On New Year's Day, Koreans traditionally eat 떡국 (ddeok guk)—rice cake soup. This year, my mom didn't serve rice cake soup, but she did send some frozen rice cakes home with whoever wanted them.
Today, I made 떡만두국 (ddeok mandu guk)—rice cake and Korean dumpling soup. I planned on just using store-bought wonton wrappers, but the store I went to was out. So I made wrappers from scratch, which worked out great! The recipe I used was just flour and water, and I love the way it turned out.
There are a bazillion recipes on the 'net for mandu, and they don't seem to agree on what should be in there. My version is adapted from a recipe that used pork, tofu, onions and mung bean sprouts (the wrapper recipe was from there, too).
And there are a bazillion recipes for ddeok guk, with no concensus on the broth. Some say to use beef broth, others an anchovy broth. I nixed both ideas, and used a kombu and bonito flake broth (pretty much the recipe on the back of my bag of bonito flakes).
With no further ado, here's the recipes I used. This is pretty much exactly what I did, so the portions don't actually work out quite right. I ended up freezing about half of the mandu uncooked; we'll see how that works out when I try to heat them up later.
IngredientsWrappers (makes about 25)
- 375 g. (3 c.) all purpose flour
- 1 c. luke warm water
- 5 oz. pork
- 275 g. extra firm tofu (about ¾ of a typical package)
- 200 g. (2 c.) mung bean sprouts
- 1⅔ c. kimchi, chopped fine
- ½ med. white onion, chopped fine
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 t. salt
- 1 t. sesame oil
- a few grinds of fresh black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten (oops! I forgot this!)
- 1 c. frozen rice cakes (there are many different types of rice cakes, and you need to get these from a Korean grocery store; tell them you're making rice cake soup)
- 4 oz. beef (I think I used skirt steak; it was in my freezer)
- 1 t. soy sauce
- ½ t. sesame oil
- ½ t. sugar
- a few grinds of fresh black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 6 c. water (I might use 8 c. next time)
- 4-5 in. kombu (this is type of kelp, sold dried in health or Asian food stores)—that's the Japanese name; in Korean, this apparently is 다시마 (dashima)
- ½ c. bonito flakes (again, try health or Asian food stores)—don't pack the bonito while measuring
- soy sauce and salt to taste ("to taste" might involve skipping these all together)
- a few scallions (I used two), cut on the bias
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 sheet seasoned nori (I skipped this, as I didn't have any in the house)
- Combine the flour and water in the bowl of a stand mixer, and kneed with a dough hook for 15 minutes (I let it go for 25 minutes, at speed 2 on my Kitchenaid).
- The dough should be silky smooth, and as you remove it from the dough hook it will be a bit tacky. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature as you work on the filling.
- Mince the pork (I suppose you could grind it, or start with ground pork, but I just minced it), and place it in a large bowl.
- Squeeze the tofu, a fistful at a time, crumbling it and also removing as much water as possible. Add the dry, crumbled tofu to the bowl.
- Boil the bean sprouts for a few minutes, and then cool down under cold water. Chop the sprouts fairly finely, and squeeze by the fistful, as with the tofu, to remove water before adding to the bowl.
- Squeeze the kimchi to remove as much liquid as possible, and add to the bowl. Same thing with the onion.
- Add the garlic, salt, sesame oil, and pepper. Mix thoroughly. If the filling seems to have any excess water, squeeze it out. The goal is to have a barely moist filling. It should look something like this:
- Mix in the egg. I forgot this step entirely, and my mandu turned out fine, but presumably the insides would have been a bit less crumbly if I had included the egg.
- Ok, now back to the wrappers. Flour your hands well, and remove the wrapper dough from the plastic wrap. It will probably stick a bit, but do your best to get all of it out. If it starts sticking to your hands, reflour them.
- Put the pasta rolling attachment onto your stand mixer (you could do this by hand with a rolling pin, but the dough is quite "bouncy" and you want the wrappers quite thin, so it will be much, much easier with a motorized pasta rolling station).
- Set up a small plate, or even better a small shallow bowl, that you can use as a flouring station:
- Pull off a chunk of the dough about 20-25 grams—about the size of a ping pong ball. Flour well in your flouring station, while pressing the dough into a flat disk shape about 2 inches in diameter.
- With the stand mixer on low (on my Kitchenaid, I used speed 2), run the wrapper through the pasta rolling attachment, starting with the thickest setting (on my Kitchenaid pasta roller, 1). If the wrapper sticks to your roller, you didn't flour it well enough; reflour before continuing on. Move to the next thinner setting, turning the wrapper ninety degrees when you run it through (this is to try to keep the wrapper roughly round). Continue on with thinner settings, until you have a round wrapper that is 3-4 inches across. On my Kitchenaid pasta attachment, I stopped at setting 4. Too thick, and you will have doughy mandu. Too thin, and the wrapper will rip when you fill it. My wrappers looked something like this:
- Spoon a heaping teaspoonful of filling into the center of the wrapper (I was aiming for about 25 g., though as I noted at the beginning, this made really large dumplings). Fold the wrapper over the filling, and seal the edges firmly. Try to keep as much air out as possible. If you'd like, you can now bring the two "corners" of your dumpling together and press, forming a tortellini-like shape. Place on a wax paper lined plate (I used unlined plates, and when I later picked them up, they stuck a bit).
- Repeat the three previous steps until all your mandu are prepared. You should have a nice collection that looks something like this:
- Ok, onto the soup. Soak the rice cakes in cold water, and set aside.
- Cut the beef into thin strips, and mix well in a bowl with the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sugar, salt and black pepper (you might want to do this ahead of time; if not, let the bowl sit for at least ten minutes).
- Saute the beef in a large pan with a bit of oil until well cooked. Set aside.
- Bring six cups (again, I might go with eight cups next time) of water plus the kombu to a boil in a large stock pot. Remove from heat, add the bonito flakes, and then strain, returning the liquid back to the stock pot.
- Once the stock has come back to a boil, drain the rice cakes and add them to the pot. Simmer for about two minutes.
- Add the scallions, and about eight to twenty dumplings, depending on how big you made them. Simmer for eight minutes.
- Correct seasoning, if necessary, with soy sauce and/or salt.
- Slowly dribble the egg into the pot in swirling circles. Let simmer for a minute, and then stir. Remove from heat.
- Ladle soup into four bowls, topping with beef and slivered nori (as I mentioned above, I skipped the nori). Serve hot.
- Freeze any leftover (uncooked) dumplings, after thoroughly flouring them to keep them from sticking. I divided mine into one serving per small ziplock, and then put those ziplocks into a large freezer bag.