A love affair with dumplings, that is Manduguk 만두국 the Polish way

20 Oct

Cooking Korean dishes in Poland is a challenge. When I decided to make a culinary entry as my first post, I was full of optimism. My leitmotiv for the post turned out to be a Korean Buddhist temple cuisine, but while browsing the recipes and making notes (which took me over 3 hours), I realized I can prepare no more than two small dishes. I visited the nearest Asian grocery store and it confirmed me in the belief there’s no sense for me to even think about temple cuisine. There were no lotus leaves, no jujube fruits, no required herbs. And this is not the end of complaining! No cellophane noodles, no soybean paste, no nothing. That’s why for someone living in Poland Korean cuisine is an adventure. But let’s stay optimistic and try to make all those fantastic Korean dishes with ingredients that we can get.

Mandu 만두 means dumpling in Korean, guk 국 in this case refers to a watery, soup-like dish. We could say then that Manduguk 만두국 is nothing else than a dumpling soup. According to history, mandu were brought to Korea in 14th century during the Goryeo Dynasty, but historians don’t exclude the possibility that they came to Korea at a much earlier period.

I found few very similar recipes differing from each other with one or two ingredients, so I’m going to combine them to get the most tasty flavor. Let’s start with the ingredients for 2 people:

Mandu filling:
a package of mandu skins,
200 g of ground beef,
5 soaked shiitake mushrooms,
half an onion,
1/2 package of tofu,
3 cloves of minced garlic,
salt, sugar, ground pepper,
sesame oil,
vegetable oil,
soy sauce.

A package of mandu skins I got is actually a package of wonton skins, but the ingredients are the same. It’s the only type they got in the nearby Asian grocery store. It counts 35 skins and they can be used both for boiled and for fried dumplings. You can easily make it by yourself by mixing flour with water and rolling it into a dough. The dough should be thinly shaved into circles. Unfortunately, the wonton skins are square shaped, but let’s make the dumplings this way.

First you need to put the ground beef into a bowl and mix it with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper. Chop the chives, add 1 tablespoon of oil, mix it well and put it into a big bowl right next to the ground beef. Chop 5 soaked shiitake mushrooms and half an onion and put them into a different bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, mix it well with your hand and put into the main bowl. Squeeze the tofu, preferably through a cotton cloth, and place it into a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, mix it well and put it into the main bowl. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and mix all ingredients by hand. Now put some filling on the center of the mandu skin, put a little cold water on the half of the edge of the skin, fold skin in half and press edges together.

Now when you have mandus ready, it’s time to make Manduguk. Ingredients as follows:

4 cups of soup stock,
2 green onions,
2 tablespoons of clear soy sauce,
1 teaspoon of salt,
a dash of black pepper,
an egg.

Put soup stock into a pot, bring it to boil, add sliced onions and dumplings. Let it boil until the dumplings start floating – it should take not longer than 3 minutes. Add soy sauce, black pepper and some salt if needed. At the end add a beaten egg. Your Manduguk is ready.

You probably have some mandus left that you couldn’t fit into a pot. Don’t throw them away, neither freeze for later. Put some vegetable oil on heated pan and place the dumplings. Turn over each mandu after few minutes or the moment you see they’re ready on one side. When they’re golden brown, turn off the heat and put them on a plate. It’s good to serve fried mandus with a dipping sauce, so let’s make the one I found in some cooking book:

1/4 cup of soy sauce,
1/2 teaspoon of rice vinegar,
1/2 teaspoon of grilled sesame seeds.

Since I love sesame seeds, I added a lot more than just a half of a teaspoon. Okay, the meal is ready, although I might have overcooked the mandus a little bit 😉


2 Responses to “A love affair with dumplings, that is Manduguk 만두국 the Polish way”

  1. J-Hye October 25, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    You are GREAT!
    I understand you that it is so hard for you to find some of the ingredients.
    But your 만두국 is pretty good and I wonder what is the flavor of your
    만두국 🙂

    And one more thing, I’m surprised by your Mandu’s shape.
    Because your Mandu is new style and unique comparing to those I’ve ever seen.

    The important thing is fillings for dumplings.
    So I advise you, if you have a chance to cook Mandu one more time, try to put different kinds of fillings into the Mandu skins of your dumplings 😛

  2. Mark October 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    Wow I need to try these at home! Hmm they look pretty dang good! Ive never had Korean dumplings before so this should be a treat! (As well as an experiment) 😀

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