When cooking pelmeni with meat, the filling consists of a raw mincemeat and it becomes eatable during boiling. When preparing vareniki with meat, the meat should be boiled first. Only after boiling it should be used as a filling. In a result the tastes are different.
Boiling vareniki is a simple process, but you should watch for the time. The problem is these pies may break if to boil it for a long time. Usually, it takes 4-5 minutes and no more. If you are interested in this process, then see the photos below.
Some cooks say there is a difference in shape and size between vareniki and pelmeni. They declare vareniki should have a half moon shape and larger size, but pelmeni have a round shape and lower size. To tell the truth, if this difference existed some time ago, now it is forgotten.
There is an opinion vareniki had an enormous size of 12-16 inches (30-40 centimeters) in the old times. This opinion based on novel "Viy" by Nikolai Gogol. In this story there is a phrase: “You could eat vareniki with the size of a hat”.
This opinion is wrong. If you read all this story, then you will find the full version of this phrase, “In the villages you could eat curd, sour cream or vareniki with a size of a hat without paying a coin”.
As you see, Nikolai Gogol specially uses this large size as an exaggeration to show one of the characters could eat a lot of food without paying any money. Unfortunately, many of internet writers didn't read the entire novel, and this delusion is widespread on the internet.
Just imagine the width of a pot you need to boil vareniki with a size of 16 inches (40 centimeters). It is ridiculous. The normal size for vareniki is 2-3 inches (5-7 centimeters).
Where and how to taste vareniki in Russia
The easiest way is to visit a restaurant. Unfortunately, this dish is not so popular and not every restaurant may offer it. The bad news – the national fast-foods in Russia also usually don't have vareniki in the menu.
There is a good decision if you want to taste the dish. You may visit one of the Ukrainian restaurants of network “Taras Bulba”. There are 10 such places in Moscow. There you will surely find vareniki. Or you can create an online order with delivery to your hotel at their website.
If you have access to a kitchen, then you may easily purchase the pack of vareniki in a supermarket and boil it by yourself. There are many sorts. Just click the photos of our gallery below.
In the first photo in the gallery above you, may see vareniki of one of the most interesting trademark. It is called "Bratia Vareniki" translates as "Vareniki brothers". The taste is good and the quality is excellent, we advise this brand first of all.
How to bring vareniki home from Russia
It is almost impossible. Same as pelmeni, vareniki should be frozen. If they will defrost, then they will stick to each other and it will be impossible to separate them. The only way is to use a refrigerator bag. But you need to think; is it worth it?
Vareniki – is it Russian and Ukrainian dish?
Ukrainians consider vareniki is their national dish, but not Russian. In fact, this dish may be found in both Ukranian and Russian cuisines. Long time ago we all belonged to one solid nation. The separation of this nation for Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians has happened not long ago – something like 500 years ago. It is not amazing many dishes may be found in both cuisines. For example – borscht, syrniki or varenye.
In Ukranian cities, there are three or more monuments dedicated to vareniki. Ukrainians love this dish and consider it as an important part of their culture. In the famous novel of Nikolai Gogol “Evenings at the farm near Dikanka”, the brightest character called Pasyk was a sorcerer and ate vareniki without using hands. Watch the picture on the left.
In Ukraine there is a main cooking contest and the trophy for the best cook is the golden varenik. It is not the name, the trophy is really made of gold.
As a proof of the fact vareniki is a part of Russian cuisine, we may remember the first dictionary created in Russia in the 18th century by the Moscow academy of science. In this dictionary there is an article about this dish in which it is called as Russian dish.
Vareniki in Russian culture
In Russia you may find special "vareniki with surprise". Usually we cook it for the New Year. There are two types of this fun dish.
The first type, when serving vareniki, some of the pies contain an unusual filling. For example, you are cooking vareniki with cherry, but you are filling some of them with hot peppers, sour cabbage or onion. It is believed, that the person who gets this varenik will be happy in the next year.
The second type, when the filling of some pies contains coin or some other objects. It is believed the person who gets the coin will be rich in the next year. We don't recommend to follow this tradition. The person who gets varenik with the coin inside will be poor in the next year with better chances, because he/she will pay for new teeth to stomatologist.
There is an interesting reference of vareniki in Russian culture. Most of Russians remember the nursery rhymes.
"Eniki Beniki was ate vareniki".
It is a large Russian mystery! Nobody knows exactly who are or what is Eniki Beniki. There are a lot of theories about it, but all of these theories have no proofs.
Some say Eniki Beniki are the digits “One, Two” but it is not clear what language is used. Some say these are Jewish names and this theory is most believable. There are some exotic ideas, for example, this nursery rhyme is a former mantra.
We wish you to taste delicious vareniki in Russia and read other articles about our country (watch for links above and at the left from text of this article)