Vegetarian Pelmeni from scratch

Vegetarian Pelmeni from scratch
13 November 2019

Who would have known that it is so difficult to find a restaurant where you can actually get vegetarian Pelmeni. Since I have arrived here I am on this mission and it has not been going good so far. I tried out two Russian restaurants where they only had the regular meat-filled ones and my flatmate made some Pelmeni, however, it was the same situation again, they were filled with meat. Even my online research turned out to be unsuccessful, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. Today I will try and make vegetarian Pelmenis from scratch using a mushroom filling. Let’s see how that goes!

I was surprised, because you really do not need a lot of ingredients for this delicacy.

Ingredients for the dough:

2/3 cups buttermilk

1 tbsp sour cream

2 large eggs (I used three because I only had small eggs)

2 cups warm water

1 1/2 tsp salt

7 cups  all-purpose flour (I added additional 6-7 tbsp, because the dough was still sticky)

Ingredients for the filling:

500 g champignons

1 onion

2 cups flour

5 tbsp oil

2 tsp salt

2 bay leaves


How to make the filling

  1. Wash the mushrooms, cut them into small cubes.
  2. Peel the onion, cut it into small pieces.
  1. Preheat your pan, add the mushrooms and cover with a lid. Once the mushroom’s moisture is released, take off the lid and cook until the water evaporates.
  2. Then add 1 tablespoon oil and the onion and let it simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.
  3. Let the filling cool off, before you will your Pelmenis.

How to Make Pelmeni Dough

  1. Mix together the eggs, buttermilk, sour cream, warm water, and salt until well blended. If you have a mixer at home, it will be much easier. Unfortunately I am living in a student flat and we do not own one so I had to use a whisk. (Life of a student)
  2. Add 4 cups flour and mix it slowly.
  3. When everything is well combined, add 3 more cups of flour. BUT do one cup at a time and wait for the dough to be well blended, before adding the next cup. Use the rest of the flour by adding one tbsp at a time, until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. Once it is no longer sticking to the bowl, continue to mix 5 minutes.
  4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface.

My flatmate came into the kitchen while I was making Pelmeni and he was so nice and offered me his help.

How to form Pelmenis

  1. There is a specific pelmeni mold, however, if you do not have one, don’t worry! I also didn’t have one, so I was just being creative. Take some of your dough and roll it into a thick log. Cut off 1 piece at a time (about gum ball sized) and form it into disks (3-4 cm) using your rolling pin. Again, I did not have one so we used a mug – a student has to be creative, right? Sprinkle rolling pin/mug and surface with flour if needed.
  1. Place 1 tsp pelmeni filling in the center.
  2. Lose the edges and pinch together.
  3. Pinch the corners together to form the Pelmeni shape.
  4. Place pelmeni onto a well-floured cutting board. Arrange pelmeni evenly on the cutting board, sprinkle with flour and place in the freezer. As you can see in the photo below, mine did not turn out very beautifully. Well at least those that I formed do not look like real Pelmenis, Oleg however, did a very good job! It is honestly not as easy as you think it might be.
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 tbsp of salt.
  2. Add FROZEN! Pelmeni and return to a boil. They should float to the top, then boil them for 3 more minutes
  3. Drain them and put them on a plate. You can even put some melted butter on top, if desired.

Voila, enjoy your vegetarian Pelmenis!

Vegetarian Pelmeni

Vegetarian Pelmeni

At this point I have to say that I ended up with a huge amount of dough and not enough filling. What I did: I used up all the filling and put the rest of the dough in the freezer for future use.

Honestly, I was very surprised –  they turned out very delicious. They might not be the most beautiful vegetarian Pelmeni, but at least they tasted good – I was very satisfied and I can only recommend this recipe. But keep in mind, if you do not want to end up with so much dough, halve the amount of each ingredient and you should be fine!

Posted by Daniela Nuic

Daniela Nuic, Croatian/Bosnian from Austria, studied transcultural communication and is currently interning at Liden & Denz in St Petersburg.

2 responses to “Vegetarian Pelmeni from scratch”

  1. Joy Metcalf says:

    It was difficult because pelmeni are *traditionally* filled with meat! It’s easy enough to change the filling. Adding spinach, kale, or even dandelion to the filling would also be tasty. Thanks for the recipe.

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