I have yet to meet a foodie - that would say no to a dumpling.
I’m a big fan of dumplings and have been making won tons for most of my life. Truth be told, I think I learned how to fold wontons before I could read or write. However, I find myself at a turning point in my life and am in search of my inner Korean. I know my ancestors are shaking their heads at me.
My love for Korean food has grown tremendously and as I learn more and more. I have a greater appreciation for what it takes to make a Korean meal come together.
Don’t get scared off by the length of this post. Mandu like all Asian dumplings takes more time than expertise and the up side is once you make a batch – you will have delicious mandu tucked away in your freezer waiting to become a quick 5 minute snack or meal for a later date.
This is my version of Maangchi’s mandu recipe. It was fantastic and to my surprise it didn’t need the egg to bind the ingredients together. This recipe has instantly become a new family favorite.
Here is a list of the things to consider when making mandu;
THE FILLING… Mixing the meat and vegetable in separate bowls before putting them together is the key to making the filling. It allows each individual ingredient to be seasoned.
THE WRAPPERS… Not all wrappers are created equal. Square won ton wrappers will not be a good choice when making mandu, they will be too thin and not hold up well. Look for the round Gyoza or Mandu wrappers that are Thick. This filling truly needs a thick wrapper. The wrappers get deliciously chewy and will hold up well when cooked. I always buy 2 – 1 pound packs of wrappers when I make won tons and always end up with extras. I do this purposely, because I always seem to be short a few wrappers. And when I get the rhythm going and start wrapping I don’t want any extra filling just lying around screaming to be wrapped. Just get creative with the extra wrappers or stick them in the freezer.
WRAPPING… I have always eaten mandu made in the half moon shape when eating these in restaurants. However, when doing the research for this post I learned that soup mandu are shaped more like won tons. I tried both and in the end preferred the half-moon shape. If you want to see how to fold the mandu like won tons look at my won ton post.
BOILED… My personal preference is the boiled mandu, served with dipping sauce – easy and satisfying. I could eat these all day long.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place mandu in the boiling water and stir so they won't stick to the bottom. When they float they are done. It's the same for frozen mandu. Never defrost the mandu - they will get gooey. Just cook frozen and when they float... give them just a touch more time and they will taste exactly like the fresh unfrozen ones you ate on the day you made them.
THE SOUP… I am a lover of soups and simple clear broth soups are my favorite. Maangchi makes a simple anchovie broth to cook and serve the mandu in. Delish. The recipe is below.
FRIED… If your preference is fried;
Put a non stick pan over med-low heat with about 2 Tbsp. oil. Add mandu and cook covered to brown on one side (about 2 min.) Then turn and brown on the other side (about 2 min.) Add 2 – 3 Tbsp. water; lower heat and cover. Cook until they are golden brown or deep fry. Serve with dipping sauce.
TO STORE… Place the folded mandu on a cookie sheet or tray without them touching, use plastic wrap between layers to keep them from sticking together. Then place them in the freezer for at least an hour. Once they are frozen, put them in a zip lock bag and they won’t stick together.
Korean Dumplings (Mandu)
I made 50 pretty fat mandu with this recipe
2 1#packs thick mandu/gyoza wrappers
*MEAT (Bowl #1)
1 pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
**VEGETABLES (Bowl #2)
Place ingredients in bowl in this order so that each of the individual ingredients will be properly seasoned.
4 whole dried shitake mushrooms, soaked and minced
2 Tbsp. onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. sesame oil
Place shitake, onion and garlic in to the bowl and season with soy sauce, sugar, salt and sesame oil; mix together;
Then add to the same bowl;
½ block regular/firm tofu, squeeze out moisture
2 cups green onions, minced
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
Place the tofu in a paper towel and gently squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can.
Put the tofu and green onions in the bowl with the sesame oil and toss everything together.
Add Veggies to the meat mixture and mix till blended.
Folding the Mandu;
Place the wrapper in your hand and lightly moisten the edge with water.
Place about 1 Tablespoon of filling in the center.
Fold the wrapper in half and seal the edges by pinching.
Do this about 5-6 times.
Place the mandu on a sheet pan or tray to freeze for later. See To Store above.
TO MAKE MANDU SOUP
6 cups water
I used the water I soaked the shitake mushrooms in as part of my 6 cups of water.
8 large dried anchovies, intestines removed
¼ med onion
1 tsp. fish sauce (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch kosher salt
1 beaten egg
2 stalks green onion, cut small
Place water in a pot along with dried anchovies, shitake stems and onion. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 – 30 minutes over med heat.
When the soup is done; strain broth and discard the ingredients. Now you have a clear broth.
Bring soup back to a boil over med heat and add fish sauce (optional), garlic and a pinch of salt and 6-8 mandu. Stir so the mandu won’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When the mandu floats they are cooked.
Stir in one beaten egg and green onions.