How to make dumplings? What is their history?
Pierogi (dumplings in English) are one of the most famous Polish dishes. Even people not familiar with Polish culture know that we love this kind of food. In this article we will give you a simple recipe.
For centuries, Poland has been a multicultural country. It had an impact on our language. Polish dialects are mostly a mixture of Polish language and foreign ones. The same thing apply to our cuisine! Polish dishes are, in many cases, borrowed from foreign cuisines. However, Polish people often modify what they borrow.
Dumplings’ origins are vastly debated about. Some people claim that is a native Polish dish. Other believe that it is of Russian or Ukrainian. But dumpling-like dishes can be encountered even in Asian cuisines.
“Pierogi ruskie” is somewhat controversial term. The second word – “ruskie” – can be translated as both “Russian” and “Ruthenian”. While Russia is well-known country, the Ruthenia is the region made of Belarus and Ukraine.
The very name became even more controversial since Russia attacked Ukraine. To cease the heated debate, many stores and restaurants changed the name to “Ukrainian dumplings”.
How to make dumplings: filling
Pierogi’s filling is made of potatoes (1000g cut into quarters), white onion (one, large, chopped as finely as possible). Butter (one tablespoon) and curd/cream cheese (300 g) are another products you will need. If you want, you can use twaróg instead of curd cheese. It is a kind of Polish cottage cheese, which will make your dumplings experience even more Polish. At the end of the list is sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Now let’s see what you need to do to make dumplings filling. Start with potatoes. Place them in a cold water and add salt. Boil it and then turn the heat down to simmer it for about 15 minutes.
If potatoes are soft when pierced, you’re at the right point! Now it’s the time to dry them out. Once it is done, you should mash the potatoes, add the cheese of your desire. Then mash everything once again.
Preparing potatoes is time-consuming process. So in the meanwhile heat the oil and butter in the frying pan. Onion should be carmelised. To achieve it, cook it over a low heat for about ten minutes.
Then add it to potatoes and cheese. Then season it with pepper and salt to the suitable degree. The filling is ready!
How to make dumplings: dough
To make a pierogi dough, you need one glass (250 ml) of lukewarm water, 1000g of plain flour. One lightly beaten egg and one tablespoon of vegetable oil will also be of use.
First – sift the flour. Add an egg to a well in the centre. Then add few tablespoons of water and the oil. Mix it with a knife, but remember to add a 1 tablespoon of water at the time. Once mixed, it should be brought to a shape of a ball.
Then knead it on a floured surface. It should remain there for up to 5 minutes. Then put it in a big bowl, cover it and leave like that for about half an hour.
Once this time has passed, dough should be split in half. While you work on the one part, the another one should remain covered. This will prevent it from undesired drying out.
Now sprinkle some flour over the surface you work on. Roll out the dough until it is moderately thin.
Prepare a floured tray or board for the next step. Utilize a pastry cutter or the bottom of an upturned glass tumbler to create circles of dough measuring 8cm/3in in diameter. Keep going until all the dough has been utilized. Keep the circles covered to prevent them from drying out until you’re prepared to begin the filling process. Alternatively, you can cut out a few circles at once and then proceed to fill them, while ensuring the dough remains covered.
How to make dumplings: finishing the process
For filling the pierogi, position a dough circle in your hand’s palm and put a teaspoon of filling at the circle’s center. Fold the dough to cover the filling, and then use your thumb and fingers to press and seal the edges of the dough firmly. Arrange the pierogi in rows on the floured tray, and keep them covered as you proceed with the remaining ones.
For the cooking process, start by heating a large pot of water until it reaches a boiling point. Gently place the dumplings into the water one by one (in a standard-sized pan, you can usually cook around eight at a time). Maintain a gentle boiling of the water. The pierogi will be done when they rise to the surface, which typically takes about 2 to 3 minutes.
Dumplings can be served cooked or slightly fried. Make sure to test both options to find out shat suits you the most. We’ve already written about Polish pies. Stay tuned to receive new recipes!