I had the most amazing culinary experience last night thanks to @pelmenikitchen
who cooked us FIVE different types of Eastern European dumplings unlike anything I've ever eaten before. Fingers crossed I advance into a skilled cook sooner rather than later so I can return the favour.
1. First up were butter chicken khinkali. Khinkali is a Georgian dumpling but Marina experimented by stuffing them with an aromatic butter chicken and pea mix. She advised us to hold the khinkali by their stems and eat them from the base. You're not supposed to eat the stems but I did anyway because, yum.
2. Second were the palate cleanser of Ukrainian potato, caramelised onion and cheese varenyky. These were boiled and then pan-fried; the skins thin and crisp. Marina prepared the accompanying Georgian condiment of adjika, a tomato and capsicum condiment that perfectly complemented this milder dumpling.
3. Third were Siberian pelmeni comprising beef and pork. Marina prepared a stronger mustard, sour cream and dill dressing to go over this, which @hstargold
remarked tasted like a superior version of Big Mac sauce. She wasn't wrong – it was delicious.
4. Next were maybe my favourite dumplings – pan-fried Russian pickled mushroom and cabbage varenyky. Marina used two different types of pickled mushrooms procured from a Russian specialty shop, one very salty and one exceedingly sour, which were chopped up and interspersed with diced cabbage. This was smoky and savory and exquisite, again served alongside adjika.
5. Lastly we had lamb and onion khinkali, which had to be rolled on the spot and boiled as soon as possible for maximum freshness. The lamb was spiced with the Georgian condiment mix khmeli suneli, which had a combination of coriander, dill and basil that was unfamiliar to me but amazingly fragrant. These dumplings were soupy, akin to a Georgian xiao long bao, and we ate them by again turning them upside down and using the stem to grab hold of it.
FOUR BLOATS from feasting on Marina's amazing dumplings in what was a deliciously educational night learning about Ukrainian, Russian and Georgian food.