Classic pelmeni are dumplings of Russian cuisine that consist of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough. There is debate about the exact place of origin with Ural and Siberia both maintaining strong claims. This Russian comfort food is part of the group of Eastern European dumplings like ‘vareniki, pierogis and uszka’. The word “pelmeni” describes the ear-shaped appearance of these dumplings. Fillings generally consist of ground meat such as pork, lamb, beef or mushrooms as well as salt, pepper and sometimes herbs and onions.
In Russia’s Far East the locals replace meats with salmon to make a native version of this common national dish. This is an exotic region with a unique climate, landscape, flora and fauna. Basic fruits and vegetables that grow in most Russian home gardens must be shipped to this region because of its harsh climate does not allow much to grow. Dairy products are also imported at high cost so they rarely are found in the local diet.
Fish and seafood are the basic staples in the Far Eastern diet and are not delicacies for special occasions as is the case in Russia’s European and Siberian regions. Fish is often used instead of meat in cooking common Russian dishes such as cutlets, cabbage rolls and pelmeni.
Back in March of this year (2021), I had posted a blog about traditional pelmeni containing beef filling. We enjoyed that meal a lot and have since had it numerous times with various fillings. After doing some research, I realized that fish pelmeni was a ‘real thing’. I had also seen an idea from the internet about using salmon and pastry to form a ‘salmon rose’. I thought, why couldn’t that tender pelmeni dough be used along with fresh salmon & leeks to make something special? I realize I have strayed a long way from the classic ear shaped pelmeni but the flavor is just as wonderful.
Salmon Leek Pelmeni 'Rose'
In a bowl, combine all dough ingredients & knead until a smooth dough ball forms, about 10 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap & set aside to allow dough to rest until the filling is prepared.
Leek & Salmon Fillings
In a sauce pan, sauté garlic, leeks & mushrooms in 1 Tbsp olive oil until tender. Remove from heat & place in a dish to cool until needed later.
Prepare fresh salmon (skin, debone & slice thinly); refrigerate until ready to assemble. In a small bowl, combine all remaining filling ingredients. Set aside
Soya Broth & Veggies
In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté onion until it starts to soften. Add mushrooms, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini & oregano. Cook for about 2 minutes; remove veggies to a dish & set aside.
In the NON-STICK saucepan, bring all broth ingredients to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes; turn off heat.
Assembly & Cooking
On a LIGHTLY oiled work surface, roll out dough as thin as possible. Cut (20) 4-inch discs from pastry with a fluted, circular pastry cutter. Align the discs in 2 lines, making them overlap slightly. One line should consist of 12 circles & other other line the remaining 8. With your rolling pin, slightly roll over each line to help press the circles together a bit.
On the shorter line of dough, distribute cooled leek/mushroom filling. Roll up to form the center of the salmon 'rose'. The roll should hold together but not be tightly rolled so it will steam properly. On the longer line of dough circles, distribute the thinly sliced salmon. Top salmon with Panko crumb 'filling' & press with a spatula to flatten slightly.
Carefully place the rolled leek/mushroom 'center' at one end of the salmon 'line'. Roll up to form the outside rings of the 'rose'. Using a large heavy spatula, gently lift the 'rose' pastry into the center of the broth in the saucepan.
Turn on heat & bring soya broth to a gentle simmer. Cover & steam salmon/leek 'pelmeni' for about 35 minutes or until both salmon & dough are cooked. Remove to a serving plate & keep warm.
To the remaining broth in saucepan, add 1/4 cup milk & the previously sautéed veggies. Gently stir together then drizzle sauce & veggies over salmon/leek pelmeni 'rose'. Serve.