Mandoo makes for some
bite-sized flavorful food
Many traditional Korean recipes seem deceptively simple: Boil a little, toss a little, perhaps grill a little. What's deceiving is the prep work involved: Chop a lot, blanch a lot and season a lot.
Mandoo, or mandu, is like that. If you buy pre-made mandoo pe, or wrappers, it's simply a matter of scooping in a little filling, sealing, then briefly boiling, steaming or frying. But first, you have to make that filling, which can call, among many other steps, for squeezing all the water out of a block of tofu, as well as a bottle of kim chee. Ever tried that? It's a royal mess.
This is all by way of a warning to Dave Marciel, who asked for a recipe. But it's worth the trouble, Dave. These little bites are flavorful and fun to eat.
Like anything else, mandoo can be simplified. Some recipes call for ground beef, some for ground pork, some for a mixture with tofu. Bean sprouts go into some, cabbage into others. Kim chee as a key ingredient simplifies the seasoning.
The choices are up to you, based on your taste preferences and the time you have to devote to the project. If I were in a hurry, I'd go with ground beef and kim chee. Period.
Note that the meat in this recipe is not pre-cooked. Recipes differ on whether you should pre-cook, with some cooks advising it if you choose to go with pure pork in your mandoo.
To make dough: Knead ingredients until smooth. Cover with damp cheesecloth and keep in a plastic bag. Let sit 20 minutes.
Mandu"Dok Suni: Recipes from My Mother's Korean Kitchen" by Jenny Kwak (St. Martin's Press, 1998, $27.50)
4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
1 pound tofu
10 ounces kim chee, minced
7 ounces bean sprouts, blanched and minced
10 ounces ground beef
1 tablespoon minced green onion
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon red pepper
>> Dipping Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Meanwhile make filling: Use cheesecloth to squeeze water out of tofu, kim chee and bean sprouts. Combine filling ingredients thoroughly.
Form dough into a roll 1-1/2 inches around. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Roll each slice into a thin circle.
Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle of dough. Wet the outer edge and fold over to make a half-circle. Pinch dough together.
Boil or steam dumplings 3 to 5 minutes, or fry until golden. Makes about 60 dumplings.
To make sauce: Combine ingredients.
Note: Pre-made mandu pe (wrappers) may be purchased in most supermarkets. This recipe would use 2 packages.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per dumpling (steamed or boiled): 50 calories, 1.5 g total fat, no saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 120 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein.*
Food Stuffs: Morsels
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