Kimchi Manju Dumplings
Makes about 26 dumplings, serving 4-6
Fat, chewy boiled Korean manju dumplings stuffed with kimchi and tofu make any meal pretty awesome. It’s exciting to have leftovers enough the next day to rapidly saute in a wok for extra chewy, golden exteriors. The dipping sauce is a must, or perhaps served on a fluffy bed of greens for a well rounded dumpling repast.
When draining the kimchi, reserve a little bit of the juice just in case the filling looks dry, and be sure the chop the kimchi very fine for best results.
Tip: Of course you can shortcut these dumplings with egg-free wonton or gyoza skins; just make sure to thaw fully before using. Dip your finger in water to seal the edges of the wrappers before pinching them together. Gyoza wrapper dumplings can also be directly pan fried without the need for the additional boiling step.
1 recipe Basic Dumpling Dough, relaxed for minimum 1 hour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped finely chopped scallions, both green and white parts
1/2 pound firm tofu, crumbled
2 generous cups kimchi, drained and chopped very fine
1/4 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
Soy sauce, optional
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoons agave
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion
1. Before anything else, prepare a batch of Basic Dumpling dough, wrap it tightly in well floured plastic wrap and let sit a room temperature for about an hour to let the gluten relax. While that’s happening prepare the filling: heat the oil in a wok or 12 inch skillet and saute the garlic for 30 seconds. Stir in the scallions, fry for 1 minutes and add the tofu, kimchi and sesame oil. Continue to mix and fry the filling for another 3-4 minutes until well blended and juicy looking. Taste the mixture; it should be slightly crunchy from the kimchi and not too dry; add a little kimchi juice if you want it moister, or sprinkle with a dash of soy sauce if it needs more salt. Remove from wok and while the filling cools make the dipping sauce by combining all of the ingredients and pouring into small serving bowls.
2. On a lightly floured surface divide the dumpling dough in half and wrap up one of the halves. Roll the dough into a rope about 13 inches long and with a sharp knife slice into 13 pieces. Shape each piece into a flat circle, and with a floured rolling pin or dowel roll each piece into a disk about 3 1/2 to 4 inches wide; flip the circle over often and lightly dust with flour to prevent sticking. Lay the disks on a large sheet of parchment paper and take care not to overlap them.
3. To assemble a dumpling, scoop a rounded tablespoon of filling into the center of a dough circle. Grab one of the edges of the circle and pull it over to touch the other edge and very firmly pinch the edges together. You can form many shapes from here; I like to pinch the overhanging dough over to one side of the dumpling to get a shape that looks a little like a plump, windblown crescent. Repeat with remaining dough and filling, and do the same with the other batch of dough. Half way though shaping the dumplings bring a large stock pot of water to a low boil with three quarts of water. Add a tablespoon each of salt and oil to the water, and have handy a mesh long handled skimmer and a large deep serving bowl.
4. To cook a dumpling, gently lower into the water and don’t cook more than 4 at a time. Dumplings won’t take long to cook; about 3-4 minutes. Dumplings are done when the skin looks slightly translucent. Gently remove with a skimmer into serving dishes and serve with dipping sauce.
5. To pan fry cooked dumplings, simple heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat; even cooking spray works exceptionally well for fast and greaseless frying of dumplings. Cook until insides are hot and edges are golden. For even faster cooking, heat the dumplings in the microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes before frying.