Going to make this short–I’ve done a lot of posting the last few days, and it’s a reflection of all the typing I’ve been doing on the whole…as a result, my wrists and forearms are burning! I don’t dare admit I have the evil thing called “carpal tunnel syndrom” but I will take it as a sign to lay off typing for awhile. In fact, after this post, I’ve vowed to try to take a few days off from food blogging just for the sake of my wrists.
Oh–see how this is not short already?
On with the show.
When Melanie blogged here about lumpia, the most lovely fried concoction I have had in months (and considering how wonderful MOST fried foods are for me, that is saying a LOT), she spurred on a desire in me to have the equivalent in Korea-land. Mandoo.
Mandoo are one kind of Korean dumpling (the other kind resembling Chinese steamed pork buns with their round bready shapes). You can make soup with them, “Mandoo guk”…and you can boil them…and you can fry them. I prefer them fried–my mother used to make Mandoo and take them to our school and boy scout troop potlucks where they would be welcomed with “oohs” and “aaahhhs.” They were in high demand, and she would make them every time, feeling that for people to love our food was for them to accept a small part of Korean culture, and thereby her children.
These are not easy things to make–they are somewhat labor intensive (you have to wrap each dumpling by hand), and I remember spending hours making dumplings with my mother for these social engagements. And we would watch with both pride and horror (hours of work!) how they disappeared into the mouths of our suburban neighbors in a matter of minutes.
Additionally, I was also put into a “mandoo mood” because I signed up to make aushak for the ReadCookEat Book club–and its accompanying “cooking meme” of making a recipe out each selected book. Aushak are afghani dumplings…
and for some reason, i could NOT stop obsessing about making both Afghani aushak dumplings AND Korean mandoo dumplings in one day! What a pair!
And the ingredients were in many ways convenient ( both use gyoza wrapperes…and the aushak dumplings require a filling made with the chopped green tops of scallions…the korean dumpings require a filling made with the chopped white root end of the scallions just for starters). So why not?
So I did.
My husband kept looking at me, “Okay…stop obsessing over dumplings.” But when it came round to TASTING and EATING my creation, I think he knew it was all worth it.
My mother made an “Americanized” mandoo which included finely minced carrot and zucchini. I used a recipe out of a book and adapted it and though it does not resemble my mother’s mandoo too much, it’s much more traditional.
I’ll post details and the recipe for the aushak MUCH later–since that’s saved for Eric’s Book Club.
KOREAN MANDOO (adapted from Hi Soo Hepinstall’s Growing up in a Korean Kitchen)
* store bought wonton skins or gyoza skins, defrosted (if frozen)
* handful of fresh oyster mushrooms or shitake mushrooms (or dried shitake if you cannot find them fresh)
* 1 cup cabbage kimchi finely chopped (I used radish kimchi, minced since I didn’t have any cabbage kimchi on hand).
* 8 ounces medium-firm bean curd tofu
* 1/2 pound ground beef
* 1 egg, slightly beaten
* 2 tablespoons of rice wine or vermouth
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
* 2 large green onions, white and pale green part only, finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon sesame oil
* 1 teaspoon ginger juice or grated ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* pinch of freshly ground black pepper
* 2 cups flour for dusting
Note: bean curd (tofu) and egg are 2 necessary ingredients in the stuffing. They act as crucial binding agents.
In a stockpot, make 4 cups acidulated water (basically water with a splash of vinegar and a pinch of salt in it) and bring to a boil. Add the mushrooms and blanch for 10 seconds or until the mushrooms are barely wilted. Scoop out the mushrooms and plunge them into ice water to stop cooking. Drain in a colander. With a kitchen towerl, squeeze out as much liquid as possible and chop fine. Place the mushrooms in a large bowl.
Wearing rubber gloves, wrap the kimchi in a paper towel. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible and add it to the bowl with the mushrooms.
Wrap the bean curd in a paper towel. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Place the bean curd in the bowl, along with all remaining ingredients (EXCEPT THE FLOUR). Mix well with a wooden spoon or with your hands until the mixture is smooth and soft.
To assemble the dumplings have the following on hand: the bowl of wrappers, the bowl of stuffing, a teaspoon, a bowl of cold water, and a plate or 2 large baking sheets liberally dusted with flour.
Hold a wrapper in the palm of one hand and using the teaspoon, spoon a walnut-size ball of stuffin gin teh center of the wrapper. Using your finger, lighten moisten the wrappers edge with water. Fold into a half-moon shape. Seal the edges tightly using your thumb and index finger.
Doubly seal the dumping by pinching the edge with your thumb and middle finger. It will resemble a piecrust edge. Line up the finished dumpings on the baking sheets about 1/2 inch apart to prevent sticking.
To store, dust the dumplings well with flour, wrap the baking sheet tightly in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer. After the dumpings are frozen they may be transferred to a plastic bag and kept in the freezer for up to a month.
You can steam the dumplings, boil the dumplings…or fry them (I like to deep fry them).
Makes about 64 dumplings.
1 hour to prepare.
45 minutes to cook.