Pan Fried Mandu

Our most recent Moveable Feast theme was Korean food inspired by YouTube and food blogger Maangchi. I chose to make her version of mandu which is very different from the mundoo I learned to make. Like with all traditional recipes I attribute this to regional and family differences. Whereas the dumplings I've made are deep fried, Maangchi's dumplings are made pot sticker style.

One thing the two recipes have in common that I haven't seen in other dumpling recipes is the addition of soft tofu. What I found was different in this recipe was the preparation of the filling. I'm used to throwing everything into a big bowl and mixing it together. Maangchi takes the time to treat each component before combining everything together.

One of my main departures from her recipe is to use all pork instead of a mixture of pork and beef. This is my own personal preference. Maybe it's my Chinese background but I feel that dumplings are made with pork.

I applied my dumpling ninja training in preparing the pork. Remembering how Chef Karen worked with the pork to break down the fat and create a binder, I applied the same technique to the mandu filling.

I further applied my training in folding the dumplings. For the pan fried dumplings I kept them in a pleated half-moon shape to allow more cooking surface - better fried texture for the wrapper and faster, thorough cooking of the filling.

For dumplings for soup I made little boats or hats (or as we called it in class, butts). I like the compact shape in soup and when cooked in boiling broth, the filling cooks through.

This recipe makes close to 90 dumplings depending on how much filling you use in each dumpling. I placed the tray of soup mandu in the freezer and once they were frozen through I put them into a freezer bag to use at a later time.

I made most of the pan fried mandu for Moveable Feast, cooking them in batches. I used a large nonstick frying pan that held about a dozen at a time.

I think the mandu taste best if you can serve them hot out of the pan but they tasted just as good when we ate them at Moveable Feast an hour or so later.

So thanks to Maangchi I have a new version of mandu (or mundoo) and I enjoy both. Who doesn't love a dumpling? To learn more about Maangchi, check out this New York Times article.

Some of the dishes from our Moveable Feast:

Lettuce wraps with beef, pork belly, and homemade condiments


Japchae, Korean fried chicken (right), and BBQ pork ribs (left)