Saturday, May 15, 2010


We've been pretty heavy into the Friday night Pizza and movie night the past few months. Last night I thought that we needed something different. Next to pizza, my kids' favorite treat is take-out Chinese. The girls have discovered a deep and abiding love for wonton soup and pan-fried Chinese dumplings (jiaozi). If they had their way, we'd get takeout Chinese food every week!

Jiaozi are quite similar to the Korean snack Yakki-mandu/Geun-mandu, which are a popular street vendor food. Vendors would deep fry batches of frozen mandu and serve them in a waxed paper cone. Home cooks in Korea often make them fresh and then pan-fry them, as seen in the following video:

Mandu are my number one favorite street vendor food from my time in Korea. I got seriously addicted to these when I was there, and adapted a recipe for them when I got back. I like these as an appetizer for large family gatherings because when I make them, I bake them in large batches instead of subjecting them to the fryer. I also shape my mandu differently from the traditional fat crescent shape of mandu/jiaozi. Nevertheless, they are probably my most-requested party food.

A few years ago, I started letting the girls help me make the mandu. It's a time-consuming process, because for a typical party I may make as many as 200 of them. We manage to have fun together, listening to music, singing and telling jokes.

Since I am trying to spend less money on take-out in addition to getting them involved with me in the kitchen, like with the homemade personal pizzas, I thought that we could have mandu for our Friday night homemade takeout. When I mentioned it to the girls, they cheered. So yesterday, the girls and I sat at the dining room table and churned out about 120 mandu for our very own version of takeout Chinese food night.

I'm positive that I'm spending less money on takeout than I was before, and I know I am enjoying these DIY nights as much as the girls are. I hope that you enjoy this recipe. :)

Babs's Mandu

  • 1 Pkg egg roll wrappers (makes 80 mandu)/or 1 Pkg wonton wrappers (makes appr. 50 slightly larger mandu)*
  • 2-3 eggs, beaten
  • Filling (recipes and suggestions follow)
  • Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)
  • Cooking spray

*Note: I usually use the egg roll wrappers because they make more mandu for about the same price, but first you have to cut them into quarters. Take out about 20 at a time, and put the rest back in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap and a damp paper towel on top so they don’t dry out.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375, and spray a cookie sheet with the cooking spray.

  2. Moisten all four edges of a wrapper with the beaten egg, and then place a scant teaspoonful of the filling into the center. Take two adjacent corners (not opposite, that is) and bring them together, then bring up the other two corners, and then press all four down onto the center, closing it into a little package.*

  3. Brush the top with more egg and repeat over and over and over until you are sick of the sight of them!

  4. Before placing the sheet in the oven, spray them with the cooking spray, then bake for 9-12 minutes, or until the tops brown. Serve with dipping sauce.

I usually make them in advance and then reheat them for 3 minutes in the microwave. Alternately, you can reheat them in a 300-degree oven for 15 minutes.

*You may fold them in different ways, too; just simply fold them over into little triangles or into little envelopes. If you are using different fillings, it’s good to choose different folds just to differentiate them.


Beef filling: Brown approximately 1 lb ground beef (chuck, round or sirloin, but a leaner cut is better) and drain the fat. Then in a large bowl, mix the meat with chopped scallions, toasted sesame seeds and soy sauce or House of Tsang’s Korean-style Teriaki marinade (available at Price Chopper).

If you are baking these rather than frying them, YOU MUST cook the beef ahead of time. You can make these more traditionally by simmering them in broth, deep-frying or pan-frying. In those cases, you do not have to pre-cook the meat.

Crab rangoon filling: 6oz lump crab meat mixed with chopped scallions, 1 T soy sauce, diced pimento and 8oz softened cream cheese. Serve those mandu with Sweet and Sour sauce.

Tofu filling: mash tofu with a little tabasco, chopped scallions, cream cheese, sesame seeds and soy sauce. Use the same dipping sauce as the meat-filled mandu.

Dipping Sauce (Chojang):

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
sliced green onion

Lucy demonstrates a few of the steps in making mandu:

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