Pork and Kohlrabi Dumplings (Mandu)
This will probably not be my last mandu recipe on this blog because both my children and I have a serious addiction to these delicious pockets of joy. We always have them on deck. I mean it's no wonder why so many cultures have their own form of dumpling. Dumplings should be the food of the galaxy. Dumplings are life.
There is no one mandu recipe in Korean cuisine. Fillings vary from each family, holiday, region or your mood that day. Meat of course is a common filling, but vegetarian fillings are just as popular. Noodles go in them. Sometimes sprouts or tofu. The possibilities are endless.
Now I do want to say that more traditional mandus are going to come in thinner wheat flour skins rather than ones that resemble breadier and fluffier bao casings. Koreans typically boil them in water, add them to soups or pan fry them. Steaming mandu is not uncommon either.
Chicken is a rare meat filling but it wouldn't be heresy to make them with it. Kimchi filled mandu are of course the idol of the mandu world and it is usually paired with pork. They make me think of seollal, the Korean new year, when my family gets together and make dozens of them and everyone has a part in making them.
My recipe for mandu (today) has a mild and savory filling. The addition of kohlrabi adds a nice cabbagey sweetness to the pork. The bits of plumped dried shiitake give you a great earthy and umami flavor. This is a mandu that has a very classic flavor profile for a Korean meat mandu.
Yields about 35 mandu
- 1 lbs minced or ground pork
- 1 kohlrabi root, grated (I used the the larger holes on a box grater) and excess water squeezed out
- 6 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated. Squeeze out all excess water before chopping finely.
- 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- black pepper to taste
- a package of round pre-made Korean dumpling wrappers aka mandu p (yeah say it like it's a rapper's name, mandu P!). I used Haioreum brand.
<Prep tip: It is best to mince the pork and other ingredients very finely. Cleavers come in handy for mincing meat. Plus, you'll look intimidating.>
In a large mixing bowl, incorporate all ingredients (all but mandu p's) well by hand. Prepare a lightly floured tray or sheet to place completed mandu. Prepare a small ramekin of water for sealing mandu as well.
Spoon a tablespoon of filling into each wrapper. Wet half of inner mandu's edge surface with some water before sealing. You will be folding and sealing the mandu shut into a half moon. For your convenience I made a short tutorial on how to do this right here, just for you! :)
Feel free to add in some fancy looking creases too, if you'd like.
Repeat until all filling has been placed into your mandu. I boiled my mandu (called mool mandu in Korean).
All you need to do is bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and drop in your mandu, boil for about 7 to 10 minutes and until the mandu have floated to the top of the water's surface. Serve with a vinegared soy sauce or hot chili oil.
Store any remaining mandu in the freezer.