A year in Dnepropetrovsk

An American volunteer in Ukraine


Vareniki are Russian dumplings filled with potato, cheese, mushrooms, cabbage, or of course, meat. I made mine with potato and onion.


To make the dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • about 1 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • a very little baking soda– a VERY, VERY little!!!

Mix flour, salt, milk, egg, and baking soda until it forms dough. Add water as needed until you can roll the dough comfortably with a rolling pin (or, if like me you don’t have a rolling pin, with whatever you find around the kitchen that you don’t mind flouring). Roll the dough until it’s a little more than half a centimeter thick, and cut out circles using a cookie cutter (or, again, if your kitchen is as ill-stocked as mine, using a cup).

For the filling:

  • Boil 1 or 2 of your favorite kind of potato (I boiled 3, and ended up with a huge amount left over). Peel and mash.
  • Chop and sautee 1 onion (I absolutely love onions. Most of you probably would be content with a half). Use a generous amount of oil.
  • Mix some of the onion in with the mashed potato. Leave the rest in the oil.

Now for the piece de resistance:

  • Take a small spoonful of mashed potato/onion mix and place it in the center of each circle you cut out of the dough. Seal the edges. Be careful not to put too much stuffing in the center, or you’ll stretch out the dough too much and it will rip open later.
  • Place the vareniki in a pot of boiling water. When they float to the top, they’re ready. This only takes a few seconds.
  • Note: this is where you’ll know if you used too much baking powder or not. Vareniki are not supposed to be puffed like a pastry, but if you look carefully at mine, you’ll see that the dough rose a little too much.
  • Put all the vareniki in a bowl and drizzle the oil and onions over them. Priatnovo apetita!

A little varenika



  cook wrote @

There is something very wrong with this recipe. Once combining the ingredients the result is the consistency of pancake batter, and impossible to knead or roll-out.

  Cucee Sprouts wrote @

These look so good. I have to try your recipe. I grew up on vareniki and just recently made my first batch! My kids were all over them. I did healthify the original recipe. If you want to check it out, here is a link. http://cuceesprouts.com/2010/09/vareniki/ Looking forward reading more of your recipes 🙂

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