Cepelinai is a Lithuania’s traditional dish which looks like large dumpling which are made from a mixture of raw and cooked potato dough and it’s filled with pork or curd. Also, it’s covered with sour cream and bacon. The variation of the cepelinai filling may include picked mushrooms, vegetables, cheese curd with mint. Additionally, the sauce depends on the cook imagination. Although, the traditional recipe is with pork and sour cream. The crazy thing is that Cepelinai were named after Graff von Zeppelin because those dumplings looks just like airship he invented. Now in Lithuania we even have a saying that the weather is cepelininis when it is a grey, rainy day.
It is not easy to make cepelinai, but it is worth the effort.
The traditional cepelinai recipe
- 0,5 kg ground pork
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/4 tbsp pepper
- 1 beaten egg
- 8 potatoes (peeled and finely grated – not shredded)
- 2 potatoes (boiled and riced)
- 1 onion (also grated)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 200 g bacon (diced)
- 1 chopped onion
- Sour cream
- Meat filling: Mix in a large bowl: ground meat, onion, pepper, salt and egg.
- Dough: place potato dough in a fine-mesh cheesecloth (you can buy it also at some pharmacy, well at least in Lithuania you can) and get rid of the access water. Do not pour that water away! Keep it in another bowl and after a while you will see the potato starch at the bottom of the bowl.
- Put that potato starch back into the potato dough and mix it with boiled and riced potatoes, grated onion, teaspoon salt.
- Forming cepelinai: take about a cup of potato dough and pat in flat in your hand, put ¼ cup of meat filling in the center and fold the potato mixture around the meat.
- Carefully put dumplings into boiling water, add some salt and if needed cornstarch. Boil for at least 25 minutes.
- While cepelinai are boiling, make the sauce. You just need to fry the bacon and chopped onion until tender. You can add sour cream to the sauce or add after.
If it will be too confusing for you to cook do not be sad.
When I was a student I was living in a dorm, me and my friends, we made cepelinai at least two or three times during fall season. What I want to say that we all were Lithuanians and we all were experienced in cepelinai making, but not all the times we succeeded to make them perfect. One time we didn’t put enough potato starch and all dumplings lost its shape. Well, we were not disappointed we just made another delicious Lithuanian meal from it – Kugelis.