Pel’meni

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

pel’meni a Russian equivalent of ravioli, is often said to be derived from Chinese dumplings of the jiaozi type spread through Siberia by Mongol invaders. However, it has been suggested that the Russian pel’men’ is of Persian, rather than Chinese, origin, the name having been Russianized in the last 200 years from the original form pel’n’an’ which Russian adopted from the Udmurts, a Finnish people of Siberia. In the Udmurt language, pel’ means ‘ear’ and n’an’ means anything made from flour: flour, dough, bread, etc. The word n’an’ is simply the Persian word nan ‘bread’; the Udmurts learned of flour from Persians.