Authentic Russian Vareniki

How to Make

Authentic Russian vegetarian vareniki are little pockets of thinly rolled dough. Choose from three fillings of potato and onion vareniki, pink cheese vareniki and dessert berry vareniki

Filling – 2 potatoes 250 g, peeled and cubed – 2 teaspoons of salt – 2 TBs oil

Filling – 1 onion chopped finely – 50 g butter; – ground black pepper - to taste; – Finely chopped herbs like dill or scallions (optional)

Dough – 200 ml ice water; – 1 egg; – ½ teaspoon salt; – 600 g about 4 cups flour, sifted

To prepare filling: Preheat a large pan to medium heat. Add oil and chopped onion. Cook on medium heat until onion is golden-brown. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with enough water to submerge. Once water reaches a boil, add 1 heaping teaspoon of salt. Continue cooking until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes, add the butter and puree. Add sauteed onions, salt and pepper, mix well and cool slightly. You can add chopped herbs to the potatoes, such as dill or green onions. Taste filling and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside to cool.

To prepare dough: In a large bowl, stir water, egg and salt with a fork until smooth. Pour the pre-sifted flour, one cup at a time, mixing with a spatula after each addition. Knead the dough well with your hands: it will take about 7 minutes.

The finished dough should not stick to your hands. If dough remains sticky, add more flour and continue kneading. Place dough in a large clean bowl, cover with a towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

To shape vareniki: Sprinkle working surface with flour and roll out the dough in an even, thin layer. Using a cookie cutter or a glass, cut circles out of dough. Once all the circles have been cut, gather leftover dough, roll again and make more circles; continue doing this until you run out of dough.

Put the filling in the center of each circle. The quantity will depend on the size of the circles, but ½-1 teaspoon is a good ballpark. If there is not enough filling, the taste of the dough will be too pronounced. And if you have too much, then the the vareniki can fall apart during cooking.

Once filling is in, fold the circles with the filling in half and tightly bind the edges. Make sure that the filling does not go beyond the limits of the dough. You can leave the vareniki in this form, or you can make a braid around the seam, or pinch them into a folded circle.

To make a braid, moving in one direction, gradually fold the edge of the dough on itself; to make a folded circle, take the two ends of the half circle and bring them together with a pinch.

To cook vareniki, stick to small portions (20-30 vareniki at once). If cooking more, dumplings can stick together, so it’s better to cook them in stages.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (cook these like pasta, using 1 heaping teaspoon of salt per 2 litres of water). It is necesssary to salt the water in which you are to cook vareniki, even if using a sweet filling - the salt will prevent the dumplings from sticking together.

Once water is boiling, place the vareniki in the water and reduce the heat to medium. Stir the dumplings gently and wait for them to float. Once vareniki float, continue boiling them for another 2–5 min, depending on the thickness of the dough. During cooking, stir the dumplings periodically.

Drain vareniki of water. Serve with sour cream or mayonnaise, strong mustard, and additional chopped dill.