Weekend Cooking: Korean Dumplings (Mandu) In Soup
25 Jan 2015

Weekend Cooking: Korean Dumplings (Mandu) In Soup

25 Jan 2015

Kak’mbang really loves her Korean TV shows, just like a large population of the world today.  Every now and then she sees people on TV eating dumplings in broth, and the dish does look really yummy.  So, recently she asked me to make our own pork-free version, and I based it on a great recipe by Maangchi.  Trust me these dumplings are delicious, and having them in soup is just perfect for cold, rainy evenings.  Do be warned that this recipe makes a huge batch, and is quite time consuming, but they are worth your while.  Pan-fry or steam the rest; they make great snacks.  Good luck!

Updated on Mar 17 with new pictures.  I usually make my own filling but use store-bought skins nowadays, because it saves me so much time.

Updated on 1 Feb 2020 using dried seafood instead of fish stock cubes. I was fortunate to have gotten a small pack of iriko and konbu from the Kuromon Market in Osaka a few weeks before, and used it in this recipe. The difference in flavor was staggering; such delicateness, yet rich in umami. I will always try my best to get my hands on these ingredients whenever I can from now on, in order to be able to keep making this dish this way.

Korean Dumplings (Mandu) In Soup


  • 3 cups (about 650 to 700 grams) ground beef OR chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (about 100 grams) chopped Asian chives (daun kucai)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 5 dried Shiitake mushrooms, soaked, stemmed, and chopped, stems reserved
  • 1 onion, one half chopped, other half reserved
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 (300-gram) package soft tofu, drained, 2/3 crumbled and 1/3 diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 liters water
  • Fish stock cubes (kiub ikan bilis), enough to make 2 liters stock OR:
    • 12 dried large anchovies OR baby sardines (iriko), guts removed
    • 2 (3″ by 3″) pieces dried kelp (konbu)
    • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery leaves
  • 2 (200-gram, 28-pcs) packs gyoza skins OR make your own, recipe follows


Make the dumpling filling.  In a large mixing bowl, add the ground meat.  Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and mix by hand until thoroughly combined.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, add the chopped Asian chives and vegetable oil, and toss to coat evenly.  Set aside.

In another medium bowl, add the chopped shiitake mushrooms, half of the onions, soy sauce, sugar, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil.  Mix by hand until thoroughly combined.  Set aside.

2015-01-25 16.17.44

In another medium bowl, add the crumbled tofu, pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil.  Mix by hand until thoroughly combined.

In the large mixing bowl containing the ground meat mixture, add 3 cloves minced garlic, the chives, the mushroom mixture, and the tofu mixture, and mix by hand until thoroughly combined.

Make the broth.   In a large stockpot, add the water. If making from scratch using dried seafood, add the dried fish and kelp, and let soak for 20 minutes. Turn on the heat and add the dried shrimp. If using fish stock cubes, simply skip the soaking process and add to the pot together with rest of the ingredients. Add the mushroom stems and the reserved half onion, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer, 30 minutes. Take out the kelp after 10 minutes boiling, if using.

While the broth is simmering, assemble the dumplings.  Working with one piece at a time, take a piece of dumpling skin and place a teaspoon of filling on the center of the skin.  Lightly glaze the edges with water.

Press the edges to seal, making sure there are no air pockets.  Make a ripple shape if you like.  Once sealed, if using homemade dumpling skins, keep pressing and stretching the edges until very thin; this will make the dumpling less doughy.

Repeat with the remaining filling and dumpling skins, making sure to keep the dumplings well dusted with flour.

Your broth would have been simmering for about 30 minutes.  Add 1 to 2 more cups of water if the broth reduces too much, and return to a boil.  Discard the onion and dried seafood if using.

Add the fish sauce…

…the remaining 3 cloves minced garlic…

…and carefully drop 15 to 20 dumplings into the broth.

Cover and boil, until the dumplings float to the surface of the broth.  Notice the “balloons” in the pot, which is what happens when you don’t let all the air out when wrapping.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked dumplings from the broth, and reserve in a large bowl.  Keep cooking the remaining dumplings, 15 to 20 at a time.

Whisk some broth into the beaten egg…

…and swirl into the broth.

Add the diced tofu…

…and sliced green onions and celery leaves, and stir to combine.  Adjust seasoning to taste. Cook for another minute, and remove from heat.

Serve hot in deep bowls.

Dumpling (Mandu) Skins

Makes 64 3-inch skins

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water

In a large mixing bowl, add 4 cups flour, salt, and water, and using a wooden spoon, stir until combined and a dough is formed.  Add more water if needed.

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Knead by hand for a few minutes until smooth.  Wrap in a plastic bag and let sit at room temperature, 30 minutes.  Remove from the plastic bag and knead again by hand until smooth and elastic, 5 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board dusted with flour and divide into four equal pieces.  Keep the other portions wrapped inside the plastic bag while working on one portion.  Working with one half of the dough, divide into 16 equal sized pieces.    Using your hands, flatten and stretch out each piece into 3-inch discs.  Repeat with the remaining dough.

Store unused skins in the freezer for up to a month,  arranged in layers separated by plastic wrap and generously dusted with flour.

2015-01-25 16.05.20
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