Skip to main content
04 Jul 2022

Zuza Zak’s green nettle pelmeni

Zuza Zak’s green nettle pelmeni
Photography by Ola O. Smit.

Nettles should be picked in spring, before they flower: you only want the tender tops, usually five or six leaves per plant, and you’ll need a big bag of them for the dumpling dough and filling. Make sure you wear sturdy gloves to protect your hands from stings. Outside nettle season, you can use baby spinach leaves instead.

Serves: 4
Takes: 1 hr 20min


80-100g nettle leaves
150g feta or crumbly goat’s cheese
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
25g butter
sour cream, to serve
finely chopped dill, to serve

For the dumpling dough
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted


  1. Boil a kettle. Wearing rubber gloves (so you don’t get stung!), place the nettle leaves in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then pour over boiling water from the kettle to wilt them. Rinse them under cold water again, before gently squeezing out the excess water. Transfer the nettles to a chopping board and chop finely, then set aside.
  2. For the dough, place the flour in a large bowl with a pinch of salt. Make a well in the middle and add the egg yolks, along with 2 tablespoons of water. Use your hands to start bringing the dough together, gradually adding more water if needed. Finally, work the melted butter and half of the chopped nettles into the dough.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a flour-dusted work surface and knead for about 10 mins until the texture is smooth and supple, like playdough. Cover with a clean, damp tea towel and allow to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  4. Next, make the dumpling filling. Place the rest of the chopped nettles in a small bowl with the cheese and mash with a fork. Add the nutmeg, season with pepper and continue to mash until everything is thoroughly combined. Taste to see if it needs any salt.
  5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the rested dough very thinly, ideally about 1.5mm. Use a round object about 6-8cm in diameter, such as a glass or cup, to cut out circles of dough.
  6. Place a teaspoonful of filling in the centre of each circle, then fold over to make a half-moon shape and seal by pressing the edges together with your fingers.
  7. Now gently wrap the half-moon around your finger and press the two outer edges together to seal. Place the finished pelmeni on a flour-dusted surface and cover with a clean, dry tea towel.
  8. When you’re ready to cook the dumplings, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and put the butter onto a plate. Working in batches, use a slotted spoon to carefully lower the dumplings into the simmering water. Once they float to the top, give them another minute or two before lifting out onto the plate and coating in the butter.
  9. Serve with the sour cream and dill.

Follow us on Instagram