Chebureki (Deep-fried Lamb Dumplings)

These fried lamb dumplings are a Tatar dish, developed in the Crimea and bought to Georgia and other Central Asian areas, where many Tatars now live.

Makes 38 dumplings

3 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
3/4 pound of lean lamb, finely ground twice
1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
2 teaspoons of salt
3 tablespoons of cold boiled white rice
1 prepared dough (see below)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a heavy 10 to 12-inch skillet set over high seat. When the fat just begins to brown lightly, add the ground lamb. Mashing the meat constantly with a fork to break up any lumps, cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the lamb is light brown. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and with a large spoon or your hands, toss with the chopped parsley, coriander, salt and rice. Cool to room temperature.

On a lightly floured board surface, roll the dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Lift the dough over the backs of our hands and spread your hands apart gently until the dough stretches almost paper thin. Lay it flat on the table and with a 2 1/2 to 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out 76 rounds of the dough. Top half of the rounds with a heaping teaspoon of filling and flatten the filling slightly. Cover with the remaining rounds and seal the edges by pressing them firmly all around their circumferences with the prongs of a fork. With a pastry brush, coat the edges of the dumplings with the beaten egg to seal them even more securely.

Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer until it reaches a temperature of 375°F. (contents). Fry the dumplings, 6 to 8 at a time, for 2 or 3 minutes, turning them over in the fat until they are evenly browned. Drain on paper towels and serve hot, with soup or as a first course.

Dough Recipe:

Makes 6 dozens

This recipe is the same as for pelmeni.

1 teaspoon of salt
3 eggs
1 cup of water
4 to 4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt and make a deep well in the center. Drop in the eggs and water and, withyour hands or a large spoon, slowly but thoroughly mix the flour into the liquid ingredients until the mixture can be gatheredinto compact ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it by folding it end to end, then pressing in downand pushing it forward several times with the heel of your hand. Sprinkle the dough with extra flour when necessary to prevent it from sticking to the board. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Then shape it into a ball, wrap it loosely in wax paper, and let it rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

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