A few years ago I went to Beijing for the Lunar New Year and for dinner on the eve of the holiday the hotel my friends and I stayed in were having a special event to get everyone involved. We were to make our own dumplings for dinner. They already had the dumpling skins and a variety of bowls with different ingredients that could go inside prepared. We were just to put them inside and squeeze them together. I remember it as an easy process and so to add to my list of Korean recipes that I can successfully make I decided to make my own mandu. We found some lovely homemade tofu at the local market this week, so our dumplings were mostly tofu, but really anything can go inside.
1 Tsp. Salt
2 Tbs. Sesame Oil
1 Tsp. Pepper
2 Cups of Ground Pork
3 Cups Tofu (Squeeze the liquid out in a cheesecloth.)
1/2 Cup Onions, Chopped
1 Cup Leeks, Chopped
3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
4 Large Shitake Mushrooms, Chopped
1 Spicy Green Pepper, Minced
1 Package of Prepared Dumpling Skins
1. All of the ingredients except for the dumpling skins should be placed in a bowl and mixed by hand.
2. Place a spoonful of the mix in the center of the dumpling skins and dab some water on the inside of half of the skin. Fold the skin in half and squeeze together. For dumplings that will be fried make little folds in the outer edge. For dumplings that will be used in soup take the two furthest ends of the dumplings and fold them towards each other. Use water as the glue to attach the ends.
3. Dumplings can be fried, steamed or boiled and eaten immediately. For storage they should be placed on a plate or pan that can fit into your freezer. They should not touch as they can stick together and then you’ll have to cook them all in one go. Freeze them apart and when they are frozen enough you can remove the plate or the pan and they’ll be fine in the bag.
4. Steamed or fried dumplings can/should be eaten with equal parts vinegar and soy sauce and a dash of spicy red pepper mixed in a bowl for dipping.
In Korea these are often made with meat, pork or beef or a mix of both, or with a kimchi filling. Dumplings are a food that seems to be all around the world though and I imagine you can put just about anything inside, so experiment and see what you can come up with. Next time I hope to make them with handmade dumpling skins, but as it was my first try I thought I’d go with the market bought for a bit of ease. Happy Cooking!
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