I’ll admit it. I have never made a dumpling in my life, until yesterday. There are many varieties of dumplings from different cultures, and they have unique textures to them as well. For the Vareniki, the texture is soft, yet a slightly chewy. Very much unlike the Polish Pierogi, which is soft like ravioli. Before I taught my class how to make Vareniki, I had practiced it to make sure the recipe was sound. I would be very frustrated if my students had a bad recipe, and it’s really hard to tell with bloggers (like myself!) We don’t have a rating system like the big recipe groups do. We have to trust other people’s opinions and go with it. I am learning that most of the International recipes that I’m teaching have to be tweaked or nixed due to a bad recipe, or even a bad taste. Our palates are quite different here, I realize…
The recipe that I did settle on worked out quite nicely, and the students enjoyed learning how to make a dumpling. The fun is in the flour, so I have learned. What is it about kids (even big kids) and flour? Let’s play!! Truthfully, I am the same way. Give flour to me, and it’s go time. Create something, let the dust fly! And then afterward sadly realize that my precious computer is covered in flour dust. First world problems! :)
My first batch at home was filled with mashed potatoes, which was deeeeelicious. But the dough (like I had mentioned earlier) was too chewy, so I put them on a fry pan with some butter, after boiling them. That definitely reminded me of a Pierogi. Today I went with a different recipe, oh… an hour before class began and tested it out. Success! This time I stuffed it with fresh blackberries, and I have to say that was a delicious alternative, and created sort of a dessert.
- 2.5 cups flour
- 1/2 cup water (plus 1-2 Tbsp as needed)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. salt
In a large bowl, place all of the ingredients together and mix with a wooden spoon. Eventually you will need to mix by hand. The dough will be dry and tough, to which I found I needed 1-2 Tbsp of water additional to soften the dough. The dough should not be sticky but not too dry either. Break apart into 3 sections and roll out one section at a time. Using a biscuit cutter or a cup, cut out circles of dough. Roll the circle out a little bit more to get a nice thin piece of dough. I was told about 10 pieces of paper thick, but you decide how thin. Place filling into the dumpling and seal shut by pressing the edges. For better stick, use a fork. If you need water to help seal it, then wet your fingers and seal again. Place stuffed dumplings into a pot of boiling water (with a little oil in it to prevent sticking) for about 5-8 minutes. (If you are using raw meat, add more time. Or you could cook the meat first and then stuff them.) Serve with butter or powdered sugar if you go the sweet direction.
Filling options: Mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, ground beef (cooked) with onions, or fruit!