person making korean mandu dumplings

A Guide to Korean Mandu Dumplings

There’s nothing more comforting than a dumpling packed with flavorful meat and veggies that downright dance on your tongue! Cultures across the world understand this well and have spent years perfecting their own dumpling versions to eat and share with one another. Korea is no exception – their version of dumplings, mandu, are well-loved in the country, and with good reason! They are unbelievably tasty and quite easy to make. We’ll take you through a brief history of mandu dumplings and introduce you to how these dumplings are made in Korea.

Origins of Mandu Dumplings

It is difficult to pinpoint when mandu dumplings made their way to Korea. Some say the dumplings originated with the Mongolians during the 13th-14th century. At this time, the Mongol Empire had invaded Korea, enmeshing the two cultures during the process. Buddhism was also the primary religion of Korea during this period, which meant locals were not consuming meat during their everyday meals. The Mongols reintroduced meat to Korean culture and the mandu became one of the few meat-based dishes residents of the region regularly consumed.

How to Make Mandu Dumplings

Mandu dumplings are traditionally stuffed with a savory filling and can be made using multiple methods. You can get the dumplings steamed, fried, or even made into a soup! Steamed dumplings are referred to as Jjin-mandu, while fried dumplings are called gun-mandu. Boiled dumplings, which are placed in soup, are called mul-mandu.

Making The Dough

To make mandu dumplings, you need to create your dough and filling. The dough is a simple combination of water, all purpose flour, and salt. Combine these ingredients into a bowl and mix until you have a lumpy ball of dough. From here, you’ll hand knead the dough until smooth and cover for a half-hour by wrapping the dough in plastic wrap. After 30 minutes, you’ll knead the dough again for about 5 minutes, creating a smooth final product that slightly bounces back when touched. Once you have a finished dough, you’ll cut the dough into a few equal pieces, usually around 8-10, and then roll these pieces flat. This will be the foundation for your filling!

Cooking the Dumpling

Mandu dumpling fillings are usually savory and meat-based. They also tend to be combined with fillings like kimchi, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and glass noodles. The protein of choice for mandu dumpling fillings is often ground pork. However, you can also make vegetarian mandu dumplings and use protein substitutes like tofu or tempeh.

Now, you’ll fill the mandu wrapper with a filling of your choice, fold the dough like a taco, and pinch the edges together to secure the dumpling. You can shape the dumpling however you’d like. Many people go for either moon-shaped, seashell, or pot sticker shaped dumplings. Then, you can cook the dumpling using your method of choice. You can boil the dumplings for about 10 minutes, pan-fry them using a bit of oil for 5 minutes, or steam them with a steamer basket for 10 minutes.

Once all these steps are complete, this incredible Korean dish is yours for the eating! Don’t forget to dunk your mandu in a soy dipping sauce for extra flavor.

Visit the Dumpling School to Make Taiwanese-American Dumplings!

If you’re interested in gaining hands-on dumpling making experience, come to Patty Chen’s Dumpling School, located at 85 Windsor St, Cambridge, MA 02139! You’ll have the opportunity to gather with new and old friends to make tasty dumpling creations using vegan and meat-based fillings. Check out our event calendar here, or contact us via phone or email to schedule your very own private dumpling making party.

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