- Thi N. Jun 10, 2008 10:59 AM
I've been eating at random little Lebanaese/Armenian bakeries around East Hollywood. I have had two excellent little piroshki/pirogi things so far. First is at a bakery on Hollywood Blvd., on the south side of the street, on the same block as Samnuluang but about three storefronts east. They also had a fried dough thing filled with cream, tasty. Second is at a minimart on Hilllhurst, in the same complex as the Drawing Room. These were slightly better, I think.
Other good bets for Armenian piroshki/pirogis? These are fried, and have somewhat the same texture as, say, a Chinese donut, but meaty and spicey inside. Me likes.
I'm pretty sure there's a difference between piroshki and pirogi. At least, that's what I recall from my Russian grandmother. Piroshki is more of a pastry, though often with a savory stuffing.
Pirogi is more of a ravioli type dough, stuffed with potato, or cabbage, cheese, prune...or some combination of these elements. I was told piroshki was Russian, pirogi Polish. But I'm sure there are different versions in each area.
I know they serve very nice pirogi at Warsaza (sp?) in Santa Monica. And there's a similar item at Outtake Bistro in Studio City, though it's called something else.
having grown up in a russian/ukrainian household (89 year old mom is still around!), i would like to clarify some meanings. i cannot speak from the polish perspective.
all of the items being discussed are pastries filled with stuffings. sometimes they are deep-fried, sometimes baked, and sometimes pan-fired. (there is also a variation called "vareniki" which are individual and are boiled).
the terms "piroshki" and "pirogi" as they are in use here in the usa are gramatically incorrect in the original.
a "pirog" (singular) is a large pastry, with a layer of dough on the bottom, then a filling (usually meat or cabbage or potatoes, but also made with fish and sometimes fruit), then covered with another layer of dough, then usually basted with an egg wash, and then baked. it is then cut into individual squares (3"x3", or so) and served. the term "pirogi" (in russian, with emphasis on the last syllable) is simply the plural for a single pirog. the individual cut pieces are referred to as "parts of the pirog".i believe that this is different in polish.
a "pirozhok" (singular, emphasis on last syllable) is an individual dough pastry stuffed with a filling. same types of fillings as above. they are usually either football shaped, or flattened out. again, they are deep or pan fried or baked. the dough can either be flaky or solid. in russian "pirozhki" (emphasis on last syllable) is the plural of an individual "pirozhok". so when someone says "i would like to order a pirozhki" it drives native russian speakers bonkers because you are asking for a single item in a plural case! it would be like saying "i would like to buy THAT carS!" again, the polish language is different.
all of this being said, my entire family has been buying pirozhki (plural, emphasis on last syllable) from a store on reseda boulevard, about a mile north of the 101, on the east side of the street, in a small shopping center next to a russian restaurant. (sorry, if i remember the name, i will add it later.) we have decided that their food is as good as "mother used to make", but requires much less work. everyone in the store speaks russian, and i have actually had to translate for a non-russian customer. they have a lot of imported russian, ukrainian & armenian items, and a large deli. most of their prepared foods are either made on premises, or by ladies who live nearby and prepare in their homes. besides the pirozhki, we also like their frozen home-made pelmeni (a siberian dish, similar to won-tons, stuffed with meat or chicken, then boiled in boullion and served with the liquid with sour cream.) if you get any of these, buy the ones that are in simple plastic bags labeled either chicken or meat. they are better than the ones that have the fancy bags and printing. i keep my mother supplied with these - very easy quick meal.
So I'm talking is probably most like what you call a pirozhok - but in different Lebanese-Armenian bakeries I've been in have translated that same thing both as "piroshki" and "pirogi". There's probably some term-wandering, translational weirdness. Anyway - the Lebanese version I've had is slightly different from the Eastern European version - the Lebanese version seems... crispier, and a little heartier and chawier...
re: Thi N.
just for clarification. my wife is first generation lebanese (not lebanese/armenian, there is a difference). her family cooks many lebanese dishes. the lebanese version of a pirozhok is called "ftayir" (when they pronounce it sounds like "ftoye" to me).
the ones that her mother, aunts, grandmother, etc., cook are generally triangular shaped, open faced and baked. simply the baking makes them healthier. they are generally stuffed with either a ground lamb/pine nut mixture, or with sauteed spinach. (the spinach version is usually prepared during lent.)
the best sources of these (besides making them yourself) are generally the bake sales at the local antiochian orthodox churches.