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Meaty Mandu Dumplings

My mum used to enslave me and my sister to make these by the thousands. Dozens of 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 to consume. As I got older, I learned to savour the juicy parcels of meat hidden inside as well, but the crispy skins are still my favorite part.


  • Chilli Soy Vinaigrette

  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 7½ teaspoons (or 2 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons) rice vinegar or apple vinegar

  • 4½ teaspoons roasted sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced red chili (on the bias)

  • 2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds

  • 3 small scallions or spring onions, finely chopped (7 teaspoons)

  • Filling

  • 2½ cups (100 grams) shredded napa or Korean cabbage leaves, no ribs

  • 18 ounces (500 grams) ground pork/pork mince

  • 8 ounces (250 grams) ground beef/beef mince

  • 6 ounces (175 grams) firm tofu, crumbled

  • 7½ teaspoons (or 2 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons) soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger

  • 2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt

  • 15 grinds black pepper

  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped

  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • Other

  • 48 thin round eggless wonton wrappers

  • Vegetable oil for frying, as needed

  • Garnish

  • Red chilli threads


  • 1.

    For the vinaigrette: Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

  • 2.

    For the filling: Mix all of the ingredients together, using your hands to really break up the tofu and to yield a very uniform texture.

  • 3.

    Prepare your work station: Line a couple of baking sheets with wax paper and set aside. Fill a small bowl with water. Unwrap the wonton wrappers and cover lightly with a piece of plastic wrap.

  • 4.

    Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Moisten the edges of the wrapper with your finger. 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.

  • 5.

    Lay dumpling on its side in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat assembling the dumplings with the remaining filling and wrappers.

  • 6.

    Drizzle enough oil to cover the bottom of a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet (about 1 tablespoon) and heat over medium-high heat.

  • 7.

    Working in several batches, lay the dumplings on their sides in a single layer without crowding the pan. Cook until golden brown on both sides and the filling is cooked through, turning once, about 5-6 minutes total (or place in a steamer for about 5-6 minutes until cooked through). Reduce heat as needed.

  • 8.

    Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then transfer to a serving platter and garnish with red chili threads. 

  • Note:

  • 1.

    Can steam or fry

  • 2.

    To test the seasoning of the filling before wrapping, cook a small patty in a little oil in a pan.

  • 3.

    Once the dumplings are assembled you can freeze them in a single layer on their sheet trays, then bag them up to store in the freezer.


Copyright, 2014, Judy Joo, All rights reserved

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