On three separate occasions this week I attempted making mandu (Korean dumplings). I am a fan of overly ambitious cooking projects, and so my first attempt for the week was a production for my 15 person vegetarian/vegan co-op. This may or may not have involved me staying up until 2 in the morning the night before, rolling 70 sum odd dumpling wrappers from scratch, but it was entirely worth it. Also, its winter aka insomnia season so I figure its a good use of my sleepless time. This experience taught me three things: 1: If you overthink a project for long enough it sometimes actually works out. 2: egging the edge of the dumpling wrappers to make them stick, something I have been doing forever with store bought wrappers at home, is completely unnecessary and just makes a mess. 3: making dumpling wrappers from scratch is fun. It’s also an arm work out if you happen to be making as many as I was.
Each time I made the mandu I changed my method slightly based on the ingredients I had available to me at the time. It was all some variation on mushrooms (enoki, king oyster, shiitake.. that other one whose name is escaping me…), firm tofu, carrot, ginger, garlic, kimchi or cabbage, scallions, bamboo shoots, radish, soy sauce, sesame oil, gochugaru. The sauce was soy sauce, chinkiang black vinegar, tahini, sesame seeds, scallions, gochugaru, and chili oil.
That first late night of wrapper making was the first snow of the year. Kneading the dough as snowflakes fell lightly outside was sublime.