One of the most exciting conclusions of my world travels is that virtually every country or culture features a dumpling dish. They are all a little bit different, with slightly different sizes, shapes and of course flavours, but there is no mistaking it: humans just love the textures of a richly spiced ground meat enveloped in a warm, soft dough then either dunked in a soup or topped with some kind of gravy or sauce.
Russia (and also Ukraine and Eastern Europe in general) is no exception to this rule. Pelmeni are bite size dumplings, filled with ground beef typically, but I prefer ground chicken. For a quick weeknight supper, I prefer to use the handmade pelmeni by Marina's Cuisine which is sold at the Italian Centre. The chicken inside is chewy, with hints of vinegar and onion. Delicious.
When I lived in Russia, the pelmeni I had was always topped with butter, sour cream and sometimes dill. Delicious. But tonight I shook things up a bit by making a tomato lentil stew with finely chopped grilled mushrooms, and then garnishing with a yoghurt, pink Himalayan crystal salt, cracked black pepper, basil infused olive oil and chopped basil.
So. darn. tasty. The only danger with this dish is that you just can't stop.