Delicious Ukrainian Dumplings

I’m a “foodie”. I love food. I love trying new foods, especially foods from other cultures. And I absolutely love these Delicious Ukrainian Dumplings! What’s not to love about soft doughy pockets filled with delicious meat? You’ve got to try them. I promise you’ll love them too! Dumplings are a food consisting of small pieces of dough wrapped around a filling (examples include wontons and ravioli). They can be based on bread, potatoes or flour, can include meat and fish and even vegetables or sweets (they can be either sweet or savory). Dumplings are cooked by boiling, simmering, frying or steaming them and are either eaten by themselves or in stews, soups or with gravy. In Poland, dumplings are called Pierogi and are often boiled or fried, and in Ukraine and Russia they are referred to as varenyky, which are usually boiled or steamed. This delicious Ukrainian dumpling recipe is actually a new take on the classic Turkish dumplings known as manti, which are traditionally filled with lamb and then steamed or boiled and served with yogurt. However, London-based Ukrainian chef Olia Hercules has changed this dumpling recipe and replaced the lamb with locally available pork. The yogurt is swapped out for butter.

Hercules is a Leith’s-trained chef, food stylist and recipe writer who honed her cooking skills in the kitchens of Ottolenghi. Hercules has since worked as a freelance recipe tester and developer for a variety of food magazines, including Jamie’s and Sainsbury’s. Olia Hercules was most recently picked as Observer Rising Star of 2015 in their food category and has recently released a cookery book “Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine and Eastern Europe.” Her take on the popular Turkish dumpling recipe is all about local, simple ingredients.

Hercules favors pork belly to lamb and insists it must be chopped by hand, instead of ground, for a superior texture. The other ingredients in her delicious Ukrainian dumpling recipe are simple: onion, salt, and pepper, with fresh cilantro leaves to garnish. Hercules has a new way to treat this ancient dish, swapping simple melted butter for a nutty brown version and finishes this dumpling recipe with fried shallots for an added crispy bonus.

If you have never prepared fresh dumplings from scratch, Hercules’ recipe is simple. To start, you need to create the dough which is just egg, water, and flour. Once mixed, the dough should be placed in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. While you’re waiting, in another bowl you combine the hand-chopped pork belly with onion and season with salt and pepper to taste. Working the dough one small ball at a time, you should divide it into 20 equal pieces and then roll each ball out. Place a tablespoon of your filling in the center of each dough circle and top with a small piece of butter. Fold, pinch and repeat. If you don’t have a bamboo steamer to steam your dumplings, not to worry. A rice cooker/steamer lined with parchment paper will do the trick. The dumplings should steam for about 45 minutes until cooked through. Meanwhile heat butter over medium heat and cook until a deep golden brown (about 6 to 8 minutes). Transfer your steamed dumplings to a serving platter, drizzle with your browned butter and cilantro leaves and serve.This dumpling recipe may seem time-consuming, but the end result is worth the extra effort. These delicious Ukrainian dumplings are really delicious! I bet you won’t be able to eat just one (but why would you, there are 19 more to gobble up!).

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