These very yummy dumplings (만두 mandoo/mandu) have many Korean names –
- 김치만두 (kimchi mandu) – because it contains lots of kimchi
- 평양만두 (pyeongyang mandu) – pyeongyang is the capital of North Korea and this mandu originally comes from the area
- 왕만두 (wang mandu) – ‘wang’ means king in Korean and it basically means it’s a king-size mandu.
So this North Korean style Kimchi dumplings or also called 이북식 만두 (Yibukshik Mandu) are what I grew up eating and making at home. Sitting around our table in the kitchen, our family made mandoo – probably as many as a hundred especially when it was near Korean New Year’s (설날 Seollal). Because my grandmother lived with us, we had lot of relatives visit our home for Seollal. And in those days, guests were ALWAYS fed Tteokmanduguk (떡만두국) no matter what time of day it was. 🙂
With the Korean New Year holiday (설날 Seollal) around the corner, I had a craving for these home made North Korean style kimchi mandu(dumplings). And I don’t mean just semi-home made dumplings that use ready made, store-bought mandu wrappers.. I wanted to eat ones that were made with home made dough. Once you have tasted these, you will want to have these again and again..I am kind of sad that these days, very few Koreans make mandu at home like our parents used to when I was little. So.. although my post will be long, I hope you will bear with me and also hope that some of you will even find time to make them at home while enjoying the slow process.
The recipe I introduce here uses a combination of pork and beef. You can adjust the amount of the meat (all beef, all pork, etc) and kimchi to your taste.
Servings: 18×4 inch mandu Prep Time: 2 hrs Cooking Time: 15 min Difficulty: Medium to High
- 4 oz or 1 C ground beef
- 4 oz or 1 C ground pork
- seasoning for meat
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce (진간장 jinkanjang)
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 1 tsp chopped ginger or ½ tsp ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- black pepper
- 1/2 C chopped cabbage kimchi
- 4 oz bean sprouts (roughly 1/2 package of 8 oz bags)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil + 1/8 tsp salt
- 8 oz extra firm tofu (usually 1/2 Korean tofu package
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil + 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 bunch Korean chives (부추 buchu) or green onions
- Wrapper Dough (만두피 mandu pea)
- 3 C all purpose flour (use bread flour for more chewy skin)
- 1 T vegetable oil
- ¾ C + 1~2 T water
MAKE THE DOUGH
- Make the dough by mixing 3 C flour, 2 tsp salt, 3/4 C water and 1 T vegetable oil. Add 1~ 2 T water depending on how your dough comes out. Knead for few minutes until the dough looks even throughout. It should not be so wet that it sticks to your hands but not so dry that you see dry spots in the dough. It should look something like this –
Keep the dough covered with a wet towel and let it sit for 30 min to 1 hour.
Make the stuffing
- Start boiling 4 C of water to cook sprouts in.
- Rinse bean sprouts and cook in boiling water. When water comes back to boil after adding the sprouts, turn off heat. Drain and rinse sprouts in cold water to stop it from cooking further.
- Take a handful of cooked sprouts and gently remove excess water by squeezing them into a ball. No need to squeeze too hard but just enough so that they look something like this.
Rough chop cooked sprouts into 1/2 in long pieces.
- Season chopped sprouts with 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1/8 tsp salt.
- Chop cabbage kimchi. If using a 포기김치 (pogi kimchi), remove extra seasoning (양념 yangnyeom) from the cabbage to make it less spicy and salty. You can even rinse the kimchi in water if you want a milder taste.
- Season ground meats with 1 tsp each of soy sauce, chopped garlic, ginger. Add 1/2 tsp salt and few dashes of pepper. Mix well.
- For tofu, use a cheese cloth to squeeze excess water. This is BEFORE
- Season tofu crumbles with 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1/4 tsp salt.
- Chop a handful of Korean chives like so.
- Mix meat, bean sprouts, kimchi, tofu and chives altogether.
how to make mandu/dumpling wrappers
- Divide and shape the dough into walnut size (1.5 inch) balls.
- Roll out each piece of dough to about 4 in rounds. I did not have a rolling pin so I used a glass bottle which is exactly what my mom used. And it worked just fine!
- Here’s a comparison picture of my home made mandu wrapper on the left and a store bought one on the right.
Can’t you just taste the difference from looking at it? I think I can!! Haha
- Now, we are finally ready to put it altogther!!! Take the mandu wrapper and put it on your palm. And then take about 2 heaping spoonfuls of the stuffing and put it at the center of the wrapper. The amount of stuffing should feel like it’s too much for the wrapper.
- Start sealing the mandu/dumpling by pinching the center edges. Since you are making with fresh dough, there’s no need to use water or egg whites to help the edges seal.
- Seal off the rest by pinching remaining sides.
- Here is how it looks when dumpling is all closed up!
- Sprinkle flour on a tray and lay the mandu on it, without the mandu touching each other.
- Time to COOK!!! You can either cook it in boiling water for 10-15 min until it floats to the top or steam it in a steamer for 10-15 min or add it to a beef broth for manduguk. Personally, I think boiled Mandu maintains the chewiness of the mandu skin the best without the edges drying out, which can happen with steaming sometimes.
- BTW, if you are wondering how I added the pleated designs into the mandu – here’s how. Just fold the edge once like so –
Tips for Storage
Leftover uncooked mandu/dumplings can be frozen for later use. In order to avoid the dumplings from sticking to each other, you need to first freeze briefly uncovered on a tray (see pic in step 8) until they feel hard on the outside. Once the outside of the dumplings/mandus are frozen hard, you can then put them altogether in a freezer bag and freeze for later use.
Finally, some restaurant recommendations which serve this kind of Korean dumpling in Seoul – Pildong Myeonok (필동면옥) in Pildong and Jinnampo Myeonok (진남포면옥) in 약수동 are my favorites. These restaurants have been around for generations, started by owners who are originally from North Korea, much like my parents.
Tips for making life easier
You don’t have to make the dough, the stuffing and mandu all in one day. You can make the stuffing and/or the dough ahead and keep in the fridge up to 1 day so you can break up the project over 2 days.
– Thank you to my sis #2 for letting me use her kitchen and dishes for this post !!