Vareniki is often thought of as a vegetarian alternative to pelmeni, and it’s not far off: wrap some dough around a sweet or savory filling, bake or boil it, and you’re done.
However, Vareniki is not considered a variant of pelmeni in Russia, but a dish of Russian cuisine. For sweet vareniki, the most common fillings are cottage cheese or berries, a variety usually eaten for breakfast. Another type of vareniki can be made from potatoes with mushrooms or onions or cabbage. They are very often eaten with sour cream.
- Start with the classic Russian dumpling dough. In a bowl, beat an egg with water, oil and salt.
- Sift all the flour into a separate bowl or directly onto the cooking surface and make a sort of crater in the center. Pour the liquid mixture into the crater and start mixing with a fork; then proceed to knead the dough with your hands. When all the ingredients are incorporated, place the dough on the floured cooking surface and continue kneading.
- Knead for about 7 minutes until quite thick, but still elastic and very soft on the surface. Finish it off and let it sit in cling film for 30 minutes.
- For the filling, fry the chopped onion in vegetable oil until soft. Add the chopped mushrooms and stir until done. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in salted water until soft; drain and mash with a generous slab of butter; set aside for a minute to cool.
- Combine the mashed potatoes and mushrooms with the onions.
- Now back to the dough: roll it out fairly thin with a rolling pin. Cut circles from the dough (about 7 cm in diameter); collect the scraps, make another ball firm and repeat the process until you run out of dough and have many circles of dough.
- Put 1 teaspoon of filling on each circle and start shaping your vareniki: fold into semicircles and seal the edges well; repeat with the rest. Leave the edges as they are or decorate them however you like.
- To cook the vareniki, put them in well-salted boiling water; wait until they float, then cook for 2 more minutes. If you are cooking frozen vareniki, cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Drain and serve with a nice slab of butter or sour cream, as well as some chopped dill.