When I used to work in downtown NYC, one of our lunch places used to be this Russian place on Fulton Street. Walking distance from work, it offered very good food. Recently, when I read a review of the book ‘Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking’ in New York Times, I really wanted to try out some of those dishes. Fortunately, it was just a matter of sending out a request through email, for offers of authentic Russian cookbooks to be forthcoming. And today I made Varenikis, following a recipe in a book lent to me by my friend Olga. Thank you so much, Olga!
Vareniki is a kind of dumplings, made of fresh dough. The dough is a simple one with flour and eggs. And then you fill it with stuff and boil it in salted water. In fact, the literal meaning of the word vareniki is just ‘boiled thing’!
Traditionally it has fillings like meat, cooked potatoes, sauerkraut, cheese, fruit etc. Here I have used a mixture of cheese and dried fruit filling.
The best part of it is, you can make whatever you want of it, with a variety of fillings. Now that I have successfully tried it, the next step would be to try out some new combinations of fillings!
One fact common to all dumplings is that it is so easy to determine when they are done; they float up to the surface when done!
The recipe recommends serving the varenikis with sour cream, but I think it could go with many an interesting sauce or aioli. Next time…
- 2 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp cold water
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ lb cottage cheese
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1tbsp butter
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup glazed cherries
- To make the dough, mix the salt into the flour.
- Beat the eggs and cold water together, and add to the flour.
- Mix together and kneed into a smooth dough. Keep covered with cling wrap.
- For the stuffing, chop the raisin and cherries. Beat the egg.
- Mix cottage cheese, sugar, beaten egg, vanilla extract and chopped fruit together.
- Form small balls of the dough.
- Make a depression in the center of each of the dough balls with your thumb and fill with stuffing. Carefully, form into an oval shape.
- Bring water to boil in a pan, adding a teaspoon of salt to the water.
- When the water starts to boil, drop the formed varenikis carefully into the water. Let them cook for a few minutes.
- When done, the varenikis will float to the top. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and place on a plate.
- Brush them with melted butter. Serve with sour cream.