"Pelmeni" The National Russian Dish
In Russia there are many interesting and delicious dishes, but pelmeni (Russian dumplings) are one of the most popular and frequently eaten by Russians. The reason is simple, it is very easy to buy frozen pelmeni in supermarkets and boil them for 5 minutes. Russian type has a few differences from dumplings of other countries, and in this article we will tell about it. If you travel to Russia it won’t be very easy to taste this dish.
Usually you can’t buy pelmeni at fast-food. You will need to go to a restaurant or you will need a kitchen to cook it. We Russians often say that pelmeni is a dish for bachelors. It`s easy to buy and cook. In the times of the Soviet Union we preferred to prepare this dish by ourselves. The cooking recipe is simple. You need to mix flour with water, eggs and salt and you will receive the dough. Then you need to prepare the filling, mixing minced meat with onion and some spices. Then roll the dough and cut it into small round pieces. We usually use a cup or glass for this. The last step is to put the filling in the center of the round pieces of dough and close it.
You will receive a round or half round pieces between 1,2 and 2,8 inches (3 and 7 centimetre) size. This is Russian pelmeni. Now it is hard to find people who prepare pelmeni at home. Most of Russians prefer to buy it in a supermarket. In a small photo gallery below you can see many different types of pelmeni you could find in Russian supermarkets. Some features of Russian pelmeni First, remember that a filling of pelmeni should be made only of meat. It may be beef, pork, chicken, lamb or a mix of these types of meat. A little onion and spices also may be added. If a filling made of curd, potato or anything else, then this dish is called "vareniki". If you buy pelmeni at the supermarket, they may be only frozen. For example, in Italy you may purchase dried ravioli, but pelmeni should be only frozen. You should not let them defrost. If you let it happen, pelmeni will cling to each other and you will have something like big pie.
Russian people prefer the boiling method of cooking. In very rare cases we fry it on a pan. We never saw Russians steaming pelmeni. Pelmeni with fish are widespread in some regions of Russia in Siberia. In the European part of our country they are not very popular and it`s hard to find it in a shop or supermarket. We don’t recommend you to try to bring pelmeni from Russia because they should be frozen. It’s amazing! There is no any widespread fast-food in Russia, which offer pelmeni as a main dish. For example, if you travel to Nepal, you will find momoes (it is type of Tibetan and Nepali dumplings) on every street. In China it is also easy to find it. But in Russia only few fast-foods like "Kroshka-Kartoshka" (translates as "Little Potato") or "Melenka" (translates as "Mill") may offer you pelmeni.
But we don`t recommend you to taste this dish in these fast-foods, it is terrible. Russians usually eat pelmeni at dinner. We think this dish is more delicious with sour cream. Butter, sunflower oil or vinegar can be added too. Young people prefer to mix mayonnaise and ketchup as a sauce. Most famous and interesting brands there are many brands of pelmeni in Russia and we will tell about the most interesting of them. Our marketing and brand managers have a rich imagination. Some brands will amaze you. This is the most famous brand of pelmeni in Russia. The sales started in the 70s in the Soviet Union. These pelmeni were produced in Moscow at Ostankino food plant. They called "Ostankinskie".
Their cube form package is easy to remember. It is in red and white. The box is made only of cardboard. Maybe it is the reason for its popularity, because Russians are fond of everything natural and don`t like plastics. "Ostankinskie pelmeni" is the most famous brand, but it is the low-cost product as well. In Russia you can buy it for 70-90 rubles for a pack with half kilo. It is extremely cheap. Sometimes we doubt if there is real meat inside or it is soybean. The next brand was designed especially for children. Russian manufacturers of pelmeni are very concerned with increasing sales. The first step they made was the creation of small size pelmeni convenient for children.
The next step they made was a special box designed to be popular among little consumers. These pelmeni are called "Smeshariki" on the surface of the box you may see pictures of the characters of the most popular Russian modern cartoon. This cartoon is also called "Smeshariki", and its characters are round shape animals. Kids in Russia love them. These brands for children have usually much higher price and better quality. These pelmeni cost 150-200 rubles for half a kilo. Compare them with "Ostanskienskie" of 80 rubles. You should feel the difference. From 2004 to 2014 Russia became increasingly rich country. Many new brands were put on the market and most of them were of "premium class".
Some companies declare their pelmeni are handmade. The truth is it doesn`t matter if they are handmade or produced by automatic lines. You will never feel the difference. It is just a marketing strategy. See one of such brands as "Sibirskaya kollekcia" (translates as "Siberian collection") these pelmeni cost 200-250 rubles for half a kilo. The cost of these pelmeni is similar to beef. Maybe that is why not many people purchase it. Another high-quality brand called "Raznoves" (translates as "Set of different weights") has the same price.
The most positive brand of Russian is pelmeni. They are called "Vkusmailiki" (translates as "Tasty smiles"). Some interesting facts about pelmeni - One of the most well known Russians comic team called "Uralskie pelmeni" ("Pelmeni of the Urals"). - In the Russian translation of "Beavis and Butt-Head" cartoon one of the characters has a nickname of "pelmen". - Very rarely in supermarkets one can find pelmeni with the filling made of fake meat. These soyabean dumplings are designed for vegetarians.
* In some regions of Russia the word "pelmen" is an abuse. For example, "He is as stupid as a pelmen". This phrase is not used in Moscow.