Made with love: Mandoo, Korean dumplings

April 18, 2008

Pan fried mandoo with Korean dipping sauce



Some of my fondest memories of childhood involve a kitchenful of women, all sitting around the table making mandoo, gossiping and laughing.  My mother, grandmother, aunts and female cousins would gather together in the kitchen, making short work of a big bowl of dumpling filling.   Mandoo, Korean dumplings (also called pot stickers and gyoza) is rather labor-intensive and is best when made with a lot of hands (and a lot of love).  Today at age seven, my daughter is now eager to help in the kitchen and join the tradition. 

I’ve modified this recipe to a manageable amount – I usually make about 150 at a time and either freeze or give away the extras.  (The photos do show a larger amount than the recipe calls for.)  This is a very basic, traditional recipe, although I have modified it many ways over the years.  Take out the meat, double the tofu and bean sprouts and add some shredded carrots to make it vegetarian.  Or, use ground turkey instead of beef and pork for a more heart-healthy version.  My favorite variation is adding chopped kim-chi – yum!

Mandoo – Korean dumplings

8 oz. bean sprouts, coarsely chopped

6 oz. ground beef

6 oz. ground pork

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1-2 tsp. minced ginger

1 block of tofu

4 scallions, chopped

1 egg

1 Tbs. sesame seed oil

1 tsp. salt

pepper to taste

50 gyoza or Chinese dumpling skins (available in the frozen section of Asian grocery stores and some über-hip suburban grocery stores)

1 beaten egg for wash

 Boil chopped bean sprouts for about 3 minutes – do not over cook.  Place cooked bean sprouts, meat, minced garlic, ginger and onions, tofu and scallions in a cheesecloth. 

 Squeeze the dickens out of it.  (For those with weak upper body strength – you can place a heavy pot filled with water on top of the cheesecloth-wrap and let the moisture ooze out for a half hour or so). 

 Add sesame seed oil, egg, salt, and pepper.  Combine well, making sure to break down the tofu into little bits.

 This size package contains approximately 50 skins.  Make sure to defrost fully.

Lightly beat one egg in small bowl, adding a tiny bit of water.  Dip you finger in the egg wash and moisten the entire outer edge of the dumpling skin.  Then take a heaping teaspoon of the filling and place it in the center of the dumpling.

Make sure to NOT over-stuff!

 Fold dumpling in half.

 And pinch close tightly.

 Repeat 50 times.  My daughter made the bottom right ones – ignore the filling coming out the edges.


Ok, from here you have several options.  You can 1.) steam them right now and eat them (healthiest option), 2.) steam them right now, then pan fry them (the tastiest option),  3.)  put them in beef broth and make mandoo soup, 4.) steam them now, then freeze them to fry at a later time, 5.) simultaneously fry/steam them, or 6.)  drop these babies in the deep fryer (easiest but least healthy option).

If you opt for the time-saver #5 option, you need to coat a heavy frying pan with oil and place on medium high.  Add raw dumplings and fry for a few minutes, then turn and fry for a couple minutes more.  Turn up heat to high and carefully add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/4″.  Cover tightly and steam for about 4-5 minutes, lowering to medium-low once the water boils, making sure not to burn.

I like to steam them separately then pan fry them, mainly because I have the mother of all steamers.  Check out my double-decker steamer (the bottom layer is covered):

 Always place a wet paper towel on a metal steamer (not necessary on bamboo).  Otherwise, the dumplings will stick and rip when you try to take them out.  You do not want to over steam – the edges will get very dried out.  It should only take about 4-5 minutes to cook.  Look for the dumplings to puff up and after you take off the lid, it will sink back down and cling to the bumpy meat mixture. 

Pan fry the dumplings in oil and serve with Korean-style dipping sauce.  You can place the fried dumplings in an over-safe dish, cover in foil and warm in oven until ready to serve.  If you bring this to a party, expect them to disappear within five minutes (maybe less). 



Korean Dipping Sauce

1/3 C. soy sauce

1 minced garlic clove

2 scallions, finely chopped

1-2 tsp. sesame seed oil

dash of Korean red pepper powder (kochu garu) or cayenne pepper

dash of crushed toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Mix all ingredients well and serve with mandoo, scallion pancakes, or anything that tastes good dipped in soy sauce!

9 Responses to “Made with love: Mandoo, Korean dumplings”

  1. sarah Says:

    now that i’m doing a little “seoul searching” this year, i’ve got to make sure to do mandoo from scratch! (thanks for the reminder, and i looove the photos)

  2. Tek Says:

    These look amazing! I want to try to make so badly but cannot find gyoza wrappers anywhere. =(

    Will have to try when I can find some!

  3. parsnipsaplenty Says:

    Looks like your daughter is on her way to becoming another pro mandoo folder. 🙂

  4. I love these. I hope to get a chance to make them as soon as possible. Seems like the big table and the company are as essential an ingredient as the filling, though, so I am going to have to work to get some bodies committed. Best of luck! See you in a restaurant somewhere someday.


  5. Meeta Says:

    these sound fantastic. first it sounds quite easy with your step by step pictorial. i always thought there would be more to the dumplings. but you make it sound easy!

  6. Mrs Ergül Says:

    This looks so good! Another keeper!

  7. Nicole Says:

    I loved them while in Korea!
    I can only imagine how great it would be to make them with a bunch of people.
    Thanks for showing!

  8. Brooke Says:

    I made them without the pork! They were so good! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!!!!!!

  9. Alex Says:


    Is that soft or firm tofu?

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