Monday, February 11, 2013

Making homemade mandu (Korean dumplings)

A few weeks ago I was inspired by a blog post written by a Korean mom writing about making Korean dumplings, called mandu (만두). I never thought about this, I always assumed it would be difficult, but after reading the blog I was inspired to try it myself.


Meat Mandu:

만두피 Dumpling skins
부추 Chives
양파 Onion
마늘 Garlic
버섯 Mushroom
두부 Tofu
생강 Ginger: powdered or fresh
수금 Salt
후추가루 Black pepper
당면  Korean vermicelli/ Sweet potato noodles
돼지고기 Ground pork

Kimchi Mandu:

만두피 Dumpling skins 
김치 Kimchi
숙주 Bean sprouts
버섯 Mushroom 
양파 Onion
마늘 Garlic
생강 Ginger: powdered or fresh
두부 Tofu
돼지고기 Ground pork

 Once you've gathered your supplies, it's time to start cooking! I'll explain 고기만두, meat mandu, first.

당면: Sweet potato noodles/ Korean vermicelli

You'll want to start to boiling the 당면, sweet potato noodles as you start preparing. Then, chop your onion, chives, mushroom, and garlic into very small chunks. Mix them together with the meat. Sprinkle in salt, ginger and black pepper. When the noodles are soft, drain them, and cut the noodles into small pieces and add them to the mix.

The tofu must be as dry as possible, so mash the tofu and drain the water. To get more water out of the tofu, put it in the microwave for 30 secs- 1 min. This will suck out more water. Drain the water and add the tofu to the mix.

부추: Chives

Onion, garlic, and pork; finely chopped

Mixing all the ingredients together

Once you've mixed everything together, you'll want to get your 만두피, mandu skins, ready. Here in Korea, you can buy frozen or fresh. I recommend fresh, since you won't have to deal with defrosting. If you live abroad, you may not be able to find fresh dumpling skins, you can buy frozen skins or make your own if you're really good with a rolling pin. I'm not, so I won't attempt at explaining how that works. That's what Google is for.

만두피: Dumpling Skins

There are typically two kinds of 만두피, regular and 왕 (king) size. I went with the smaller ones, because for me, the more dumplings the better! This method will be the same, though, whether you chose the regular or large size.

Putting water around the rim of the mandu skin

First, take your mandu skin and put water around the rim of the skin.

Filling the dumpling

Fill the insides with the mash and press the sides together. If you're talented, you may be able to make some pretty folds when making a half moon shaped dumpling, or you may want to keep it flat, and then curve the ends together to make a round dumpling (see photos below).

Curving the mandu to form a round mandu

Pressing the two ends together of the half moon shaped mandu to make a round mandu

Now I'll give the instructions for making kimchi mandu.

Boiling 숙주, bean sprouts

First, boil your 숙주, bean sprouts, while you prepare the other ingredients. Kimchi has a lot of juice, so you'll need to get rid of as much juice as possible. Squeeze the kimchi until you can't get any more liquid out, then chop into small pieces. Mix together finely chopped kimchi, mushroom, onion. Mix with mashed tofu, getting rid of as much water as possible, as in the meat mandu. Drain the bean sprouts and cut them into small pieces. Mix them into the rest of the ingredients.

Chopping our homemade kimchi

Ingredients mixed to make kimchi mandu

Fold your mandu in whichever shape you prefer, or a mix of both like we did.

Finished mandu; half moon shaped and round shaped

The easiest way to cook mandu is by steaming them. Since they contain raw meat, you'll want to steam them for a sufficient amount of time. We steamed them for about 20 minutes which seemed to work well. Putting some cheese cloth under them works well, and prevents them from sticking to the metal steaming plate.

Steaming dumplings

Finally, once the mandu are fully steamed and cooked all the way through, it's time to eat! Make a dipping sauce with soy sauce and 고추가루, red pepper powder and vinegar (or lemon juice). We enjoyed it with a bottle of makkoli. 

I purposely didn't write amounts, because it's totally up to how many dumplings you want to make and your own personal taste. Doing this by yourself may take some time, but I made it with three friends. It went really fast with everyone working together and it was a really fun afternoon activity!

If you have ever made mandu, or are inspired to make your own mandu, and have blogged about the experience, feel free to post your recipes and photos in the comments!


  1. Hi! I discovered your blog through Adrien Lee's Facebook page. Glad to have found your blog! New follower from the Philippines, and a huge fan of Kpop, Kdrama, and anything that has to do with Korea. :)

  2. Hi from the States! Can't wait to try your recipe. I'm heading over to my korean grocery store for some Kimchi. I look forward to reading more of your blog.