Archive for dumplings

Happy Hour with Russian Pel’Meni and a Vodka Shot

Posted in Appetizers, Russian with tags , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

I had never heard of these before, but they are all the rave in Bellingham, WA. Pel’Meni Restaurants‘ only items are either meat or potato dumplings topped with olive oil, vinegar, hot sauce, sour cream, curry and cilantro. I don’t know how Russian it is, considering the diversification of ingredients used. But the Indian, Mexican and Russian influences in this dish work really well together. Who would have thought?

The potato dumplings at the restaurant were plain potato. I added a lot more flavor into mine by adding curry, cream cheese, and ricotta to the mashed potatoes. The result? The filling is seriously out of this world. Next time I make mashed potatoes I am using these ingredients.

And because it is “Russian”, don’t forget to wash it down with some vodka!

This appetizer is extremely easy to put together. Once you have cooked the potatoes, you will have plated this amazing appetizer in less than 10 minutes. I know, it’s pretty awesome.


  • Round Wanton wrappers
  • 2 med/small potatoes, boiled
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 tbs ricotta cheese (or sour cream as substitute)
  • Season filling with salt, pepper, and curry (recommend using Madras curry)
  • Topping: a bit of olive oil, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, curry (Madras), sour cream and cilantro
  • Sprinkle of lime juice (optional)


  1. Boil potato until soft
  2. Mash potato, and add the rest of ingredients
  3. Brush water around outside of wanton wrapper. Place 1/2-1 tsp filling in middle, fold over and seal. Take corners and fold in a bit.
  4. Boil in water for about a minute on each side
  5. Plate the dumplings, and add a drizzle of olive oil, vinegar and hot sauce. Top with sour cream. Sprinkle a bit of curry, salt and cilantro.
  6. Sprinkle with a bit of lime juice (optional).

Potato Dumpling Indian Masala + Greek Salad

Posted in Greek, Indian with tags , , , , , , on July 9, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

Mark and I LOVE indian food.  More specifically, we love the “chicken tikka masala” and always order it at indian restaurants.  This dish is definitively a comfort food, especially for us, I think. It reminds me of traveling abroad, tired from the journey, thirsty from the heat, and hungry from the not so good food. Whenever we were lucky enough to find an indian restaurant we screamed with joy, because we knew no matter what, the chikken masala would always be good. And we were right–it never disappoints.

Earlier this week I tried making a tofu masala, and although it was good, it just wasn’t great. I can always tell if Mark doesn’t like something because his plate won’t return completely cleaned off. Plus, I know when something isn’t as great as it should be. So Mark, you should just tell the truth, m’kay?? Anyways, I don’t like not succeeding at something, so I had to try again. After brainstorming a bit, I came up with a recipe I am happy to document so I can make again, and again…and I think it even rivals the chicken tikka for sure. This meal is super easy, and should take you about 30 minutes. The key ingredient here is the spice, and you can either use garam masala or madras curry. I used madras since I could not find the garam. If you don’t have either, you could try making it with regular curry. The rest of the ingredients you probably have on hand. If not, they are cheap to get.

Masala Sauce Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp Olive oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • salt + pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tb garam masala spice or madras curry powder
  • 2-3 small cans of tomato sauce + 2 tbsp tomato paste + 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2- 1 c. heavy cream
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Garnish: sour cream, cilantro, and sprinkle of garam masala or curry

Dumpling Ingredients

  • 1 pg round wanton wrappers
  • 2 med/small potatoes
  • 2 1/2  tbs cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • salt + pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp garam masala or madras curry

Masala Sauce Instructions:

  1. Saute olive oil (or buter) with onions, then add garlic, salt, pepper, ginger, cumin, and garam masala. Cook for a few minutes, then add tomato sauce, paste and water. Let cook for another few minutes. At the end, add the cream and the lime juice.  Carefully add the dumplings. Let heat through and turn off. To garnish, add a spoonful of sour cream, sprinkle with a bit of curry, and add chopped cilantro.

Dumpling Instructions

  1. Place potatoes in cold water and begin to boil until done. In separate bowl, smash potatoes and add the rest of ingredients.
  2. Place about 1-2 tsp of filling in the middle of a wanton wrapper. With fingers or pastry brush, wet the wanton wrapper slightly with water around the edges. Fold the wrapper in half and press to seal. Tuck in the corners.
  3. Boil water in a pot or skillet. Place 3-5 dumplings at a time in boiling water and boil for about 2 minutes. Transfer to Masala sauce.
  4. Serve with flat bread and Greek salad


Chicken Alternative

For those of you who are in love with the Indian classic, Chicken Tikka Masala, you should give the dumplings a try, because they truly are amazing. If that doesn’t satisfy your chicken craving, then you have my permission to make the original. You can either just grill chicken and place in the sauce, or you can marinade the chicken in yogurt and spices, and then broil in your oven (this is what makes it “tikka”).

Chicken Marinade:

  • 1 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/2 lime juice
  • 1 tb. garam masala spice (found in asian market)
  • 2 tsp cumin + 2 tsp black pepper + 3 tps salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced + minced ginger

Instructions: Combine ingredients and marinade for at least 1 hour. Either grill chicken or boil in oven.



Greek Salad Ingredients:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Red onions
  • Kalamata olives
  • Feta cheese
  • Dressing: olive oil, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper.


  1. Slice, chop and assemble.
  2. Dressing: squeeze 1/2 lime juice. Add 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 clove grated garlic, salt + pepper to taste. Then add 3 tbsp olive oil.