mandu. Kids, cousins, aunts, mothers would all sit around a table and assemble platter after platter of these tasty dumplings. My mother would make a huge mound of filling, and we would stuff the store-bought wrappers, seal them, and shape them. As they were being assembled, my aunt would boil them, dozens at a time and we would eat bowlfuls of them as we were assembling more. When they were all made, more would be boiled, and fried and devoured. Bragging rights were given to the family member who could eat the most mandu at one sitting. I think my cousin was able to eat 25 boiled dumplings one year. It was a happy time, it's a great memory. As we kids got older and started living our own lives, the gatherings became fewer and farther between and eventually they stopped altogether. But mandu is still a comfort food for me and making them brings back all of those happy memories of my childhood.Every Thanksgiving my family would get together and make
I made the wrappers from scratch this time and was surprised at how easy it was. I used a combination of pork, beef, tofu, shitake mushrooms, onion, scallions, and kimchi. The amount of filling this makes required 3 batches of wrapper dough. You can always halve the filling recipe if you don't want a huge amount. I didn't actually count the number of dumplings, but they filled two large baking sheets. If you have kids or a willing partner, it will go faster if you enlist their help. Even if you don't, once you get making the wrapper down, the rest is really a breeze. If you don't feel like making your own skins, you can always buy the pre-made kind at the store. The only thing to keep in mind with the premade is to not overfill, as they tend to rip. You also need to moisten the edges with some water. With homemade, you have more flexibility. If you want to fill them up more, the dough stretches enough that you don't have to worry about it. And you don't need to moisten the edges, a gentle pinch is sufficient to seal them.
This was a great batch. Super tasty, moist filling, and so flavorful. You can used different meats and vegetables, but make sure you squeeze out any excess liquid. Sometimes I mix in some diced raw shrimp and that is good too. My own family prefers them cooked pot sticker style. But my personal favorite will always be boiled, because that's how we ate them during those Thanksgivings.
Meat and Kimchi Mandu:
1 pound ground pork
2 pound ground beef
2 packages of tofu (4 large squares)
1 bunch of scallions (green onion), chopped
1 bag (approx 2 cups) bean sprouts, blanched
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
2 cups sliced dried Shitake mushroom, soaked and squeezed dry, and chopped (if your Shitakes are whole, use about 10)
2 cups very ripe kimchi, chopped
Put the ground meat into a large bowl, Salt and pepper.
Put green onions in a separate bowl, drizzle with sesame oil and a little soy sauce. Put in the meat bowl.
In the same small bowl you used for the greed onion, put in the chopped mushroom. Make sure all of the liquid has been squeezed out. Mix this with a 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sugar, and a tablespoon of sesame oil. Put this in with the meat.
Squeeze out all of the water from the bean sprouts and drizzle with soy sauce and sesame oil. Put in the meat bowl.
Put the tofu into a cheesecloth or a non-fuzzy towel and squeeze out all of the liquid. Put the tofu into the small bowl and season with sesame oil and salt and pepper. Put this into the meat bowl.
Squeeze the liquid out of your kimchi and put that into the meat bowl.
Mix everything together by hand. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of just boiled water
In a food processor, put in the flour. With the machine running, stream in the hot water. As soon as the water has been poured, stop the machine and check the dough. It should look rough, but hold together if you pinch it. If necessary, add more water a tablespoon at a time.
Run the machine for another 10 seconds and then transfer the dough to a board. Knead briefly until the dough is smooth and somewhat elastic. It should hold the impression of your finger if you poke it.
*If you don't have a food processor, you can hand mix it with a wooden spoon and then transfer it to a board to knead it.
Put it in a Ziploc plastic bag and let it sit for about 20 minutes. The steam will make the dough very soft and easy to work with.
When you are ready to assemble your mandu, take the dough out of the plastic and divide it into four pieces. Keep one out and put the rest back into the bag and seal it.
Roll the piece out into a 1-inch log and then cut them into 1-inch pieces. The end pieces will have to be cut a little longer because they are thinner. I didn't use a ruler, but a good way to gage how big the pieces need to be is to compare it in your mind to a piece of Bazooka bubble gum. That is size and shape you will need.
Keep a piece of plastic wrap over the pieces so they don't dry out. You will need a small dowel or rolling pin to shape them into small circles. They do not need to be perfect. Make sure you lightly flour your board as you are rolling so they don't stick. You can flip the disc over as you work and add a little more flour to the board.
Assemble your mandu:
Put about a teaspoon of filling in the center of your dough disc. Fold in half (like a half-moon) and seal the edges. Dredge lightly in a little flour and set aside on a parchment lined platter or baking sheet. Continue until all of the filling has been used.
*Mandu can be frozen. First freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet (make sure you lay them out flat so they are not touching. Once they are frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag. You can cook them directly from frozen.
*Pot sticker style- Heat up a non-stick skillet that has a tight fitting lid. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and add your mandu. Brown on one side, flip over and add about 1/4 cup of water to the hot pan. Cover right away and continue cooking until all of the water has evaporated.
*Steam: Preferably in a bamboo steamer.
*Deep Fry (like an egg roll)
*Put in soups
1 Tablespoon vinegar
2 Tablespoon soy sauce
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