Learn how to make delicious homemade mandu (Korean dumplings) from scratch with these step-by-step instructions. Filled with pork, cabbage, chives, and Korean sweet potato noodles, these mandu couldn’t be more delicious.
When it comes to Lunar New Year traditions in Korea, you can’t skip homemade Korean dumplings (Mandu, 만두) as a part of a New Year celebration. These dumplings are filled with juicy meats and vegetables. Taking a bite is truly satisfying and enjoyable experience.
Although Kimchi tofu pork mandu (김치만두) is one of the most well known mandu dumplings in Korea, people also like to fill their mandu with a variety of fillings. These are made with ground pork, cabbage, chives, leek, and Korean sweet potato noodles (dangmyun, 당면).
Making homemade mandu is a wonderful family activity that brings joy and happiness during the Lunar New Year. Imagine a scene of family members gathered around the table working with their hands to make delicious dumplings together to celebrate the new beginning of a year. After all, these dumplings are believed to bless you and your family.
My childhood memories of Lunar New Year are filled with helping my mother preparing festive foods to celebrate. These Korean pork dumplings are one of them. I recall that she tried a different filling for her mandu every year.
Since my father was the heir in his family lineage, all of his siblings including my uncles, aunts, and cousins, came to our house to celebrate the Lunar New Year together. Subsequently we ate these dumplings as a snack or a simple lunch. Oh, how delicious they were!
These dumplings are one of the authentic Korean recipes that you can enjoy every year. If you would like a variety of mandu, my cookbook, “Korean Cooking Favorites”, shares a recipe for steamed buns. So check it out.
Homemade Mandu Wrappers (Mandu-pi,만두피)
Making homemade mandu has two components; the dumpling wrappers and the filling. Don’t be afraid to make homemade dumpling wrappers from scratch. If you are looking for a true Korean mandu experience, I recommend my homemade Korean dumpling wrappers (mandu-pi) recipe.
Korean dumpling wrappers are made with flour, sweet rice flour, and a little cornstarch. The tender yet chewy texture of these dumpling wrappers make quite a difference compared to most other Asian dumpling wrappers.
On the other hand, store-bought dumpling wrappers do come in handy, and they make delicious semi-homemade mandu as well. When making Koran style mandu, look for the large size wrappers, about 5 inches in diameter.
Pork Dumpling Filling (Mandu-sok,만두속)
Traditional Korean dumplings are made with minced pork. Its mild yet juicy flavor and texture mingles well with any vegetables you add. Chopped sour kimchi, mung bean sprouts, and tofu are typical filling ingredients to go with pork.
I recommend using slightly fatty ground pork for the filling, about 80/20 meat to fat ratio. The fat makes the filling juicy and tender. Pork that is too lean yields a dry texture — you don’t want that.
How to make Korean Dumplings from Scratch
You will need ground pork, nappa cabbage, Asian chives, Asian leek (or green onion), Korean sweet potato noodles (dangmyun).
Sprinkle 1 tsp salt on the chopped cabbage and let it soak for 10 minutes. When the cabbage becomes lifeless, squeeze it out to get rid of moisture.
Chop chives and leeks finely. If you can’t find Asian chives, increase the amount of green onion.
Boil Korean sweet potato noodles according to the package directions, about 6-7 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain well. Chop into small pieces.
Put pork, cabbage, chives, leek, and noodles in a large mixing bowl. Season with soy sauce, sweet rice wine, ginger, sesame oil, and pepper; mix well with your hand until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
How to Fold Homemade Dumplings
My mother used to say if you can fold a pretty mandu, you will have a good looking son. If you can make Korean sweet rice cakes (songpyeon) into a perfect shape, you will have a pretty daughter. I think she was right! I do have a good looking son and a pretty daughter.
There are so many different shapes and patterns of folding dumplings. Here are the two of the most popular and easy.
Half Moon Shape
Half moon shaped dumplings are the most common in Korean dumplings. This shape is perfect for steaming and making soup. If you are thinking of making Korean dumpling soup, use this shape.
- Put a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of wrapper, wet the edges of wrapper with water using your finger.
- Fold the wrapper in half and pinch the edges together.
- Bring the both ends toward the center.
- Pinch the ends together to complete.
Pleated shape is a great option for both steamed and pan-fried dumplings. If you have never folded dumplings before, try with a small amount of filling inside first.
- Put some filling in the middle of the wrapper and wet the edges with water using your finger.
- Bring one edge to the other and pinch in the center first, then make a small pleat on one side facing toward the center .
- Continue to make more pleats, usually about 4 pleats.
- Create the same number of pleats on the other side, facing the pleats toward the center.
How to Steam Mandu
- Bring a small amount of water in a large pot to boil. (Make sure the bottom of your steamer doesn’t touch the water.)
- Place dumplings without touching each other in a bamboo steamer (or regular steamer), lined with a cheese cloth or a steam liner.
- When the water boils, place the steamer over or in the pot.
- Cover and steam for 5 minutes.
Dumpling Freezing Tips
It is always a good idea to make abundant homemade mandu because they freeze beautifully. Make sure to sprinkle flour on a large tray so that the mandu won’t stick to the tray. Place mandu pieces on the tray without touching each other. Freeze for an hour or until they are frozen solid. Transfer mandu pieces to a freezer bag. They can last up to 3 months in the freezer.
More Best Korean Recipes for the New Year celebration. Some of my favorites are:
- Galbi Jjim, Korean braised beef short ribs
- Easy Rice Cake Soup with Ground Beef (tteokguk)
- Beef and Rice Cake Skewers
- LA Galbi (Korean BBQ Ribs)
If you like this post or have tried this recipe, please rate it below by clicking stars in the comment section. Stay in touch with me on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram for all the latest updates.
Mandu (Korean Dumplings)
- 7 oz napa cabbage
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 oz Korean sweet potato noodles (dangmyun)
- 1 1/2 lb minced pork
- 1 cup finely chopped Asian chives
- 1 cup finely chopped Asian leeks or green onion
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sweet rice wine (mirim)
- 1 tsp ginger puree
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 40 large dumpling wrappers about 5-inch diameter
For dipping sauce
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp Korean chili flakes (gochugaru) optional
- To make the filling; chop napa cabbage finely and put it in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1 tsp salt and toss together; let it sit for 10 minutes. When the cabbage becomes lifeless, squeeze it out to get rid of moisture.
- Boil Korean sweet potato noodles according to the package directions, about 6-7 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain well. Chop into small pieces.
- Put pork, cabbage, chives, leeks, and noodles in a large mixing bowl. Season with soy sauce, sweet rice wine, ginger, sesame oil, and pepper; mix well with your hand until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
To shape half moon dumplings
- Put a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of wrapper, wet the edges of wrapper with water using your finger. Fold the wrapper in half and pinch the edges together. Bring the both ends toward the center. Pinch the ends together to complete.
To shape pleated dumplings
- Put some filling in the middle of the wrapper and wet the edges with water using your finger. Bring one edge to the other and pinch in the center first, then make a small pleat on one side facing toward the center. Continue to make more pleats, usually about 4 pleats. Create the same number of pleats on the other side, facing the pleats toward the center.
- To steam the dumplings, bring a small amount of water in a large pot to boil. Make sure the bottom of your steamer doesn't touch the water. Place mandu without touching each other in a bamboo steamer (or regular steamer), lined with a cheese cloth or a steam liner. When the water boils, place the steamer over or in the pot. Cover and steam for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Meanwhile, make dipping sauce to go with dumplings. Combine all the sauce ingredients and drizzle it over dumplings.