top of page

Roly-Poly Stewy-Wewy

Olia Hercule's recipe for Nudli, from Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine and Beyond, is very hearty - it will definitely get you ready for winter!

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 3 hours

Makes: Enough for 3 people.



1 tbsp sunflower oil

700g pork spare ribs

1 white onion

400g large potatoes

25ml apple juice

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper

Dumplings (kefir dough):

250g kefir (Greek yoghurt with a dash of water is a good substitute)

1/2 tbsp sunflower oil

1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

350g plain flour

1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

1. Prime the ribs

Heat one tbsp of oil in a large stewing pot on medium high heat.

Whilst it's heating up, seperate your ribs (if not already seperated), and then generously salt bae and pepper bae those ribs.

Once the oil is hot, pop your ribs in the pot, but don't overcrowd it - cook the ribs in two batches if they don't all fit in. Cook until brown on both sides, about 6 minutes total (It might look like the ribs are bleeding, after anxious googling we can both confirm this is not blood, just meaty juices).

Rest on a plate once browned.

2. The "healthy elements"

Whilst the ribs are browning, peel your potatoes, and cut in half lengthways, and then into quarters lengthways.

Once the ribs are out (DON'T WIPE THE POT) put the potatoes in. Cook on a medium high heat until browned on all sides. Slice an onion, and add to browned tatties.

Lower the heat and sweat those onions, like they're in a hot yoga class, for 10 minutes. Then add the apple juice and deglaze the pan.

Tip those ribs and their juices back into the pot. Pour over enough water until everything is covered. Add the bay leaf.

Put a lid on and leave simmering for 2 hours. The meat will be falling off the bone when you return.

3. The roly-poly part

About 15 minutes before the 2 hours is up, return to your kitchen (if you're already there, tenderly watching your stew, then you go Glen coco). Add your 250g kefir, 1/2 tbsp sunflower oil, 1/2 tbsp vinegar, 1/2 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt to a bowl and mix with a fork.

Sift 350g flour and the tsp of bicarbonate of soda into a separate bowl, then, to abolish all chances of lumpiness, sift again into the kefir mix. Mix with your fork. The dough should be soft and pillowy (do not rest your head on it though). If your dough is still sticky, heavy flour your work surface and knead the dough on it, incorporating more flour until it looks right.

Divide dough in two. Flour your work surface. Roll one half of the dough out to a rectangle 2mm in thickness. Pour 1 tbsp of sunflower over, spread evenly across dough rectangle (doughtangle, if you will) with your hands. Roll the rectangle forwards to form a tight, swirly sausage, like you're a blissful child playing with playdough.

Cut your dough sausage (doughsage?) up into 5cm pieces.

Do the same with the second half of dough. You should have around 17 dumplings by the end.

4. Get it together

Once the roly-polies are primed, remove the lid from your stew and have a peak at how it's doing. There should be some liquid, just enough to almost cover the meat. If not, add more water.

Crank the heat up until it's bubbling furiously. Carefully, but quickly, pop your dumplings on top to produce a Klimt-esque display of swirls.

Once all in, bang the lid back on. Make sure no steam is escaping, use a wet tea towel to seal the pot if it is, and cook for 15 minutes on a high heat (not AS hot as the furious bubbling, but still hawt). After 15 minutes, turn the heat down to low. Cook for another 30 minutes.

And voilá, tasty, hearty, dumpy wumpy, stewy dinner ready for your plate!

Serve with veg of your choice, and sour gherkins if you like them.

Have a bit of a family dink and sink!

Food for Thought

Lizzy says: "If I could eat nothing but these dumplings for ever, well then sign me up. They absorbed just enough of the meat juice to be flavoursome but not soggy, and were so doughy and good. The ribs had an excellent flavour but a little on the dry side. Because the meat reduced down in size so much, I would for sure add more in future, along with more onion and potato. I also didn't do the tea towel trick to keep the moisture in, so the bottom ended up a little bit crispy and burnt. Overall an 8/10."

Kate says: "I don't often eat pork, let alone pork ribs but this dish was dish-licious hehe! I especially liked the dumplings on top, they just absorbed the flavour from the meaty sauce and tasted wonderful. I would say perhaps they absorbed too much liquid, and next time I would add more to avoid a burnt bottom. Also, as much of a novel experience as the ribs were I think I would use chunks of meat with no bone inside next time. 7/10 more sauce needed!"

7.5/10 Gasps


bottom of page