Monday, December 16, 2013

TV and Korean dumplings (mandu)

I don't watch much TV. I might have, many years ago, but nowadays our Netflix queue is completely dominated by Jake and the Neverland Pirates, My Little Pony, Miffy, and Strawberry Shortcake. Once a week though, on Sunday nights, I will occasionally watch a few episodes of something or other... currently it's Fringe.

So last night, after the kids were down and the house was quiet, I watched three episodes back-to-back with the Irish Boxer Husband. But instead of being curled up on the couch under a blanket with a mug of tea, we made mandu. It's so much better knowing exactly what goes into them, making them with the ingredients we like, and it probably works out to be cheaper. And while we made almost 200, you certainly don't have to make that many at once... though good company certainly makes it go quickly and you can easily freeze them so you never run out.

Keep in mind, you can make mandu with almost anything. All vegetarian, different meat, seafood... feel free to customize.

Korean dumplings (mandu)
3 packs of dumpling/gyoza skins
2 pounds of ground beef
1 pack of firm tofu
6 cups of mung bean sprouts
2 cups of Korean chives (buchu)
2 carrots
4 cloves of garlic
1 egg
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

Chop the chives and combine with vegetable oil, mix well. I saw this tip on Maangchi's blog and she says it helps keep the vegetables moist.

Cook with sprouts in a little bit of water in a big saucepan until they are quite limp but not totally disintegrated. It took about 5 minutes for me. Then chop roughly.

Very finely chop the carrots. You don't want to bite into a big chunk of crunchy carrot when you eat your mandu! Do the same with the garlic.

In a big bowl, mix the ground beef, tofu (you crush it with your fingers as you mix), sprouts, chives, carrots, garlic, egg, soy sauce and sesame oil. Whew! Season with salt and pepper. If you're not sure if the seasoning is quite right, I cook a tiny bit of the filling in a frying pan to taste it.

It's mandu-making time! I used the rounds, but they come in squares, too... the process is basically the same. Set yourself up a little working area with your filling, skins, a little bowl of water, and a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. And of course, your episode :-)

Dip a finger into the water and use it to wet the edge of half the skin.

Then put in about a tablespoon's worth of filling. You'll learn how much you can fit after you've done a few, and it'll start to go much faster at that point.

Fold over the skin, and press firmly to seal tightly.

Then wet the outside edge and put in three pleats to really help hold the mandu together. Otherwise, they might break open while cooking and nobody wants that!

We put ours on baking sheets to freeze. After three episodes of Fringe, we had nearly 200 made.

The baking sheets went straight into the chest freezer and I'll bag them up once they're solid.

Some couples go bowling, or watch a movie, or take long moonlit walks on the beach. We make mandu!

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