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Shared by Svetlana Davydov and her granddaughter Elena

Pelmeni (Beef Dumplings)

Yield: 6-8 servingsTime: 1 h active + 2 h inactive

Shared by Svetlana Davydov and her granddaughter Elena

Pelmeni dumplings with a drizzle of olive oil, atop bright orange tablecloth.
Photographer: Penny De Los Santos. Food Stylist: Judy Haubert. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Pelmeni (Beef Dumplings)

Yield: 6-8 servingsTime: 1 h active + 2 h inactive

Family Journey

Tashkent, UzbekistanQueens, New York City
Long Island, NY

After shaping the pelmeni you can place them into the freezer on a plate to freeze into shape for about 20 minutes. Then place the frozen pelmeni into a large container or bag and freeze them for up to 1 month. To defrost the pelmeni directly, put them into a pot of boiling water and cook.

This recipe was shared by Svetlana Davydov and her granddaughter Elena. Read more about their family in "Pelmeni, Samsa, and More Uzbek Recipes From a Bukharian Grandmother" and try their recipes for plov (rice pilaf), manti (Uzbek dumplings), and samsa (savory pastries).


For the dough

  • 1 cup all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ egg, beaten
  • ½ cup water, lukewarm

For the filling

  • ½ pound ground beef chuck
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, grated or finely ground in a food processor
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

For serving

White vinegar

Cooking ProjectsMain CoursesMeat Eastern EuropeMiddle East


  • Step 1

    Make the dough: Stir the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the egg and ½ of the water and use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix well. Add the remaining water and mix until a dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and homogenous. Shape the dough into a ball.

  • Step 2

    Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for at least 2 hours. 

  • Step 3

    Make the filling: Mix the beef, onion, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl until the ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside.

  • Step 4

    Prepare the dough: Place the dough on a heavily floured surface. Knead the dough until it becomes pliable and less sticky, about 2-4 minutes. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a thin circle that is 15 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour and fold the top edge over the bottom to create a semi circle and then fold the semi circle into a quarter of a circle. Let it rest under plastic wrap for 5 minutes. Unfold the dough back into a circle and sprinkle it with flour. Use the rolling pin to roll out the dough as thinly as you can until the circle has doubled in size. Sprinkle the dough with flour again. Shape the dough into an accordion that is 1 ½ inch deep. You can do this by folding the dough back and forth over itself horizontally, in layers that are 2 inches in depth. Use a sharp knife to cut the layered piece of dough crosswise in 2 inch pieces. Unfold each piece into long rectangular strips and horizontally layer them on top of eachother. Use a sharp knife to cut the long rectangular pile of dough into 2 inch pieces crosswise, to create squares. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap to prevent drying.

  • Step 5

    Fill and shape the dough: Place 1 teaspoon of the beef filling into the center of a piece of dough. Take the top edge of the square farthest from you and fold it over towards you to just cover the filling leaving a ¼ inch border of dough on the bottom section of the piece of dough. Use your fingers to pinch and seal the dough over the filling. Pick up the pelmeni holding each bottom corner of the dough with your thumbs and pointer fingers. With one of your middle fingers, press in the center of the meat-filled dumpling and fold one edge of dough over the other with your thumbs. Seal these two edges together tightly to create the pelmeni’s signature shape, a ring shaped dumpling with a pouch on the bottom. Repeat filling and shaping the rest of the pelmeni.

  • Step 6

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place all the pelmeni into the pot and boil for 3-4 minutes until they float to the top and are cooked through.

  • Step 7

    Serve hot and lightly drizzle with white vinegar.