All journeys begin the same – with the first step. We do not always know in advance where the path will lead us and how long it will be, but taking the first step we give ourselves a chance to learn the answers to these questions.
Today I am in that part of my journey which has become an absolute surprise to me. I ‘ve written a cook book, have a blog, arrange dinners and culinary workshops – all about Russian cuisine. However, nothing of these in my case I do because I’m an expert, but because I’m curious and passionate. Suddenly I realized that I do not know much about my country’s cuisine. So all these are truly my way to learn Russian Cuisine.
Simply when I was a child and I made my first dumplings by the guidance of my mother, and as it turned out, it was the first step on the road of a thousand miles …
Nobody of my friends cooks hand-made dumplings. They prefer to save their time for something not so time-consuming. Really, you have to extremely love to cook to be ready to spend a couple of hours in a kitchen cooking something you’ll eat for 20 minutes. But everybody loves dumplings because it’s one of the coziest food you’ve ever tried. So they know necessarily “right” local place where they can eat this dish that is deliciously cooked and generously served, or keep on hand a phone number where you can order the farm ones.
Honestly, I do not so often cook dumplings myself. But I always do it before Christmas, preparing for a traditional dinner for friends. I like the fact that this dinner has become a tradition – my first tradition beyond my parent’s house. And, yes, cooking dumplings – it’s definitely something that makes me Russian.
It’s not tricky to cook the dough for dumplings. The ingredients are simple and cost a penny for it.
The thing is in what thoughts you’re kneading with, how much time and effort to give to this monotonous process. Students of my cooking classes ask whether it is possible to use a combine and in general how to simplify the process. My answer is always the same: if you are not willing to devote to cooking dumplings enough time and effort, do not even start. Select another dish that does not require a lot of effort. I know, they don’t like this kind of answers, but I do believe in the fact that the dough will turn out so good and fine, though thick enough to hold in your arms a small ball of meat and a few drops of fragrant broth, only if you make an agreement with the dough about it. You put your strength, power, whispered kind words, and here it is – a new-born and obedient dough that’ve become an ally to talk about your love for those for whom you have started these dumplings.
How I prepare the dough for my dumplings:
With 400 g of flour I use one medium-sized egg, a pinch of salt and a slice of butter. (This amount of flour gives you about 50 dumplings ).
Dump the flour into a large bowl and make a hole in the center. Add an egg in it, salt and gently in a circular motion start kneading (you can use a fork first) dough. Add some butter.
When flour “takes” the egg and butter (by my fingers I gently grind them together), start to fill up a little bit room temperature water and continue to knead the dough.
I transfer the resulting lump of dough on the countertop. (I deliberately chose a wooden kitchen worktop because it’s easy to work with the dough on it). Knead the dough for 15-20 minutes exactly. It should become flexible and do not stick to hands. It’s important to knead vigorously enough to keep the dough always warm… warmed by your hands.
The resulting dough is collected in a smooth ball, wrapped in a plastic bag and covered with a bowl. I leave it to have a rest for 20 minutes while preparing the stuffing.
I always sculpt dumplings, rolling dough with a wooden old rolling pin and cutting circles with a glass of desired diameter. Frankly, all my life I ‘ve been proud that I mold dumplings like mom. She’s never used any gadgets for cooking dumplings. Only her efforts and only her time. Not economizing, but surely investing in the result about love.