Every so often, I’ll start reminiscing about my childhood or, find myself missing home, missing my mom, missing all of the little things about growing up that reminded me that I was loved. Then I remember the truth to these memories but it still takes me back. Today was one of those days. So, I woke up, rolled out of bed and got started on making some Korean Mandu.
Every culture has some version of dumpling. The Korean culture has countless varieties. Each family with their own recipe, with their own variation to this simple but delicious classic. I remember my mom sitting us down (my three older sisters and me) and having us make dumplings with her. Often enough to feed many guests and still have enough left over to freeze and eat through the year. It was a day-long affair and often resulted in some tears until it was time to eat them. They freeze incredibly well and can be used in soups, or reheated and eaten on their own.
Try out the recipe below. This recipe should make enough filling to use up an entire package of wrappers with no waste.
Today, I managed to make 40 dumplings in just under an hour from start to finish. You’ll note that I used square wrappers in today’s photos. I also managed (as only I could) to break my toe making dumplings so, there was that. If you are anything at all like me. Be sure to wear safety shoes while in the kitchen. Maybe even a hard hat.
Hope you enjoy the recipe and let me know how you like it!
- 1 package dumpling skins/wrappers (about 40 pieces)
For the filling
- 8 ounces zucchini finely chopped
- 10 ounces green cabbage finely chopped
- 4 ounces fresh mushrooms finely chopped (shiitaki preferably)
- 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 scallions finely chopped
- 1/2 pound ground pork or other meat if preferred
- 1/4 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 to 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger or juiced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt to season the filling and more for salting vegetables
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
For the dipping sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- pinch of black pepper
- pinch of red pepper flakes gochugaru (optional)
- pinch of sesame seeds (optional)
- finely chopped jalapenos (optional)
Finely chop zucchini and cabbage.
In two separate bowls, generously sprinkle salt over the chopped zucchini and cabbage and set aside (for at least 15 minutes) while preparing other ingredients. (This process will draw out water, soften the texture, and add flavor.) Squeeze out as much water as possible from the salted zucchini and cabbage by hand. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Prepare all the remaining ingredients and add to the mixing bowl. Mix all ingredients well with your hand.
Place one heaping teaspoonful of the filling on a wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water and seal tightly (pushing the air out with your fingers) into a half-moon shape. Repeat this process until all the filling/wrappers are used.
Gun mandu (pan fried)
Heat the pan with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the dumplings, making sure they aren’t touching each other. Fry for 1 – 2 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown. Add 1/3 cup of water to the pan, and cover immediately with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium low, and steam for 4 to 5 minutes. Or cook 2 – 3 minutes on each side over medium heat until golden brown without adding water. If the dumplings are frozen, cook a little longer.
Tuigin mandu (deep-fried dumplings)
Heat a deep fryer or skillet with about 2-3 inches of canola or vegetable oil over medium-high heat to 350°F. Fry the dumplings for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
Jjin mandu (steamed)
Steam the dumplings for about 10 minutes in a steamer (12 minutes if frozen). Make sure to line the steamer with a wet cheesecloth or cabbage leaves to prevent the mandu from sticking.
Mul mandu (boiled)
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add mandu (stirring gently so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot) a few at a time, and cook until all of them come up to the surface. Continue to cook for another minute or two.