Adventures in Dumplings!

10 Jun

Korean Kimchi Dumplings (Mandu)

I’ve been making traditional Korean dumplings (mandu) since I was a little girl. I have really fond memories of assembling the dumplings with my mom and sister over the years. We couldn’t have a special meal or holiday without our mandu! I still ask my mom to make me her dumplings when I come home for a visit.

I’ve eaten a lot of dumplings over the years, probably thousands, but to this day I think my mother’s dumplings are the absolute best. I don’t think mine come close to hers but I’ll give it a try.

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Makes about 4 dozen dumplings

  • 1 package round dumpling wrappers
  • 4 cups finely chopped kimchi (squeeze out some of the water)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 18-oz package firm tofu
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Small bowl of water
  • Vegetable oil for frying

First lets make the filling. In a large bowl, add the kimchi, pork, tofu, garlic, ginger, scallions, salt, pepper. Mix all ingredients together with your hands until they are fully blended. You can make this filling ahead of time and keep it wrapped in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the dumplings. If you have leftover filling, you can shape them into patties or even make meatballs.

The hardest part of dumpling-making is the assembly. Everyone has their personal method and I’ve even seen tools to make it easier. I think it just takes some practice and patience.

Take a wrapper in your hand and using your finger trace water around the edges of the wrapper all around. This is tricky because if you put too much water, then the wrapper gets gooey and if you put too little water, then the wrapper won’t stick. It just takes practice to get the right amount.

Using a teaspoon size spoon, put a small scoop of filling into the middle. Fold the dumpling into a half-moon shape pinching down so the edges adhere together. Now pinch the top part of the edges until they keep the shape (will take a few seconds). I like to make 4 pinches, but you can do less or if this is too challenging, you don’t have to pinch the edges at all.

Here is what the finished dumpling looks like.

Lay the dumplings on a tray and when they are finished, place the tray in the freezer. When the dumplings are frozen, take them off the tray and put in a plastic sealable bag. Then you can cook them whenever you want to eat them.

You can cook the dumplings several ways, but my favorite is deep frying them. I usually use vegetable oil. Just drop them into the hot oil until they get golden brown (Hint: the dumplings will float when they are finished cooking). Let the dumplings cool, but they are best if served hot!

I love making these traditional Korean dumplings, but I really love to experiment with new ideas. I like taking the idea of something traditional I grew up with and putting my own twist on it. I once made spicy cheeseburger dumplings that were a big hit. Think this will become a regular post on my blog so will keep you updated on my latest dumpling experiments. And if you have any suggestions for something you want me to try, just let me know!

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