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Beef-Tofu Mandu

Mandu are the dumplings in Korean cuisine, either boiled in water and served in soups (this variety often has their dough corners pulled together) or fried on one side like potstickers and then dipped in sauce. If you wish to omit the beef, it can be replaced with an equivalent amount of tofu, ground pork or other ground meat. Though the dough is made simply--flour and water kneaded together--this recipe allows a wonton skin shortcut. I promise not to tell anyone.

Makes 24 mandu, or 6 to 12 servings


¼ pound ground beef

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

½ medium onion, minced

½ cup shredded cabbage or prepared kimchi

¼ cup roughly chopped bean sprouts

1 green onion, finely chopped

4 ounces firm tofu, mashed to a fine consistency

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1½ teaspoons salt

Dash pepper


24 wonton skins

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon oil

Dipping sauce

8 tablespoons soy sauce

6 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons green onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Heat wok over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil and cook meat until brown, mashing with a fork to break into small pieces. Drain off fat and set meat aside. Rinse and dry pan.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat for one minute, then add the onions and sauté them for 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft.

Add cabbage or kimchi and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another 2 to 3 minutes or until cabbage is crisp-tender. Add bean sprouts, green onion and tofu, mix well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.

Remove pan from heat and pour cooked mixture into a colander to drain excess liquid.

In a large bowl, combine meat, vegetables, hoisin, salt and pepper and mix well.

Place 1 wonton skin on a flat surface. Cover remaining skins with a slightly damp kitchen towel (not terry cloth) so they won't dry out. Brush the edges of skin with beaten egg. Place about 1 teaspoon of filling mixture just above the center of skin. Fold skin in half over filling to form a triangle and press edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining skins.

Heat a skillet with just enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom surface. Feel free to use two skillets to speed up the cooking process. When the oil is very hot, gently place a layer of mandu in the skillet, being careful not to overlap them. Once they are browned on the bottom, flip them over, and quickly add 2 tablespoons water to the pan, cover it and steam the mandu until they are cooked through. This should take about 2 minutes.

Once they are ready, mandu may be arranged in a serving dish or kept warm in a low oven while the remainder are cooked.

Prepare dipping sauce by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar.

Serve the mandu with dipping sauce.

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