Jjin-mandu, or Korean steamed dumplings, are classic dumplings filled with pork, tofu, veggies, and glass noodles. They are perfect for everyday meals and snack and a wonderful addition to dduk/tteok guk to make tteok mandu guk.
Today, we're sharing a jjin-mandu recipe, a classic Korean steamed mandu, filled with ground pork, tofu, glass noodles (or japchae noodles) and veggies.
Not only do these steamed mandu taste better than the premade frozen ones, they are perfect additions to your Lunar New Year menu. You can served them on their own, with sides like japchae (Korean glass noodle stir fry), or add them to your dduk/tteok guk to make tteok mandu guk!
What ingredients are in Korean mandu filling?
Traditionally, Korean mandu are filled with ground pork, tofu, sweet potato glass noodles, also known as japchae noodles, and a variety of veggies like mushroom, cabbage, and bean sprouts. But it would not be uncommon to also find variations with beef, seafood, or vegetables only.
This jjin-mandu recipe is a classic version with pork, tofu, vegetables, and glass noodles. However, there are many different variations out there for every preference. Some of the most popular are kimchi mandu, so-mandu (vegetable), and beef mandu. These days, there are also more creative variations including beef or chicken bulgogi mandu.
What kind of dumpling wrapper is used to make mandu?
Classic Korean mandu uses extra large mandu-pi (aka mandu skin/ wrapper). Unlike, Chinese dumplings and Japanese gyoza, mandu-pi are about 4 ½ to 5 inches in diameter and are made with wheat flour and glutinous rice flour. The addition of glutinous rice flour gives the mandu skin just a bit more chew, which is desirable, especially for steamed and boiled mandu.
- Green cabbage - We prefer using green cabbage in our mandu and dumplings because it keeps it's texture well, even after cooking. Alternatively, you could use white cabbage or napa cabbage. Prepare and salt the cabbage same as green cabbage. Do avoid purple cabbages because they tend to bleed.
- Shiitake mushroom - Fresh shiitake mushroom can be a little pricey to purchase just for 1 batch of mandu. So instead you can substitute it for dry shiitake mushrooms. Just make sure to rehydrate the dry shiitake in some hot water for at least 30 minutes before using.
- Asian chives - Asian chives adds a huge flavor profile to the dumplings. If you can't find any Asian chives, you could use sliced green onion instead. The dumplings will not have as much of a punch, but they will still be very tasty.
Step by step Korean steamed mandu wrapping
1. Place 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of mandu filling in the center of the mandu wrapper. Lightly dab water all along the edges of the wrapper.
2. Fold the mandu in half like a taco and press along the edges shut to seal the dumpling. *You can stop at this point if you want to keep your mandu shape simple.*
3. Slightly flatten the mandu, and wet one end of the wrapper. Then, bring both ends together, the dry end in the front and wet end in the back.
4. Press to bind the wrapper. Keep the finished mandu covered and repeat with remaining mandu filling and wrappers.
- Remove excess moisture from the filling. It is very important to remove excess moisture from the cabbage, tofu, and glass noodles before adding them to the filling. This will prevent the mandu wrapper from become soggy.
- Prepare a lined sheet pan. This tip is a MUST for beginners just starting out wrapping mandu and dumpling. Because the filling is moist, it is inevitable that the mandu wrapper will eventually become sticky. So, lining the sheet pan with either plastic wrap or parchment paper will prevent the mandu (and dumplings) from sticking to the pan/plate as you fold them.
- Rinse the sweet potato glass noodles/ japchae noodles. After boiling the glass noodles, strain, and rinse with cold water to retain the bouncy chewiness. This way, you won't have mushy noodles in your mandu.
Alternative cooking method:
Besides the classic steaming method, here are some other ways to cook mandu that offer different textures:
- Boiled (mul-mandu) - These mandu are great for boiling. Because the mandu-pi (wrapper) is thick and also made with glutinous rice flour, the dumplings won't disintegrate when boiled. Just drop the mandu into a pot of boiling water and boil for 6 to 8 minutes.
- Pan-fried (gun-mandu) - Using minimal oil to add texture to these mandu. To cook a batch of 6, add ½ tablespoon of oil to a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Place the dumplings in the pan, and add ½ cup of room temperature water and cover with a lid. Let the mandu "steam" for about 6-8 minutes, or until the water is mostly evaporated. Uncover the lid and cook for about another 2 minutes, until all the moisture is gone and the bottoms of the mandu are golden brown and crispy.
- Deep fried (tuigin-mandu) - To achieve the crispiest mandu skin of the other cooking method. Use either a deep fryer or a frying pan filled with 3 to 4 inches of oil. Heat the oil to 350°F and fry the mandu until golden brown and crispy all the way around, about 3 to 5 minutes. Make sure to not overcrowd the oil to prevent the oil temperature from dropping drastically.
As any dumplings, these jjin-mandu (steamed dumplings) are best eaten freshly cooked. However, if you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.
DO NOT store uncooked mandu in the fridge. This will cause your wrappers to turn soggy.
Instead, freeze your uncooked mandu. Prepare a plastic wrap lined sheet tray or freezer friendly plateware. Arrange the mandu on the tray, making sure none of them touch each other. Freeze the dumplings for at least 1 to 2 hours, or until they are solid, then transfer them into resealable bags or airtight containers. The frozen mandu will be good for up to 2 months frozen, and you can cook them straight out of the freezer.
I also recommend covering the tray of mandu to prevent the wrappers from drying out while freezing. Usually we use plastic wrap, but another tray or parchment paper works too.
If you don't have a steam basket, you can steam in a pot instead. All you need is either a wire rack that fits in the pot or a short tuna can with the tops and bottoms removed.
Place the rack or tuna can in the pot with about 1 to 2 inches of water and bring it to a high simmer on medium heat. Arrange the dumplings on a plate that fits in the pot and carefully place it in the pot. Cover the pot and steam as instructed, and refill the water as needed.
Frozen mandu/dumplings can be cooked just like freshly made ones. Just increase the cook time by 2-3 minutes and make sure the filling is hot.
Freshly made Korean mandu takes about 10 minutes to steam. If steaming frozen mandu, increase the cook time by 2-3 minutes, so about 12-13 minutes. You'll know the mandu is cooked when the filling is hot and the pork is no longer pink.
Happy mandu making!
If you’ve made this recipe or any recipes from our blog, please tag us on Instagram using #twoplaidaprons! You can also tag us in your Instagram stories using @two_plaid_aprons. We would love to see your creations! It absolutely makes our day! 🥰
Jjin-Mandu (Korean Steamed Dumplings with Glass Noodles)
For the mandu (dumpling):
- 5.3 ounces green cabbage , finely chopped (about ½ of a medium cabbage)
- 3 ounces sweet potato glass noodles , also known as japchae noodle or glass noodle
- 1 pound ground pork
- 4 ounces firm tofu
- 1.7 ounces Asian chives , sliced (or green onion)
- 3 fresh shiitake mushroom , minced (or dry shiitake* see notes)
- .5 ounce ginger , peeled and minced (about 1 inch knob)
- 2½ Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt , for salting cabbage (1½ teaspoon if using fine salt)
- 35 mandu wrapper (extra large size)
- For the cabbage:Place the finely chopped cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of salt over it. Give the cabbage a couple of mixes and set aside. Let the cabbage salt for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until wilted. Strain the cabbage by firmly squeezing a handful at a time to remove excess water. Add the drained cabbage to the dumpling filling.*Don't rinse the cabbage after salting. We want the cabbage to be seasoned and avoid introducing more water to the cabbage.
- For the japchae/ glass noodles:In a boiling pot of water, add the glass noodles. Make sure all of the noodles are submerged in the water and let it boil until cooked, about 10 minutes or according to package instruction. Strain the noodles and thoroughly rinse with cold water. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the noodles into smaller pieces, then add it to the mandu filling.*Try to strain the japchae noodles as well as possible after rinse so that no excess water is added to the mandu filling.*
- For the tofu:Place the firm tofu in double layer of cheesecloth or in a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze out the excess moisture in the tofu by twisting and wringing the cloth. It is perfectly fine to crumble the tofu. Add the tofu to the mandu filling.
- For the dumpling filling:In a mixing bowl, combine the ground pork, salted cabbage, glass noodles, tofu, chives, shiitake mushrooms, minced ginger, soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil. Mix for a few minutes or until all the ingredients are well combined and the ground pork looks a little paste-like.
- To assemble the mandu:Prepare a ramekin with some water and a sheet pan or plateware lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap.
- Place 1½ to 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of the mandu wrapper. Lightly dab water all along the edges of the wrapper and fold the dumpling in half like a taco. Press together the edges to seal the dumpling. *You can stop at this point if you want to keep the mandu shape flat and simple.*
- Slight flatten the dumpling then lightly dab some water on one end of the dumpling. Bring both ends of the dumpling together, with the wet end behind the dry. Press the ends together to bind the wrapper. Place the mandu on the prepared sheet pan and cover with a towel or plastic wrap to prevent drying. Repeat with remaining filling and mandu wrappers.*Refer to the post above for step by step photo reference of how to fold mandu.*
- To steam mandu:Line a steam basket with cabbage leaves or with perforated parchment circles. Arrange the dumplings in the steam basket without touching each other. With the lid on, place the steam basket over a pot of boiling water on medium heat. Steam the mandu for about 10 minutes or until the filling is hot. Remove the dumplings and repeat with the next batch.
- For the mandu dipping sauce:Combine all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Serve with mandu.
- Serve:Enjoy the mandu while they're hot. They are delicious on their own, with the mandu dipping sauce, or added to soups!
- If you are using dry shiitake instead of the fresh ones, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes to rehydrate them before mincing.
- Uncooked mandu can be frozen and stored up to 2 months. Refer the the post for mandu freezing tips.