Generous Ukrainian cuisine is famous for the most original, delicious, and hearty dishes. because how can you not love ruddy donuts, fragrant rich borscht, or baked potatoes with fragrant herbs? But the main feature of Ukrainian culinary specialists has always been flour products and pastries. Now I’m talking specifically about dumplings.
Dumplings are truly our national treasure! These sweets symbolize the generosity and wealth of the Ukrainian people. Just remember their airy, literally melting-in-your-mouth dough, generously filled with amazing toppings, both salty and sweet. And to them, a lot of traditional sauces and roasts complement and emphasize the taste of the dish. I want to tell you how to cook different fillings. Believe me, they are easy to prepare, you just need a little time and desire.
Interesting facts about dumplings
Before moving on to the recipes, you will be interested to know a few interesting facts. They say that the ancestors of our dumplings are dushbara – dumplings, originally from Azerbaijan. But, in truth, they are completely different things. Perhaps the Ukrainians liked these dumplings and came up with their own version of this dish.
Just imagine that more than five hundred different varieties of fillings for dumplings have been invented! Among them, there are classic and non-standard ones, for example: with dried bananas, ferns, crab, and other unusual ingredients. But Ukrainians prefer tasty potatoes with onions or homemade cottage cheese.
Dumplings are so popular that monuments were erected in their honor in Cherkasy and even in the Canadian city of Glendon! An eight-meter dumpling on a fork has become a local landmark there. It seems to be a trifle, but nice.
Now you can show off your knowledge by serving a plate of appetizing, piping hot, dumplings to the table!
Briefly about the dough for dumplings
If you are still an inexperienced cook, I will give you a couple of tips on how to cook the delicious dough. It can be made with water, kefir, or milk – these are the most common options. If you decide to do it in the water, then use soda so that the dough is saturated with oxygen and fits better. On kefir, an airy and very soft dough is obtained, which is ideally combined with fruit fillers: cherries, apples, and strawberries. The option with milk is considered a classic and is used most often.
How to make dough for dumplings in milk?
You will need:
- 1 st. warm milk;
- 4 tbsp. flour;
- 1 egg;
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil;
- 1 tsp salt and sugar.
- Sift 2 tbsp. flour in a deep container, make a depression with a spoon, break an egg into it, and add salt, sugar, and milk.
- Knead the dough by adding flour.
- To prevent the dough from sticking to your hands, use vegetable oil.
- Cover the finished lump with a towel and let it stand for half an hour. Now you can start stuffing!
Unsweetened fillings for dumplings
Dumplings with salty fillings are very satisfying and fully replace the main course. You can cook a lot of them so that you can boil some immediately, and send some to the freezer. I will tell you about the most favorite savory fillings.
mushrooms and potatoes
Boil a few medium potatoes and mash them. Choose your favorite mushrooms: champignons, chanterelles, or others of your choice. Wash, peel, cut them into small cubes, and fry together with onions in a frying pan with butter. Then mix mushrooms with mashed potatoes and start filling dumplings.
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Cabbage should be chopped, carrots grated, and onions cut into small pieces. First, send the onions and carrots to the pan so that they fry a little, then add the cabbage. Simmer it until cooked and at the end do not forget to put a little salt and pepper.
It will be easy for you to grind fresh cheese with a fork so that there are no lumps left. Then add egg yolk, finely chopped dill, salt, and your favorite cheese spices to it, mix well and your filling is ready.
Potato and liver
First, you need to boil the mashed potatoes. While it is in the process of cooking, put out the liver and onion in a pan. When the meat has cooled, chop it in a blender or twist it in a meat grinder. In the end, combine the finished puree with the liver to fill the dumplings with them.
Sweet fillings for dumplings
Vareniki with sweet fillings are eaten as a dessert or cooked for breakfast. Children are also very fond of them for their delicate texture, nutritional value, and unique taste.
Here is a little background: for us, the plum filling for dumplings is unusual, but it is very popular in Austria and Slovenia. There, the base is made not from flour, but from potatoes. Interested in trying this one?
Boil the potatoes in salted water, and add a tablespoon of butter, salt, sugar, and nutmeg to taste. Then add 250 g of flour, and 2 eggs and knead the dough. Then roll it out, cut out circles with a glass, and put a whole plum without a stone in each of them. Fix the edges and roll neat balls out of them. Boil finished products for about 15 minutes after boiling. Before serving, roll each dumpling in breadcrumbs, and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Real jam!
Homemade cottage cheese
I love cottage cheese in any form, so for me, these are the most delicious dumplings. Choux pastry is ideal for them, it is more elastic and at the same time airy. But if there is no time to mess with it, then a kefir test recipe will do.
Take a deep container and mix in it a glass of warm kefir, 1 egg, salt, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Mix everything and let it rest for a few minutes. Now gradually adding 2.5 tbsp. flour, knead the dough so that it does not stick to your hands. Next, the finished base should be covered and left warm for 20 minutes.
Take fresh homemade cottage cheese and grind it through a sieve so that there are no lumps. Add egg yolk, a little salt, and sugar to taste. It remains to make dumplings and boil them in salted water. In the end, put a small piece of butter, and let it melt on the steaming dumplings.
First, the pits must be removed from the cherries. Do this carefully so that the berries remain intact as much as possible. Life hack: when preparing the filling of cherries, add a spoonful of semolina to it. It will absorb excess moisture, dumplings will not splash when biting, and the berries will still remain juicy.
The best additions to dumplings
In fact, you can choose any additives and sauces for the dumplings that you want. Use your imagination and culinary experience to successfully complement the dish and make it even more delicious.
Traditionally, dumplings with different fillings are served with the following additions:
- sweet curd filling goes well with butter and sour cream;
- onion with bacon sautéed in butter or sunflower oil is suitable for potato filling, and you can also make the mushroom sauce;
- Cabbage dumplings are usually served with fried onions, cracklings, or smoked bacon;
- mushrooms in dumplings also harmonize with frying, but for a change, you can cook sour cream and onion sauce;
- cherry filling is supplemented with sour cream, honey, or syrup with a small amount of starch for density.
Hostesses often serve dumplings baked in pots with butter and egg gravy to the festive table.
There are still a lot of options for fillings for dumplings! In different countries of the world, both traditional and unusual ingredients are used for us, for example, goat cheese, peanuts, spinach, beans, and others. With each filling, you can get delicious, healthy, and nutritious dumplings that will enliven a family dinner or a festive feast. Using the recommendations received, if desired, you can easily turn this familiar dish into a work of culinary art!