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The word pelmeni is derived from pel'nyan' (пельнянь) – literally "ear bread". Pelmeni belong to the family of dumplings, and are related to Ukrainian vareniki, Polish pierogi and Italian Tertellini. In the United States and Canada, the typical pelmen' is about 2 to 3 centimetres in diameter.

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Delicious Pelmeni


The most important difference between pelmeni, vareniki, and pierogi is the thickness of the dough shell and the size. In pelmeni this is as thin as possible, and the proportion of filling to dough is usually high. Pelmeni are never served with a sweet filling, which distinguishes them from Ukrainian vareniki and Polish pierogi, which sometimes are. Also, the fillings in pelmeni are usually raw, while the fillings of vareniki and pierogi are typically precooked. Pelmeni can be kept frozen for long periods of time with little loss of quality or flavor, and the water they are boiled in is useful for making soup. They are prepared immediately before eating by boiling in salted water until they float, and then two to five minutes more. Regional differences exist in the boiling of pelmeni. In the Urals, they are always boiled in water, while in Siberia they are boiled in salted water or sometimes meat or chicken broth. The cooked pelmeni are served on their own or topped with melted butter or sour cream. Mustard, horseradish, tomato sauce, and vinegar are popular, as well.

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