a balanced plate with room for dessert



One of the saddest days of my college life happened when Pelmeni closed. Pelmeni was a tiny little restaurant in Madison that served just that – pelmeni, or Russian dumplings. They had meat or potato or mixed and you could get it spicy or plain. There were piles of sour cream in the cooler and a few sodas, too. Not spicy enough? They had bottles of some sort of magical spicy sauce that you could dump onto the pelmeni.

So. Dang. Good.

I was devastated when they closed. Where else was I going to be able to get such a filling meal for only $5? I searched everywhere for pelmeni – in grocery stores, other restaurants, everywhere. I finally gave up and tried making my own version. The verdict? I think it came out pretty close to the original State Street restaurant.


To make the dough:
2 cups flour, sifted
7 fluid ounces of cold water
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt


To make the filling:
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the topping:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Sour cream, to taste

  1. Place flour in a large bowl. Make a dimple in the top of the mound and crack the egg into it. Add salt. Gradually add cold water and knead.
  2. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 15 – 20 minutes.
  3. Combine all filling ingredients and mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.
  4. Roll the dough into a rope 1 inch in diameter. Cut into 1 inch pieces.
  5. Roll the pieces into circles 1/16 of an inch thick.
  6. Place a teaspoon of filling into the center of the dough and pinch the edges to seal the pelmeni. The pelmeni will be in the shape of a semi circle. Bring the two pointed ends together to form the final shape.
  7. Mix the butter and vinegar together and set aside.
  8. Boil the pelmeni in salted water for 3 – 5 minutes.
  9. Toss pelmeni with the topping ingredients
  10. Toss the cooked pelmeni with the butter and vinegar and garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a dash of curry powder, a sprinkle of cilantro and a drizzle of Sriracha!


Author: Jenni

Dietitian by day and Midwest food blogger by night. Lover of whiskey, running, and all things food.

25 thoughts on “Pelmeni

  1. I LOVED PELMENI!! Thank you! I’m gonna try this asap!

  2. i tried this last night and it was delish! thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi there! Wanna hear something freaky-friday? We have a little restaurant here in our little college town of Bellingham, WA called Pelmeni where they only serve potato or meat dumplings and you can add a magical spicy red sauce! I was recently turned on to it (even though it’s been here nearly 10 years now) and I am OBSESSED. It’s my Tuesday tradition to have lunch there with my assistants now.

    Anyhoo, I’m home today making pierogis and have been searching far and wide for a recipe for that red sauce — and here you are!! Can’t wait to try it out. It sounds like it’ll be identical to the restaurant recipe.


    • Nia,

      Thanks for visiting my blog. I was looking at Pelmeni when they were open in WI and found that they made all their dumplings in WA somewhere and that there was a restaurant in WA that served them… I wonder if this is it?!

      I hope that the sauce was as good as you hoped it to be 🙂


  4. Oh — and the place is on State St. too.

  5. I’ll have to try that place…where on State Street? I live in White Rock, usually buy mine frozen from a place in Burnaby called Red Square…

  6. After a fiasco with the dough, Eli and I finally got the ratios right and they are SO NOMMY! We love them. 🙂 On a scale…I probably love them more than Mike.

    The dough tastes like the homemade dumpling dough (doh!)!

  7. I went to college at the UW. Pelmeni was one of my favorite restaurants on State Street. After moving from Madison, I heard that Pelmeni had closed. So I was determined to one day make Pelmeni for myself. The dough was very sticky in my first two attempts. I stumbled across this blog in an attempt to find more suitable proportions for the dough ingredients. My latest attempt had 1-1/2 flour, 1/2 cup water, and 2 eggs. I ended up adding at least another half cup of flour due to my inability to work with the dough. Will I have that problem with this dough recipe?

    • Hey Erin – I didn’t have problems with my dough when I made this. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out! If you make an modifications, let me know and I’ll be more than happy to add in your modifications with the recipe above. Good luck!

  8. yes yes 😀 very delicious! I dozed mine with sour cream. All thou, after the floury kitchen, I did find a russian supermarket near my house… I was surprised! I googled russian market or store on zip code blah or something like that and BHAM! I found one… just one. But hey! the have my precious, my precious palmeni n_n

  9. Pingback: Pelmeni lives (in Fitchburg!) « The Conscientious Omnivore

  10. I too enjoyed the Pel-Meni on State Street in WI until they closed…but then I found out there was one in Bellingham, WA. Luck would have it that my friend was living out there, so I made a quasi pilgrimage.

    It was awesome. Delicious dumplings, same deal.

    Though, and I have to say it, the one on State street was better somehow. Probably because I didn’t have to go across the country, but meh.

    Also, for those with the dough recipe issues, yeah, I agree and have had the same problems. There has to be some universal trick that we’re all missing. Like, Russian in our blood or something.

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  19. Thank you so much for posting this. I went a pelmeni shop in WA and loved it and have since been craving pelmenis the way they made them, but I live in Nashville and we don’t have anywhere that serves them! Hopefully these will satisfy my craving! 🙂

  20. There’s been one in Juneau Alaska for like 20 years as well😍

  21. I literally was looking online for a recipe because I’ve been craving Paul’s Pelmeni. Thanks

    • I was about to tell her about Paul’s Pelmeni. Love that place and it has grown over the years. But I moved across country at the end of 2019 and had it one last time that year. Hope it’s still open after COVID.

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