When I featured a quick snippet of this plate bubbling away on my Instagram Stories, I could never have anticipated the reaction! Hundreds, no, thousands of people clamouring for the recipe, a recipe I wasn’t even responsible for.

It was the first night of my trip to Russia and I promised you that till the end of the trip I would carefully collect all notes.  Follow Up Siberia team realized what I am seeking for so the last night they took me to meet a well known Siberian chef,  Alexey Rovinets.  In his kitchen, the only inspiration is Siberia. That’s why many dishes are inspired and made out of raw materials. 

“All the products we use are local products. Everything comes from Siberia, “he says.

However, as I promised I wanted to learn more about pelmeni.  As we all know dumplings or ravioli are made of stuffed meat, but here, on the Yenisei river, it is prepared in a special way. For his dumplings, instead of beef Alexey Rovinets uses nelma and muksun – fish from Siberia.

we learned HOW TO MAKE PELMENI

The restaurant name “HozyainTaiga” or “Master Taiga” is not just a beautiful name of restaurant, taken from the same Soviet film, it is the place where you will find yourself in a Siberian forest fairy tale.

In order to learn the best, we had a masterclass. The chef also said that to become  experienced in the kitchen, he cut about 300 kilograms of potatoes in two days. (do not expect that skills from me, as I am still on the first 50 kilograms and it took me a years)

While we were preparing the onions and cutting the fish I had to ask the chef that one question about mixing spices. Again I got the same answer – we can mix everything and always do experiments.

“The word pelnyan means an ear made of dough, and pelmeni really are this shape. If you ever need to serve Pelmeni in several hours or even days later you need not to cook them in boiled water. Store fresh pelmeny in the fridge freezer.”

To say the truth we got already prepared dough so I couldn’t take so much notes about it. One thing noted was that if you are preparing with the milk instead of the water, you will need to add more salt.

Pelmeni consist of dough and filling.

Ingredients for Dough:

  • 2 cup wheat flour,
  • 1/2 cup milk,
  • 1 egg, beaten,
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • flour, that to flour board

Ingredients for fish filling:

  • 400 grams  – fish, fillet, ground. ( we did use fish from Siberia, but I am sure you wont find it there where you live)
  • 1 onion, medium, finely chopped.
  • 2 tbsp butter.
  • salt
  • anything you wish to add from spices.
the chef

 VS

me

Cooking instructions:

Sift the flour. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Knead the dough by hand or machine. Shape the dough into a ball, cover the dough with a kitchen towel and set aside for 30 minutes. Roll out dough on a well floured surface thinly and cut into 5 cm (2 – 2.5 inch) rounds. Put a ball of filling (about the size of a small walnut) on one half of the round and fold over making a half moon. Pinch the edges, draw the two points together making a little purse. Repeat with the remaining filling and dough.

To make fish filling: Combine all ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

As the time was passing, the onion and fish were fried a bit and we were ready. The only what was left,was to make a small circles out of dough and to slowly put the fish/onion mixture inside of them. I did enjoy it.  Even though I had childhood cooking experience,  I had to throw away first few examples as they were smashed. So guys if you are trying this at home, be careful.

After the water is boiled the pelmeni will need about 10 minutes to be ready.

You could add a side of mash, fresh greens, roasted veg, buttered peas, a crisp salad, a sour cream, or just a crunchy baguette. I guess everything is possible and experiments are allowed.

A simple but really quite spectacular supper.

Pelmeni are cheap to make and tasty – and many Russians would recall their childhood by tasting them.

If you want my sage advice – send it to the non-cook in the family right now!

We didn’t share this dish with anyone, we ate it by ourselves. 

a group photo with Follow Up Siberia bloggers ; Mridula from TravelTalesfromIndia blog and I

The lesson I learned is that most Siberians are locavores. Living in this former wilderness, they’ve learned to eat as much locally-sourced food as possible, and today they pride themselves on the quantity and freshness of the homegrown, home-preserved, and locally-foraged dishes on their tables. Even the city-dwellers like to get out into the woods to pick berries and mushrooms in the fall, or to fish in the rivers and streams.   Even our dinner we ended with Russian tea in fragile china cups, sweetened with a spoonful of homemade preserves made from cranberries picked in the taiga.

Ah I almost forgot to show you my certificate of the night – the plate and a photo with the chef:

As we were leaving the restaurant  a stormy wind was blowing from the Yenisei, worming its way under our jackets. I guess we were lucky as the whole day was above 30 degrees. Who would say that Siberia can be so warm?

More about this trip is coming soon…

 


WHAT IS FOLLOW UP SIBERIA? 

“FOLLOW UP SIBERIA!” was launched by Nornickel to provide an opportunity for people from all around the world to visit Siberia. The goal is  to get to know the cultural, educational and sporting traditions of this region prior to the 29th Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk (2019). Check their website and find what you should do in order to be considered as one of the participants. Who knows?! Maybe you are the next one who will have a chance to enjoy the Siberian cuisine and to tell us more about it.

https://www.followupsiberia.com/


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