Dig into a piping hot bowl of Kimchi Dumplings or Kimchi Mandu. Juicy, meaty bundles of deliciousness. Cozy, Korean comfort food at its best!
If you’ve never eaten freshly-made dumplings, straight from the pot, then it’s time to get started.
There is nothing as comforting or delicious as a bowl of dumplings, made by your own hands. Nothing!
What are Kimchi Dumplings (Mandu)?
Kimchi Dumplings are small, pork-filled parcels flavored with well-fermented kimchi, then wrapped in a thin dough wrapper. They can be enjoyed steamed, boiled, or pan fried — or even thrown into soup.
The Korean word for dumplings is Mandu. Dumplings are also referred to as gyoza, pot stickers, and wonton.
Kimchi Mandu are especially delicious. Plump and juicy with a slightly spicy kick, these contain SO much flavor from the kimchi!
Why make Kimchi Dumplings (Mandu) at home?
Although the convenience of pre-packaged, frozen dumplings makes them a staple in many households — nothing beats the flavor of homemade Kimchi Dumplings.
Soft, juicy, meaty filling with silky, thin-skinned wrappers — the texture and flavor are irresistible. When doused with Chinese Chili Oil, black vinegar, and a sprinkling of cilantro — it’s comfort food perfection!
Also, there’s the joy of making homemade dumplings. So much fun! So many memories! I love to celebrate the Lunar New Year and Chuseok (Korean harvest/Thanksgiving) by making homemade dumplings with the kids.
In our home, dumplings are also on steady dinner rotation. Similar to Pizza Night, it’s an easy-going, end-of-the-week meal that everyone enjoys.
- Kimchi. The flavor base of this recipe. Use well-fermented kimchi, which will provide the best, deep-tasting flavor when cooked.
- Ground Pork. Regular or medium ground pork complements the kimchi with its silky, fatty texture. Lean ground pork will be too dry and lumpy.
- Firm Tofu. The Korean secret to dumplings that are flavorful, juicy, and not overwhelmingly meaty. Firm tofu has been pressed so there’s less water.
- Soy sauce + Sesame oil. The fragrant seasoning. You only need a little bit!
- Dumpling Wrappers. Easy to find at the Asian grocery store. Store in the freezer until ready to assemble.
- Mix filling. In a large bowl, combine ingredients together. Gently mix with a fork or chopsticks.
- Fold dumplings. Scoop filling into dumpling wrappers. Wet the edge with water. Crimp and fold.
- Steam or boil and enjoy! Cook dumplings and eat immediately!
How to eat:
There are multiple ways to enjoy Kimchi Mandu:
- As a meal. Make a double batch and add kimchi or simple steamed vegetable as a side. Simple, satisfying, and filling.
- As a snack. Great as an after-school or movie night snack. To make it easy, serve portions for each person in individual bowls: dumplings PLUS a drizzle of chili oil, black vinegar, and a sprinkling of cilantro on top.
- As an appetizer. Spread on a platter and serve with chili oil and black vinegar on the side. Guests can help themselves.
- Set up a folding station. To make folding and crimpling easier, set out everything in advance: parchment lined sheet pan (to transfer finished dumplings), filling, dumpling wrappers, small bowl of water, and wet paper towels/cloths.
- Add a little oil. To prevent boiled dumplings from sticking, add a little oil to the water.
- Let the kids join the fun! A great family night activity, folding dumplings is surprisingly accessible.
- Pinch the edges – tight! There’s nothing worse than dumplings that explode when cooked. To ensure the dumplings are properly sealed, pinch the edges tightly and make sure there’s no air bubbles.
- Stuff dumplings until very full. When cooked, the filling shrinks. Make sure to fill as much as you can. The mandu will seem overfull but as long as the edges are sealed, they will not burst!
Can I freeze these dumplings?
Yes, dumplings or mandu freeze well. Place on a parchment-lined sheet pan (so they don’t stick) and place in the freezer until completely frozen. Transfer to a ziploc baggie and store in the freezer for 1-2 months.
To cook frozen mandu, use the same method as cooking fresh dumplings. Add 1-2 minutes to the cook time, as they take longer to cook.
Kimchi Dumplings (Mandu)
- bamboo steamer
- Large stock pot
- 1 lb ground pork (regular/medium) (I do not recommend lean pork)
- 1 cup kimchi, well fermented, drained of excess juice (finely chopped)
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 package dumpling wrappers
- 1 package firm or extra firm tofu
- Make filling. In a large bowl, add ground pork, kimchi, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Drain tofu and crumble directly on top. Mix thoroughly with fork (or chopsticks) until well combined. Make sure there are no big chunks of tofu.
- Make dumplings. Prepare a small bowl of water, dumping wrappers, and meat filling at your work station.
- Taking one dumpling wrapper at a time, use your index finger to lightly brush the edge with water. This will act as the "glue" to seal the dumpling while cooking.
- Add 1-2 Tbsp of meat filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold in half and seal the edges together. Make sure to remove any air bubbles. Or, crimp the edges to make purse-shaped dumplings. Transfer finished dumplings onto parchment lined baking tray.
To steam dumplings:
- Fill a large stock pot with water, about 1/4 full. Bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, arrange dumplings onto parchment lined bamboo steamer tray. The parchment paper will prevent the dumplings from sticking to the bottom. (You can also line with cabbage leaves). Steam dumplings until cooked through, about 6 minutes.
- Remove steamer tray to a plate and serve immediately, preferably with chili oil and sprinkling of cilantro.
To boil dumplings:
- Fill a large stock pot with water, about 3/4 of the way full. Bring to a roiling boil. Add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil. This will prevent the dumplings from sticking to each other.
- Add dumplings to the water, being careful not to overfill the pot. Stir carefully with a wooden spoon to prevent dumplings from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Boil until cooked through and floating, about 6 minutes.
- Remove dumplings with a strainer. Serve immediately, preferably with chili oil and sprinkling of cilantro.