Our Korean themed cooking day was coming up, and I was armed with a list of Korean words that could either turn out tasty or go horribly, horribly wrong. I don’t know. I know next to nothing about Korean food because our go-to Asian cuisine for cooking at home is usually Thai.
So I started googling my list of words to find out what tasty thing I could make and Mandu came up. Sweet. This would be easy. I’d made gyoza before, and wonton wrappers are ALWAYS in stock (actually, I later found out they are only always in stock when you don’t want to make something with them, seriously, its like the rule of grocery stores or something).
After looking at the first recipe I was a little skeptical though.
Ground pork, sure.
Ground beef? Eh… I don’t know about all that, one type of ground meat seems like it should do.
Tofu?! Oh hell no! I am not really a fan of tofu, and I have a child who is fussy about the textures of food so tofu is usually a no go in our house.
So I took it upon myself to sort of.. rearrange the recipe. That’s what an inventive cook does, right? I got rid of a couple ingredients, added in a couple more and a little heat for good measure.
Then I crossed my fingers and hoped it would actually taste good.
Long story short, even my picky eater liked them, and that’s saying something, since I’ve made cookies that have made him cry.
We served it up with some of my home made ponzu sauce (I know, I know, now we’re getting into Japanese cuisine, but I would probably eat ponzu on EVERYTHING given the chance). and enjoyed ourselves some not so mandu.
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 package of wonton wrappers
- 5 - 6 Fresh shiitake Mushrooms or 5 - 6 re-hydrated shiitake mushrooms, chopped small
- 1/4 head of napa cabbage, chopped small
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- salt to taste
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 - 2" of fresh ginger, finely grated
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- Red pepper flakes or Sriracha to taste (optional)
- In a large bowl place pork, mushrooms, cabbage, garlic and all seasonings.
- Mix well until thoroughly combined.
- Form small balls of the filling in the center of your wonton wrapper.
- Wet inner edges of the wrapper and fold into a triangle, pressing gently so that the edges are sealed.
- Fold the outer corners together at the center to make a tortellini shape. (Or don't, it doesn't really matter, its just fun to have weird shaped wontons)
- To steam: Bring a large pot of water to boil, carefully drop the mandu into the water and leave them there for 5 minutes.
- To Pan Fry: Heat a skillet with enough oil in it to cover the bottom and keep the wontons from sticking, place the mandu into the skillet and pan fry until golden brown on the outside and the meat inside is cooked, about 5 - 6 minutes tops.
- You can freeze them before cooking by placing on a parchment lined cookie sheet and placing into the freezer for a couple of hours before placing them into a freezer bag.
- When we made out first batch we parboiled them before pan-frying and found this step completely unnecessary (and a little bit gross). We ended up with mushy sticky mandu that wouldn't brown up.