The word pelmeni is derived from pel'nyan' (пельнянь) and means "ear bread" in the native Finno-Ugric Komi and Mansi languages.
There are many variations of Pelmeni in other cuisines: Italians have Ravioli and Tortellini. Manti and Khinkali are well known Caucasian dumplings. Jewish cuisine has Kreplach which are small dumplings filled with ground meat, mashed potatoes or another filling, usually boiled and served in chicken soup. And, of course, I should mention the brother and the sister of Russian pelmeni: Ukrainian vareniki and Polish pierogi.
Now I have a confession to make: I don't know how to cook pelmeni. I've always been thinking that it's too complicated for my culinary abilities. But the good news are that I've found this Pelmeni recipe and it looks 100% right and not too sophisticated. Now I definitely have to try it!
Russian Pelmeni Recipe - from RussianFoods.com
2 c flour
1 c milk or water
1/2 ts salt
1 tb vegetable oil
250 g beef
250 g pork
Salt and pepper
Grind beef and pork twice in meat chopper. Then add chopped onion, salt, pepper. To make mincemeat more tender and juicy, add a bit of milk. Reserve. Mix flour with eggs and milk, salt and oil until a soft dough forms. Knead on floured surface until dough is elastic. Take some dough and make a "sausage" (1 inch in diameter). Divide into pieces (1 inch thick). Roll each piece into a circle close to the size (a little bit larger) of the mold holes so that it is 1/16 inch thick. Place a dough sheet on the dumplings mold, then the filling in every opening, then cover with another dough sheet. After that roll the dough circle with a rolling-pin and you have a two dozens of pelmeni at a time! Use the rest of the dough that comes out from the mold to roll another circle.
Pelmeni can be frozen to be cooked later (you can keep them in the freezer for a long time), or cooked immediately. To cook pelmeni, boil much water, so that they cannot stick to each other. Salt water. Carefully drop pelmeni into boiling water. Don't forget to stir from time to time. Boil for 20 minutes. Pelmeni can be served with butter, sour cream, vinegar or ketchup.
Learn more about Pelmeni