Dig into a piping hot bowl of Kimchi Pork Dumplings. Juicy, meaty bundles of deliciousness. Cozy, comfort food at its best!
Like most immigrants, my parents worked long hours. I rarely saw them during the week. But every once in awhile, the family would get together to make mandu, Korean dumplings.
I think every culture has a food item that requires multiple hands for assembly. Whether it’s Christmas cookies or tamales, spring rolls or canned peaches, some dishes are meant to be made communally.
For us, mandu required many hands because we didn’t make enough for just one meal. No, we’d make trays and trays of dumplings to freeze for later on. This was before the ease of frozen dumplings, bought by the convenient bagful. One mandu-making session could stockpile the freezer with enough dumplings to last for months.
I loved making dumplings. There was such a contented satisfaction in scooping out spoonfuls of filling from the communal bowl in the center and pinching the wrapper into a tight seal. Plus, this was our version of family time. Mandu-making nights were even better than Christmas, when the adults were tired and just wanted to sleep in. We’d all chat and joke, laugh and tell stories. Plus, we got to eat all the dumplings we wanted!
Oh, and the dumplings were always so good! I’d eat three bowls! If you’ve never eaten freshly-made dumplings, straight from the pot, then it’s time to get started. There is nothing as comforting as a bowl of dumplings, made by your own hands. Nothing!
In our home, dumplings are on steady dinner rotation. This particular recipe is my current favorite. Kimchi Pork Dumplings, made with rich pork and well fermented kimchi are so good, I think you’ll love them, too! Doused with Chinese Chili Oil and a sprinkling of cilantro, they are comfort food perfection. Enjoy!
Kimchi Pork Dumplings
- 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
- Add ground pork, kimchi, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix thoroughly with hands (or chopsticks) until well combined.
- Get ready to make dumplings. Prepare small bowl of water, dumping wrappers, and meat filling.
- Take one dumpling wrapper and use finger to lightly brush the edge with water. This will act as the "glue" to seal the dumpling while cooking.
- Add one Tbsp of meat filling (or less, to make it easier) to the center of the wrapper. Then fold in half and seal the edges together. Make sure to remove any air bubbles. Alternately, you can 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.