Mandu are Korean dumplings stuffed with a mixture of various meats and vegetables. There are many variations of mandu. Some classic versions are gogi mandu (which has meat as the main ingredient in the filling), yachae mandu (vegetable) and kimchi-stuffed mandu. The cooking method also varies. Mandu can be steamed, deep-fried, pan-fried, boiled or used to make soup. Mandu are usually made in large quantities and frozen for later use. Frozen mandu are easy to prepare as a delicious snack, appetizer, or meal, making it a home-cooked favorite for my two kids away at school.
This recipe was originally published in Celebrate the Korean New Year.
*Note: Gochugaru are Korean red chile pepper flakes and can be found in the Asian section of the supermarket or specialty Korean grocery stores.
**Note: Mandu are so versatile that you can use any type of meat you like (or none at all). Although pork is classic, I typically use two types of meat and/or seafood for the complexity of flavor: pork and beef or pork and shrimp.
For the sauce
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Teaspoon vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1/2 Teaspoon sugar
- Pinch of black pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes, preferably gochugaru*
For the dumplings
- Salt, to taste
- 1 medium-sized zucchini, chopped finely
- 1 Pound cabbage, chopped finely
- 1/2 Pound ground pork**
- 1/4 Pound ground shrimp or ground beef
- 8 Ounces mushrooms, preferably shiitake, chopped finely
- 3 scallions, chopped finely
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 Teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon pepper
- 40 dumpling wrappers
- Vegetable oil, for frying
For the sauce
Step 1: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
For the dumplings
Step 1: In two separate bowls, generously sprinkle salt over the chopped zucchini and cabbage and set aside for at least 15 minutes (this process will draw out water, soften the texture, and add flavor).
Step 2: Squeeze out as much water as possible from salted zucchini and cabbage by hand. Transfer the zucchini and cabbage to a large bowl and combine with 1/2 pound ground pork, 1/4 pound ground shrimp or beef, 8 ounces finely chopped mushrooms, 3 finely chopped scallions, 1 finely chopped small onion, 1 beaten egg, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 1 teaspoon minced ginger. Season with salt and mix well by hand.
Step 3: Place 1 heaping teaspoon 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 with the remaining wrappers.
Step 4a: For tuigin mandu (deep-fried dumplings), heat a deep skillet with about 2-3 inches of vegetable oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Fry the dumplings for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve hot with sauce.
Step 4b: For mul mandu (boiled dumplings), bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the mandu a few at a time, stirring gently so they don't stick to the bottom of the pot), and cook until all of them come up to the surface. Serve hot with sauce.
Step 4c: Alternately, to freeze before cooking, arrange dumplings in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet and freeze fully before transferring to a freezer bag or container.