MEATY DUMPLINGS (Mandu)
My mum used to enslave my sister and me to make these by the thousands. Plump dumplings neatly lined up on plates and trays covered every surface of the kitchen. I used to only eat the skins, shaking out the meaty insides for my sister. As I got older, I learnt to savour those juicy gems as well, but the crispy skins are still my favourite. If you prefer, the dumplings can be steamed instead of fried.
MAKES ABOUT 45 DUMPLINGS
- 450 g (1 lb) pork mince
- 225 g (8 oz) beef mince
- 175 g (6 oz) firm tofu, drained and finely crumbled
- 250 g (9 oz) finely shredded Korean or Chinese cabbage leaves (ribs removed)
- 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 21⁄2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
- 2 tsp roasted sesame seeds
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Dumplings
For the filling
- In a large bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Mix together using your hands, really breaking up the tofu to make a very uniform texture.
For the dumplings
- Line a couple of baking sheets with greaseproof paper and set aside. Fill a small bowl with water. Unwrap the wonton wrappers and cover lightly with a piece of clingfilm to keep them from drying out. Lay a wrapper on a clean work surface and put a tablespoon of the meat filling in the centre. Dip a forefinger into the water and run it along the edges of the wrapper to moisten the surface. Fold the wrapper in half. Starting at the top of the half-circle and working towards the ends, press firmly together to seal, pressing out any air bubbles.
- Lay the dumpling on its side on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling, making sure the dumplings aren’t touching on the baking sheets. Once the dumplings are assembled, if you don’t plan to cook them straight away, you can freeze them on the baking sheets, then bag them up to store in the freezer. Without thawing the frozen dumplings, boil or steam them to cook through, then pan-fry if you like to make them crispy.
- In a large non-stick frying pan, heat about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over a medium-high heat. Working in batches, lay the dumplings on their sides in the pan in a single layer without crowding the pan. Cook for 2–3 minutes until golden brown on the base. Flip them and cook for a further 2–3 minutes until golden brown and the filling is cooked through.
- Transfer the fried dumplings to a wire rack or kitchen paper-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining dumplings, adding more oil to the pan as needed. If you prefer not to fry the dumplings, steam them in batches until cooked through, about 5–6 minutes, then transfer to a serving platter (steamed dumplings do not need to be drained).
- Transfer the fried dumplings to a platter. Top with some of the chilli threads and serve immediately, with the dipping sauce.
If you’d like to check the seasoning of the filling for the dumplings – or any kind of filling or stuffing that includes raw meat or fish – cook a small patty in a lightly oiled pan, then adjust the seasonings to your taste.