Creamy Cheese and Chive Dumplings

bowl of cheese and chive dumplings with vegan sausage
bowl of cheese and chive dumplings with vegan sausage next to the cookbook titled Kachka
bowl of cheese and chive dumplings with vegan sausage, topped with greek yogurt

Tvorog Vareniki from Kachka

These creamy cheese and chive dumplings are like soft pillows that ooze with gooey goodness. They are from the cookbook Kachka, written by the owners of the local restaurant by the same name, here in Portland. We visited Kachka (the restaurant; I wish you could physically visit places in books…) the other week. Their menu is comprised of a myriad of delicious food from the former Soviet Union. Because of covid, only outdoor seating was available. It was a cold and windy day (it’s Oregon, duh) but it was so fun to sit outside and enjoy the Russian music blasting on the radio. I wanted to order something (a) warm, (b) traditional, and (c) unique to the restaurant. Their dumplings, called tvorgo vareniki, hit the spot. They are filled with farmer’s cheese and chives and are tossed with melted butter and a splash of vinegar. I ordered them with the garlic broth and OH MY GOSH. These were the best dumplings I have ever eaten, hands down. As the wind whipped at our hair and our faces, I felt the hot salty broth and the creamy tangy cheese dumplings warm me from the inside out.
it. was. perfect.

menu from the restaurant Kachka
Kachka menu from October 2020
bowl of cheese dumplings in garlic broth from the restaurant Kachka
tvorog vareniki with garlic broth at Kachka
lamb burger and shoe string fries from the restaurant Kachka
lamb burger with shoe string fries from Kachka

Cheesy Dumplings at Home

When I got home after visiting the restaurant Kachka, I savagely searched through my Kachka cookbook and voila! I found the recipe for tvorgo vareniki! *rapid fist pumping in the air!* Overall, these creamy cheese and chive dumplings were pretty simple to make.
– Blend together the cheese filling.
– Make the basic dumpling dough and knead it until you sweat.
– Rest the dough for an hour, then divide it into eight balls and roll them out to fit your dumpling maker.
– Fill the dumplings, seal them and boil them.

Before you know it, you’ll have more dumplings than you know what to do with! Well, when you taste these bad boys, you’ll know exactly what to do with them. 🙂
I was honestly surprised at how well these dumplings turned out when I made them! The wonderful tangy, creamy, luscious, salty, doughy goodness came through in each bite. But making dumplings is sort of like when I made homemade sourdough bread – it is enough time and effort that if I’m ever hankering for these, I might just buy them from the store instead. PLUS Kachka sells their dumplings sooooo… Christmas gift idea? 😉

dumpling dough divided into eight balls, sitting on a plate
dumpling dough rolled out flat and placed on top of a dumpling maker.
dumplings filled and sealed on a dumpling maker.
filled and sealed dumplings lined up on a wooden board

Dumplings However You Like!

I chose to eat my dumplings with sliced vegan chorizo sausage. The sausages add color, a little spicy flavor and extra protein. These dumplings are delicious with Kachka’s garlic broth (especially if you’re eating them outside on a cold windy day!) And they are scrumptious with any type of sliced sausage.
Just before serving, mix each serving of the hot dumplings in Kachka’s “secret sauce” which is one tablespoon of butter, one teaspoon white vinegar, and a pinch of salt. The melted butter makes the dumplings saturated in goodness and prevents them from tasting dry. The splash of vinegar brightens the whole dish. Add some extra chopped chives and a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, and you might just find yourself in dumpling bliss, my friend.

overhead shot of a bowl of cheese and chive dumplings with vegan sausage next to a dumpling maker
close-up of a bowl of cheese and chive dumplings with vegan sausage next to a dumpling maker

Tvorog Vareniki (Farmer’s Cheese and Chives Dumplings)

strawberryandcream
Delicious and creamy Russian dumplings filled with cheese, probiotic kefir and chives, from the restaurant and cookbook KACHKA!
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Russian
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

Dumpling Filling

  • 1 pound farmer's cheese (I couldn't find this in my grocery store, so I substituted ricotta cheese)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup kefir (Or mix a scant ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt with 3 Tbsp of milk)
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup minced chives

Dumpling Dough

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp cold water

Dumpling Sauce & Toppings

  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 6 tsp white vinegar
  • 6 pinches kosher salt
  • minced chives, for garnish

Instructions
 

Make the Dumpling Filling

  • Blend the farmer's cheese (or ricotta), egg, kefir (or Greek yogurt thinned with milk), parmesan, flour and salt in a food processor until it is smooth.
  • Transfer the mixture to a container with a lid and stir in the chives.
    Refrigerate the cheese mixture overnight.

Make the Dumpling Dough

  • In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the flour and salt.
  • Mix in the egg.
    Slowly add the water while mixing the dough.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes on a stand mixer, or 20 minutes by hand, until it becomes a smooth and elastic ball.
  • Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least one hour.

Assemble the Dumplings

  • Flour a baking sheet, on which you'll place the finished dumplings.
  • Divide the dough into eight even balls. Keep the dough balls that aren't being used covered until plastic wrap so they don't dry out.
  • Dust flour on a clean work surface and roll out the first dough ball slightly larger than the size of your dumpling-maker.
    Drape the dough over the dumpling maker and use your hands or a dumpling press to make a little wiggle room for the filling.
    Re-flour your work surface as needed, and roll out the second ball of dough, to prepare the top layer.
  • Fill the dumplings with about one heaping teaspoon of the cheese filling.
  • Drape the second sheet of dough on top, and use a rolling pin or the blunt end of a wood spoon to press the two dough layers together to seal the dumplings.
    Carefully take the dumplings out of the dumpling maker and put them on a floured baking sheet, spread out so none overlap and stick together.
  • If you don't have a dumpling maker, simply divide the dough into four even balls and roll it out to the same thickness as fresh pasta.
    Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter or a drinking glass to cut rounds of dough.
    Fill the rounds with one heaping teaspoon of the cheese filling.
    Brush the edges of the dough with water and fold them into half-circles. Press the edges to seal the dumplings.
  • Repeat the steps to roll out the dough, fill them with the cheese filling and seal the dumplings closed.

Cook & Eat the Dumplings

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
    Add about 10 dumplings at a time, so you don't crowd the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any dumplings that get stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Boil the dumplings for about 5 minutes, until the noodles are al dente and the cheese filling is gooey and hot.
  • For each serving, mix hot dumplings with 1 Tbsp butter, 1 tsp white vinegar and a pinch of kosher salt. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and minced chives.
Keyword cheese, chives, dumpling, noodles, ravioli, Russian, tvorog, vareniki, vegetarian

33 Replies to “Creamy Cheese and Chive Dumplings”

    • strawberryandcream

      After making them at home I’m realizing I’m more in the same boat as you girl! 😂 It was fun and a learning experience to make them from scratch but maybe next time I’ll let a pro do the work and I’ll just buy them hahah 🥟
      Have you ever tried making dumplings or ravioli at home?

  1. Yum-number1

    I tried Kachka dumplings before and you’re so right! They are absolutely delicious!
    I’d totally give these a try to make at home as a way to test your culinary skills :p

    • strawberryandcream

      Thank you!! ❤️ I feel like a newbie to the dumpling world and I can’t wait to try more types of dumplings from around the world! I feel like so many cultures and regions have their unique take on the dumpling. What do Jamaican dumplings taste like?

  2. infinitelyadaydreamer

    Oh my goodness. These look beyond delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about them! What a great pick. I’ll have to set aside a day just to cook these dumplings and then make a nice dessert! The perfect meal 😍 thank you so much for sharing x

  3. Markus + Micah

    Wow, that looks like a dream. It was very cool for the restaurant to share their recipes, too. I have not tried any Russian food but have always been curious since I saw Vladimir Mukin on Chef’s Table. Your post certainly added to it. Now I am hungry.

    • strawberryandcream

      I’ve seen a few episodes of Chef’s Table – it’s incredible what those chefs create!! It’s more like art! And yes, I love when restaurants share their recipes, so we can bring the magic home! 😁

      • Markus + Micah

        Chef’s Table is the best. The makers know what they are doing. Yes! Love how you put that – so we can bring the magic home. This is how I started cooking, too, wanting to recreate delicious food we had while traveling.

        • strawberryandcream

          My favorite episode is the one about Christina Tosi because (1) I LOVE milk bar and (2) you don’t have to read subtitles 😂 I love y’all’s travel blog! My DREAM is to try food around the world!! 🌎 🌍 Ultimate question – which country has the best food that you’ve visited so far??

          • Markus + Micah

            My sister showed me that episode! My favorite is the Alex Atala episode and Jeong Kwan. There is a theme on the episodes I like, no? But I honestly really enjoy that series because I love food and watching it. Best food so far is Bali. It inspired me to cook more and learn more about the food, especially where it came from. Eating at the small family-owned shops is also a lovely experience. You?

            • strawberryandcream

              I haven’t seen that one, I’ll have to check it out! Wow Bali is definitely towards the top of my travel bucket list!! What was one of your favorite dishes from there?
              I actually used to live in Germany growing up and we got to travel in Europe on long weekends on holidays! I think my favorite would be crepes in France. There’s something so amazing about a simple crepe batter cooked to perfection and just Nutella and powdered sugar or just fruit (and I have a massive sweet tooth) 😋 Bit maybe going back as an adult, my opinion would change, since we were there when I was in elementary school 😂

  4. Deeksha Pathak

    We are celebrating 5 days festival of Deepawali. Main festival is on Saturday. From today festival starts and in each house kitchens will be having wonderful aroma of home- made sweets and snacks😀

what do you think? :)

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