Russian cuisine : pelmeni.
Sent by Maria, a postcrosser from St. Petersburg, Russia.
Pelmeni (Russian pronunciation: [pʲɪlʲˈmʲɛnʲɪ]; Russian: пельме́ни — plural, пельмень pelʼmenʼ — singular) are dumplings consisting of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough.
The dough is made from flour and water, sometimes adding a small portion of eggs.
The filling can be minced meat (pork, lamb, beef, or any other kind of meat), fish, or mushrooms. The mixing together of different kinds of meat is also popular. The traditional Udmurt recipe requires a mixture of 45% beef, 35% mutton, and 20% pork. Pelmeni in Perm (west of the Ural Mountains) are often filled with mushrooms, onions, turnips, or sauerkraut instead of meat. Various spices, such as black pepper and onions, are mixed into the filling.
The word pelmeni is derived from pel'nyan' (пельнянь) – literally "ear bread" in the native Finno-Ugric Komi, Udmurt, and Mansilanguages. It is unclear when pelmeni entered the cuisines of the indigenous Siberian people and when they first appeared in Russian cuisine. One theory suggests pelmeni, or stuffed boiled dumplings in general, originated in Moscow (thus explaining the use of spices such as black pepper, which are not native to Russia and had to be imported) and were carried by the Mongols toSiberia and the Urals, from where they gradually spread as far as Eastern Europe. Pelmeni are particularly good means of quickly preserving meat during long Siberian winter, especially eliminating the need to feed livestock during the long winter months.
Pilmän (the Tatar equivalent of pelmeni) are a traditional dish in Tatar cuisine, where they have always been served with clear soup. (read further)