Taste of Russia

Dumpling dilemma: Making perfect pelmeni from scratch - Taste of Russia Ep.5

Glen tells Oscar he’s worried that he’s gained weight after all their culinary adventures. This time he wants his friend to show him something simple. What could be simpler than pelmeni? The frozen ready-to-boil meat-filled dumplings can be found in any Russian grocery store.

Some form of dumpling is a traditional part of national cuisine in many countries, and Russia is no exception. The Russian version is a staple in many homes and restaurants. But hold on a minute! Oscar tells Glen that the only good pelmeni are made with your own hands. There’s also another snag, you need a handmade clay pot to boil them in.

Pelmeni recipe
Pelmeni recipe

So, the first visit is to a potter, where Glen learns to throw his own pelmeni pot. While his masterpiece is fired in a kiln, Oscar shows him how to make pelmeni from scratch. This involves grinding three kinds of meat, making the right type of dough, and shaping every single dumpling by hand. A thousand pelmeni later, Oscar and Glen are ready to boil some, but first they have to collect Glen’s pot.

Teshti Kebab Dough recipe
Teshti Kebab Dough recipe

Tucking into a savoury clay crock of pelmeni with a dollop of sour cream, Glen is truly impressed with the result of their labour… which didn’t turn out so simple after all. And there’s a surprise! His pottery teacher has brought a Turkish delicacy called teshti kebab – lamb and vegetables cooked over hot coals in a clay pot sealed with dough. Now Glen’s worried about his waistline again!

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