Our quest to sample the local food of Russia continued in Perm, a city in the North of the Ural Mountains. We heard that a regional speciality came in the form of small, tortellini-like stuffed dumplings. Due to our tight budget (and inability to understand or order from a menu!) we opted for one (randomly selected) of the many frozen varieties we had seen for sale in supermarkets, with the added bonus that staying in a great new hostel meant we had access to cooking facilities. The hostel staff viewed our attempts with bemusement but were impressed at our efforts so invited us to join them in making homemade pelmeni the following evening.
Exhausted, hot and sweaty after a full-on tourist day sightseeing in Perm, we arrived back to not just the ingredients laid-out ready for us but also a film crew and presenter from the local news channel to record the momentous occasion. The arrival of the hostel’s first ‘foreign’ guests and their interest in local cuisine was clearly a novelty.
The ingredients are pretty simple (try at home if you fancy a taste of Russia!)
· 1 egg
· 1 cup flour
· 1 cup water
· 300g Pork mince
· 300g Beef Mince
· Salt and Pepper to season
Beat the egg in a bowl and mix in the flour- add water, mixing well, until a firm dough is formed. In a separate bowl, combine the pork and beef mince, season and knead well using your fingertips. Roll out the dough thinly then cut out small rounds (we used a vodka shot glass!). Roll each dough round again until 1-2mm thick.
Place a teaspoon of mince in the middle, fold the dough over the meat (to make a semi-circular parcel) then pinch the edges firmly to seal the parcel. Finally, take the 2 corners of the semi-circle and ‘twist’ in opposite directions to form the tortellini shape then pinch together. Add the finished Pelmeni to boiling water for approximately 10-12 minutes and serve with a tomato or mushroom sauce or simply ketchup and mayonnaise. Delicious and extremely amusing to witness our Russian-dubbed selves the following evening on the news.
We would like to thank the staff of Hostel P for making our stay truly memorable- Maria, Julia, Dasha, Irena and Jenya.