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Nina Sharapova came to New Zealand from Siberia a year ago to help look after her newly-born grandson. Her daughter Elena arrived eight years ago as a student and married a New Zealander.
Pelmeni, little dumplings filled with raw meat, probably originated in Siberia, and were often stored frozen outside in winter. Although they take some time to make, once made they are quick to cook in boiling water. Nina remembers her mother making thousands of them for quick meals to feed her family of eight children.
Pelmeni are often eaten on New Year's Eve, the largest festival in Russia (they don't celebrate Christmas much) when families get together to eat and drink and sing and dance and neighbours call on each other. There would be three or four mains and six or seven salads, as well as fruit and dessert.
The leftovers would last several days, she said.
Pelmeni (Russian dumplings)
Makes about 100, or enough for five people.
1/2 cup warm water
Mix eggs, salt and water, then add enoughflour to make a firm dough. Knead for a few minutes until smooth, then wrap in cling film and refirigerate for at least an hour.
250g pork mince
250g beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup warm water
Mix everything to a smooth paste.
To make pelmeni:
Divide the dough into four. Roll each into a sausage shape about 1cm-1.5cm in diameter then cut into 1cm pieces. Press each one flat then roll into a circle about 15cm in diameter.
Put a teaspoon of mince into the middle of each, fold in half to form a semicircle and press edges together to seal. Bring the corners together to make a plump ravioli-shaped dumpling.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add pelmeni and cook for about 7-10 minutes. They will float to the surface when nearly done.
Drain and toss in a little butter. Serve with sour cream or tomato sauce.