I’ve eaten vegetarian food all around the globe, speak menu in at least ten languages, and read cookbooks in bed as much as I read novels, so it’s a very unusual occurrence in my travels to come across a dish of which I have never heard. So imagine my glee on Wednesday night when I got to order pelmeni – Russian dumplings – a word that was wholly new to me.
Of course I have eaten European dumplings before – Dixon is an expert in all things Polish so she introduced me to pierogis and all things Polish food-related when we went to New York together in 2007. And, if you live in New York’s East Village, as I did back then, sopping up last night’s alcohol with a plate of pierogis & sour cream at Veselka (billed as Ukranian soul food) on 2nd is obligatory.
But, if I were to be properly honest, whilst I appreciate the massive carb overload in the winter, and lashings of sour cream never, ever go astray, I’ve always found them a bit heavy in the stomach. I guess that’s because I sit at home writing, and have little need of food as hardcore fuel.
Reading the fascinating menu at Cafe Pushkin on Wednesday night, I was reminded that Russia is not known for its vegetable-based cuisine, so I ordered the one vegetarian main course – pelmeni – dumplings, mushroom in this case, and hoped that I wouldn’t be able to see them on my thighs come morning.
And, well, yum. They were smaller and a lot lighter than the pierogi I eat in New York. That’s because there was a much higher proportion of minced filling to dough, and I gather from my online research that pelmeni dough is stretched as thin as possible, so you don’t get quite as much of a jaw workout as you would with pierogi.
Served with a sauce boat of sour cream for generous ladling, they were much closer to their near relation, ravioli, than I was expecting, although much plumper and, whilst not exactly a diet option, they were utterly delicious. (Although B & I agreed that a squeeze of lemon to cut through the richness would have been no bad thing.)
LLG was thrilled to be a guest of Mango at Cafe Pushkin in Moscow