Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chonsa dance reunion: making mandu

We all have food memories. For me, mandu (Korean dumplings) is one of those foods that that brings up a flood of strong, vivid memories:

* Sitting in the cafeteria at Minnehaha Academy for Korean Culture Camp in third grade tasting the crunchy, savory dumplings for the first time.

* Staying late after Korean school on the days when the ajummas came to the church and cooked Korean food.

* 7th grade, in a friend's kitchen trying to fold the triangle dumplings for the first time.

Korean cooking has long been a social activity for me -- I learned how to cook Korean with my friends from my dance group.

Four of us met up this weekend at my place and mandu seemed like the perfect option -- we hadn't made it together in years.

Everyone's mandu filling is a little different. I made this one after referring to a few recipes online. This was a great chance to use my stand mixer to make blend the beef with the tofu. We made a double batch, so I had to make the filling in batches.

Mandu can be steamed or fried. We steamed some of them, but they kept sticking to the parchment and falling apart, so stuck with frying them in the wok. 

Lunch! We stopped midway and munched on the mandu with big steamy bowls of tteok guk -- perfect for a chilly fall day.

In all, my friends made about 200 dumplings today! They each took home bags full, I'm bringing some to a Halloween party tonight, and a bag or so went into the freezer.

RECIPE: Mandu filling
(Makes about 100 dumplings)

1 package ground beef
1 package medium firm tofu, drained and squeezed of liquids
3-5 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 TBS garlic powder)
1 inch piece ginger, minced ((or 1 TBS ginger powder)
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp sugar
1/2 small cabbage, shredded finely
1 onion, diced finely
1 bunch scallions, diced
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c sesame oil
1/4 c rice wine

Push cabbage and onions through a food processor fitted with a shredding disc. Set aside

Combine meat and tofu until well blended. I used a stand mixer for this. Add garlic, ginger, sugar, and pepper.

Stir in shredded vegetables until fully combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together liquids and pour over meat to season.

Drop rounded teaspoons into wonton wrappers.

Brush edges with beaten egg and press firmly to seal.

Fry on both sides until golden brown, or steam 8-10 minutes until meat is cooked through.

**Update: my house smells like fried mandu, all the way out to the front hallway. Some people might find this kind of disgusting, but it's a huge comfort to me for two reasons: a) the nostalgic reasons referenced above and b) it smells *exactly* like the Korean church used to on mandu day. This tells me my recipe and methods are relatively close to the real deal!

No comments:

Post a Comment