My father immigrated to the U.S. when he was just a toddler.  His mother quickly and permanently adopted the language and customs of their new country wholeheartedly leaving the old far behind.

The one and only exception is food. A few times a year she would spend the day in the kitchen preparing a feast that would last only a few minutes. Pelmeny is my favorite of those dishes, served in a simple butter broth.

My favorite dish. Russian Pelmeny served in a broth  of butter.

Elegant in its simplicity. Russian Pelmeny served in a broth of butter.

This year with the Winter Olympics hosted in Sochi Russia, my family is finally celebrating our heritage. In lieu of tangible Christmas Gifts, my brothers and I spent a day together preparing a Russian Feast. We spent 9 wonderful hours working in my mother’s kitchen getting the meal ready to freeze. We will pull it out again on February 7th and watch the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Games.

Our Menu consists of Pelmeny, Piroshki, Borscht, Infused Vodka, a Honey Layered Cake for the adults and Olympic Torch Cupcakes for the kids.

Pelmeny is a relatively easy dish to make. Folding the dough is a source of pride. In my family there is just one way to do it. The right way. I’ve photographed my mother’s technique here.pellmani page

My Grandmother would say, the Pelmeny should look like a baby’s bottom. My mother refers to the shape as a baby’s bonnet. I’m not sure if the description is a difference in translation or a difference in perception. They both seem pretty accurate to me.

Our recipe is adapted from my Grandmother’s cookbook. A printable version of our recipe is below. If you enjoy reading cookbooks you will love this one. Here’s an excerpt from the pelmeny recipe: Every housewife in Siberia always makes a lot of these little meat turnovers during the cold winter months. Some are cooked and eaten right away, but others are hung in a bag outdoors to freeze stiff. Frozen, they keep for weeks, can be taken on journeys or hunting expeditions, and are said to better than ever when defrosted and cooked after a long glacial wait. 

“Na zdorovye!” (To you health!)

4.3 from 3 reviews
A traditional Siberian recipe for Pelmeny. Made just like they did in the old country by hand and with a kitchen full of family.
Cuisine: Russian
Recipe type: meat filled noodle
Serves: 6-8
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • Filling
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 tbsp water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Dough Recipe
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ water
  • Butter
  1. Mix filling ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Sift flour and salt together.
  3. Add yolks and water into flour to make a stiff paste.
  4. Knead well. Let rest 1 hour.
  5. Roll as thin as possible without tearing. A pasta maker works well too.
  6. Use round 3 inch cookie or biscuit cutters to cut the dough.
  7. Put one heaping teaspoon in the center of each circle.
  8. Moisten edges with an egg white. Fold in half. Pinch firmly. Fold outer edges together to make a tiny bundle.
  9. Freeze hard.
  10. Cook in boiling water for 15 minutes or until they float. Strain and serve with butter in a warm dish.


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12 thoughts on “Pelmeny

  1. I have never heard of these. They sound and look yummy! I will have to try these. I love trying new food. 🙂
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  2. They remind me of dumplings but I love the shape of yours. I smiled at the different ways Grandma and Mom described the shape of the pelmeny. Спасибо!

  3. katherine bartlett says:

    My family comes from Italy and I love learning new recipes!

    • I wonder what your family will think of this dish Katherine? The technique is similar but the seasonings are quite different.

  4. Those look like a nice winter dish! I would definitely try it it looks so good!

    • Thanks, if you do, I would love to hear what you think of the recipe.

  5. Oh, it looks delicious! It’s pretty high in carbs though, so if I ever eat this, I have to be prepared for an intensive gym session afterwards 🙂

    • You are right Tory, did I mention I’m a long distance runner? This is a once a year treat for our family, but so worth it!

  6. I have never heard of pelmeny before but now I really want to try it out! And it sure looks like baby’s bottom, your granny was right 😉 Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • I hope you do Joanna! It’s great comfort food.

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