This week, hubby and I made homemade Mandu! This is the recipe we used…. Thank you Maangchi!
This is something new we tried for the very first time — and we think it’ll become one of our family traditions!
Little Pockets of heaven! They are dumplings made with a seasoned meat and vegetable stuffing that are then steamed, added to soups, or in my case pan fried. (It’s basically a Korean Pierogi with a thinner skin or the Korean version of a Potsticker…SOO GOOD!)
To make them I used two kinds of store bought “skins” — Big round ones (like below) and plain old Wanton Wrappers.
We mixed up the meat mixture — I used all Beef instead of some beef, some pork… added seasoning, onion, green onion, garlic, cooked and chopped sweet potato noodles (like the kind you used for JapChae), and crumbled tofu.
You take a thin little wrapper, add some filling and fold up your little balls of deliciousness. Pictured here you see three Mandu made by hubby (on the left) and two made by me (on the right) — you can tell because my ends point out and his are crumpled in.
Once we had a nice stockpile build up, I pan fried a few in some vegetable oil — SOO GOOD and CRISPY!
Random Childhood story
I’ve always been a fan of any kind of dumpling. Korean Mandu, Chinese Pork Buns, Polish Pierogis — if it’s a cute little dough packet with a delicious filling, then it qualifies as one of my favorite foods.
Growing up, my grandparents lived very close to a Catholic church that had very Polish roots. My paternal grandmother was part Polish — so she loved this! Every year, the church would coordinate efforts with the heavily Polish local population to put on a full blown “Polish Festival” to raise money for their church and Catholic School.
This this was the Sh**!! There were Super sketchy Carnival rides, Polish bands to play Polka non-stop for the whole 3-day festival, a grown-ups only Beer Tent and all your typical carnival foods — including Caramel Apples, Elephant ears, and funnel cakes.
There was a huge tent with nothing but games — ring toss, balloon dart pop, bingo, etc… even Texas Hold ’em! All games cost a quarter or $0.50 and would go towards fundraisers for the school or charity. If you won a game, you’d get a prize — Once I even won a GORGEOUS doll!
At the very back of the festival’s lot, there was a CANDY TENT! The entire tent was just display after display of candy — some pieces were 5 for a penny, others were a quarter each, and the full bars or packs were a dollar or more. I would save up my money (or beg for allowance) and stock up on candy. The festival was in August and at times I would still be eating my candy horde well into Halloween season…
The Polish festival was something we looked forward to every year.
The best part was the fact that they had any kind of Polish food you’d like — Kielbasa, cabbage, and of course PIEROGIS! That’s right — addition to all the other food stands, you could also get the most delicious, fluffy, crunchy, chewy, cheesy, potatoe-y Pierogi ever! They always had three kinds — Potato, Cheese, or Potato & cheese. You could get individuals or combos and they let you have as much sour cream as you needed. My favorite were the potato & cheese (why choose right?).
I remember ordering some that were so fresh and hot that I couldn’t wait to take a bite! I burned the crap out of my mouth, but it was worth it.
For this Just for Fun Friday — I challenge you to either:
(1) Try some MANDU!! Any local Korean restaurant (worth their weight) will serve these either steamed or pan fried — try them both and let me know which you prefered!
(2) Make some dumplings! Any kind of dumplings! I have found that one common thread through most cultures is their embrace of the dumpling…
What will you do Just for Fun today?
What’s your favorite kind of dumpling?
Do you have any fun things you like to do with family every year?