Whole Wheat Pelmeni are Russian dumplings made with wholesome ingredients. This pelmeni dumpling is made like the classic dough only the flour contains whole grain packed with nutrients. These pelmeni dumplings have a savory chicken filling that everyone loves and you don’t need a pelmeni maker!
We love Russian Pelmeni! Typically, we’ll make a hefty batch of frozen pelmeni and use them for pelmeni recipes later. Pelmeni Soup is a quick and easy meal or you can prepare them by boiling them in water and tossing it in pelmeni sauce. Pelmeni is always served with sour cream at our house.
What is Pelmeni?
Homemade Pelmeni are the best! Whole Wheat Pelmeni dumplings are made of a few simple ingredients and the filling is typically savory like meat, potato, or cabbage. This dough recipe of pelmeni is rolled thin and wrapped with a chicken filling which is basically ground meat, onion, and spices. My other favorite fillings include a sauteed sauerkraut and onion filling. Once filled, you shape the dough into a half-moon shape and seal the edges. You can leave it like vareniki (Ukrainian pelmeni) or fold down the corners to make a wonton shape dumpling, which is what I did.
A pelmeni maker will make little hexagon shapes or you can invest in a heavy-duty pelmeni press if you want to get serious. The key to well-shaped pelmeni dough is to make the dough very firm so it doesn’t break apart when boiling. I like to add some eggs to bind the dough better and add a small portion of oil. This recipe can be used with all-purpose white flour. Simply swap out the whole wheat flour with bread or all-purpose flour. You must do this by weight in grams because the metric cups will differ from whole wheat flour and white flour.
Whole Wheat Pelmeni Ingredients:
Whole Wheat Pelmeni Dough tastes just as good and chewy as the classic dumplings. Only they are a little darker in color from the whole grain and way healthier! Weigh the flour on a scale for consistent results and if you are planning to swap out the flour for another.
- Pelmeni Dough: for the dough, I use whole wheat flour (from hard white wheat grain that I mill using my grain mill), water, eggs, salt, and sunflower oil.
- Meat Filling: chicken pelmeni is with ground chicken (you could use beef or pork), onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Adding a little water can help make filling dumplings easier.
- Pelmeni Sauce: our favorite way to eat meat dumplings after they have boiled is to toss them in butter, a few splashes of white distilled vinegar, and a sprinkle of black pepper. It makes a delicious coating to the Pelmeni that is so flavorful!
- Sour Cream: this is the traditional way to serve Pelmeni. Simply dollop it over the warm dumplings or dip them in.
How To Make Whole Wheat Pelmeni:
To cook pelmeni you prepare the pelmeni first, then boil them in salted water like pasta. Once they float to the top, they are usually done within 5 minutes or so. You can also fry pelmeni after boiling to crisp them up, but that is optional.
- Grind hard white wheat or use store-bought White Whole Wheat Flour. The dumplings will be lighter in color and not as robust and hardy as the red wheat.
- Prepare the pelmeni dough and allow it to rest to develop the gluten (this will make it easier to roll out too).
- Make the meat filling by combining the grated onion, spices, and crushed garlic.
- Roll out the dough thin and cut out circles using a glass about 2 inches wide.
- Place a heaping teaspoon of the meat filling onto the center of the circles and seal the edges shut to make a half-moon dumpling. Pinch down the ends to make a round dumpling similar to a wonton in shape.
- Boil immediately in salted boiling water or freeze on a floured tray.
Pro Tip: some cooks will dry out the dumplings for a few hours after filling to make chewier dumplings. Simply leave dumplings on the counter on a well-floured tray and allow them to dry for 2-3 hours before cooking or boiling.
How To Serve Pelmeni:
Pelmeni is best served with a side of sour cream. We like to top them with melted butter, vinegar, and black pepper for exceptional flavor. Here are creative ways to eat Pelmeni dumplings;
- Condiment sauces like mustard, horseradish, tomato sauce (Ketchup), or soy sauce.
- Some side dishes like Marinated Cherry Tomato Salad or Sauteed Mushrooms.
- Fried Cabbage or Sauerkraut.
- A Vegeta Butter Dipping Sauce (which is melted butter mixed with Vegeta seasoning).
How To Cook Whole Wheat Pelmeni:
I usually set my timer for 8 minutes from the time the Pelmeni come to a boil. Typically they will float to the top and then I let them hang out for a few minutes to cook through.
Pelmeni vs Pierogi:
Pelmeni dumplings are never served with a sweet filling whereas Polish Pierogies sometimes are. The main difference between Vareniki and Pelmeni is their shape. Vareniki tend to be half-moon shaped like pierogies and sometimes filled with cheese, cabbage, or mashed potatoes. In our family dumplings with meat are always referred to as Pelmeni. If I want to make sweet-filled dumplings with fruit or a cheese filling we call them Vareniki and potato-filled dumplings are referred to as Pierogies in our family.
Where to Buy Pelmeni?
You can buy frozen Pelmeni in European markets or grocery stores in the freezer section. Some stores like Trader Joe’s carry Pelmeni or you can buy them online from Russian Food stores. We like store-bought Pelmeni filled with chicken.
Best Tips For Making Pelmeni:
- Make a firm dough. You want an easy-to-work-with dough that doesn’t stick to the work surface or your hands.
- I typically use cool tap water when preparing the dough. I find I need more liquid if I use hot water.
- If using a dumpling machine you need firm dough so it doesn’t stick to your equipment. The firmer the dough the chewier your dumplings.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the dumplings and cook more in the same water. I like to keep my cooked dumplings covered in a glass bowl with some butter while I boil the rest. This melts the butter and keeps them warm.
- Air dry the dumplings after shaping to create a chewier dumpling.
- Keep the meat filling in the center and stretch out the edges to make a clean seal. It’s hard to pinch the edges when you have wet dough.
- Freeze Pelmeni on a floured tray so they don’t stick to the surface. I like to flash freeze dumplings on a floured tray first, then transfer them to a freezer bag.
- Pelmeni dumplings freeze well for up to 6 months.
- Always add pelmeni to boiling water and once the water reboils time them for 5-8 minutes for al dente dumplings.
Whole Wheat Pelmeni
- 1 food tray (to place dumplings on after shaping)
- 1 mixing bowl
- 1 Kitchen Aid Mixer (to knead the dough)
- 300 grams water (1 1/3 cup)
- 700 grams white whole wheat flour** (about 5 3/4 cups)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 3/4 pounds ground chicken (1245 grams)
- 4 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 onion
- 2 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine and knead the dough until smooth and firm (6-8 minutes.) Cover and let the dough rest for 1-2 hours to develop gluten.
- Make the meat filling: combine all of the filling ingredients and mix well with your hands. Cover and set aside.
- Roll out the dough to a thin rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Cut the dough out using a 2.5-inch wide glass.
- Place a heaping teaspoon of filling onto the center and seal to make a half-moon shape.
- Then bring the corners down to make a wonton-shaped dumpling.
- Place the dumplings on a floured tray and work on the rest of the dumplings.
- To Cook Pelmeni: bring 2-3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the Pelmeni and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil time the dumplings for 5-8 minutes.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and toss with butter, white distilled vinegar, and black pepper to taste. Serve with sour cream.
- Whole wheat flour- I milled hard white wheat berries.
- You will want a high gluten grain like the hard varieties to make Pelmeni. Typically those are hard red or hard white berries.