the outside and a delicious treat on the inside. the recipe is a russian classic, although i am sure there are slight variations amongst different regions or even families. despite being russian, i typically do not prefer russian food – too heavy, too salty, or too much mayonaise. but i’d never say no to pelmeni. they are perfect, especially in the winter.

makes 80-90 dumplings

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon salt, plus more for boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 peppercorns
  • sour cream, to serve
  • vinegar, to serve

in a food processor, pulse together flour and 1 teaspoon salt. add in eggs and pulse. add in water, 1/4 cup at a time, until dough forms. dough should be tough and elastic. knead with your hands for 3-4 minutes. place dough in a bowl coated with a little bit of olive oil and cover with a damp towel. let dough sit for 20 minutes.

meanwhile, prepare the filling. in the food processor, puree the onions. transfer to large bowl and mix with meat, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

once dough is ready, cut into quarters. place three of the pieces back into the bowl and cover. take the remaining piece of dough and roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/16 of an inch. it should be thin but still hold some weight. using a glass or cookie cutter, cut out circles with a 2 inch diameter. take the scraps and return them to the bowl with the remaining dough.


scoop 1/2-1 teaspoon of meat into the center of each circle.


using your fingers, pinch the dough closed, making sure that the meat stays in the center of the dumpling. repeat with the remaining dough, including the scrap pieces.


once you’ve sealed your pelmeni, put them into the freezer on a baking tray for at least 1/2 an hour. once they are ready to cook, bring heavily salted water to a boil. add in a bay leaf and peppercorns for taste. drop pelmeni into water in batches, making sure not to overcrowd them. cook for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally. once done, lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon.

serve immediately with some vinegar and sour cream (about 1 teaspoon of each, but it’s a personal preference).