Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mandu 만두

Kekeke, as I said yesterday here is another blog post today. I'm relishing the amount of free time I have at the moment after exams. Anyways...I've been thinking about what to blog about today and I figured that it was about time that I had introduced a staple in Korean Cuisine. Mandus (만두) , if you like or enjoy Chinese food then you are likely to have encountered the Chinese equivalent of this before, dumplings.

Now for a bit of a history lesson: Mandu (만두) are believed to have been first brought to Korea by Mongolians in the 14th century during the Goryeo Dynasty. The state religion of Goryeo was Buddhism, which discouraged consumption of meat. Mongolian invasion of Goryeo relaxed the religious prohibition against consuming meat, and mandu was among the newly imported Mongolian dishes that included meat.

Another possibility is that mandu (만두) came to Korea at a much earlier period from the Middle East through the Silk Road. Historians point out many cuisines based on wheat, such as dumplings and noodles originated from Mesopotamia and gradually spread from there. It also spread east along the Silk Road, leaving many versions of mandu throughout Central and East Asia.

But it doesn't really matter how you look at the history, all you need to know is that these things are delicious. They can be eaten a number of different ways, they can be boiled, steamed or fried. They are really versatile and the fillings are up to you, there are probably 100 different ways to eat them. This is also a popular street food that is eaten by Koreans in winter.

I'm going to show you how to make a simple mandu with a pork and beef filling. The recipe is a bit long and it is split into parts, but I'm going to tell you a short cut at the end of it. OK? Let's go


1 cup of ground pork
2 cups of ground beef
2 cups of chopped boo chu (Asian chives)
4-5 soaked Shiitake mushrooms
half onion
half package of tofu
3 cloves of minced garlic
sesame oil
vegetable oil
fish sauce
green onion
mandu skins (60 discs) <-- dumpling skins from the Asian grocer will go

Make filling:

1. Place 1 cup of ground pork and 2 cups of ground beef into a big bowl.
2. Add 1 ts of salt, 1 tbs of sesame oil, ½ ts of ground pepper and mix it by hand and push the mixture of meat on the side of the bowl.
3. Wash asian chives (bu chu), dry well with paper towel or cotton cloth and then chop them to make 2 cups. Add 1 tbs of oil and mix it up. Place it in the big bowl next to the ground meat.
tip: oil will coat vegetables so that liquid would not come out from it
4. Chop 4-5 soaked shiitake mushrooms and half an onion and put it into a small bowl.
5. Add 1 ts of soy sauce, 1 ts of sugar, and 2 ts of sesame oil the small bowl in the last step. Mix it by hand and then transfer it to the big bowl.
6. Squeeze half a package of tofu using cotton cloth or paper towel and put it into a small bowl. Then add a pinch of salt, 1 ts of sesame oil and mix it and put it next to chopped chives.
7. In the big bowl, add 3 cloves of minced garlic and mix all ingredients by hand.

Make Mandu:

1. Place one mandu skin on your left hand and put some filling mixture on the center of the skin.
2. On the half of the edge of the skin, put a little cold water with your fingertips.
3. Fold skin in half over filling and press edges together to make ripple shape.

To Fry
1. Place some vegetable oil on heated pan and add mandu.
2. Lower the heat over low medium and cover the lid of the pan to cook.
3. A few minutes later, open the lid and turn over each mandu. Place 2-3 tbs of water and cover the lid. Cook a few minutes more over low heat.
4. When the mandu is golden brown, transfer it to a plate.
5. Serve hot with dipping sauce (equal parts vinegar and soy sauce).

To Steam
1. Place the mandu in the freezer to harden for an hour or so.
2. Just place a steamer or metal colander over a boiling pot of water.
3. When water starts to boil, place frozen mandu like so. Don't overlap them. They'll stick to each other.
4. Cook about 5-8minutes or until the wrapper has turned a more transparent colour. Tip: If you are unsure you can check the inside and see if the meat is cooked.
5. Serve with soy sauce.

To Boil
1. Bring to the boil a pot of water, enough for the number of mandus you are cooking
2. Carefully place the mandu's in so that you do not scold yourself
3. Cook till the mandu's rise to the surface of the water.
4. Scoop out and serve with soy sauce.

And there you have it, three different ways to eat the same thing. As I had said before to make the dish is actually a bit tedious and long. The cheats way is that you can always go and but frozen mandu from the grocer and just cook them yourself, but isn't it nicer too eat food that you have made by hand?

Anyways, maybe spend this week making a supply of mandu and I'll be back with another recipe next week ^^

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