Today, I am so excited to be invited back at Rasa Malaysia and share a mandu (Korean dumplings) recipe as part of Bee’s special series on the Lunar New Year recipes. (I previously shared my dwaeji bulgogi recipe with her readers.) She is an amazing blogger with over 400 easy Asian recipes, and her first cookbook Easy Chinese Recipes was recently released.
Bee also asked me if I could share a little bit about Korean Lunar New Year traditions. Celebrated for three days, the Lunar New Year (Seollal) is the most significant traditional holiday in Korea. (It falls on January 23 this year.) It is a time for families to gather and pay respect to ancestors, through an ancestral rite (charae), and enjoy traditional food and games. Young people also honor their elders, by wishing them a prosperous and healthy New Year, with a deep bow (sebae) and receive gifts (usually money) in return. Growing up, this was one my favorite activities of New Year’s day. We always wore a new traditional dress (hanbok) and visited the elders of relatives and family friends to perform sebae. I remember I was a happy little kid with lots of money in my special little pouch made for the occasion.
Food, of course, is a big part of the New Year celebration in Korea. As is the case in many cultures, it’s a tradition to gather around the table to make the dumplings in preparation of the New Year’s feast. Now, please head over to Rasa Malaysia to read the rest.
Makes about 25 – 30 dumplings
25 – 30 dumpling wrappers (slightly thick)
1 cup (packed) finely chopped kimchi
6 ounces tofu
8 ounces mung bean sprouts
1/2 medium onion
4 ounces ground pork (and/or beef)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger (or juiced)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 egg (use the other half to seal the wrappers)
salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)
Finely chop the kimchi and squeeze out as much liquid as possible by hand. Squeeze out water from tofu.Using a cheesecloth will make squeezing easier. Blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water, drain, chop and squeeze out water. Finely chop the onion and squeeze out water. Finely chop the scallions.
The squeezed ingredients should be dry and crumbly. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well by hand.
Place one heaping teaspoonful to a tablespoon of the filling on a wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water or egg wash and seal tightly (pushing the air out with your fingers) into a half-moon shape. (Stop here if you want a half-moon shape dumpling.) Then, bring the two ends together, apply water or egg wash to one end and press tightly to create a round shape. Repeat this process until all the filling/wrappers are used.
Kimchi mandu can be steamed for about 8 minutes in a steamer (longer if frozen). Make sure to line the steamer with a cheesecloth or paper towel to prevent mandu from sticking.
Tips for freezing: I usually make mandu in large quantities and freeze them for a quick snack or meal in the future. Freeze the dumplings on a tray with no pieces touching for about an hour, and then store them in a freezer bag. Otherwise, the skins will get soggy from the moisture in the filling and stick together in the freezing process.
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pinch of black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
Combine all the sauce ingredients and mix well. Serve the mandu with the dipping sauce.