Every week we get a delivery from a local CSA share (Gachi CSA), so frequently previously unknown veggies will show up on our doorstep and we get to be inventive. We first got kohlrabi a few months ago and our friends shared a recipe for veggie pancakes. However, we had a lot of leftover mix and used a bit of the veggie pancake mix as dumpling filling. This time we went straight for the dumplings, using Korean mandu wrappers bought at the grocery store.
We used one kohlrabi and two fingers of ginger, starting by peeling the kohlrabi and ginger then using the grater. Being impatient, I ended up peeling most of the kohlrabi into little pieces with the peeler, but they ended up a bit too big for dumpling filling. Next time we’ll stay patient and grate it all. This time we sautéed the ingredients a bit before filling the dumplings, but a lot of the time we just fill it with raw ingredients. We added one pack of tofu and half of a chopped onion to the kohlrabi and ginger and a bit of cajun seasoning and salt and sautéed it in olive oil on medium for about 5 minutes.
After the veggies softened up a bit I went to fill the wrappers (mandu-pi or 만두피) which I had taken out of the freezer about two hours before – any less and they stay frozen and stuck together and any more and they get way too mushy and gooey. They should just peel easily off the frozen bunch.
I fill the center of the wrapper with just a spoon-full of filling. I’ve been tipped off that the hardest part is being tempted to over-fill the dumpling. They won’t stay together if they’re too full, but I always think one spoonful won’t be enough. Now I’ve learned though; if I can’t easily seal it I stop and take a little of the filling out so it’ll stay together when cooking.
Next I dip my little pinky into some water and line the edge of the dumpling. This makes it really easy to seal the dumpling; without the water they hardly stick. I go with the simple fold-over. For some reason I can’t figure out the folded dumpling. It just doesn’t seal all the way. After watering the edge just fold and squeeze.
I always undercook the mandu; Ryan does a better job of patiently waiting for them to fry until they’re golden on both sides and the insides are evenly cooked. They turn an even golden-brown on the finished sides. The mandu can also be steamed but we haven’t tried that because… fried food is good.
Of course, we took the extra filling and made pancakes this time.
We were also left with a bunch of leftover mandu; we fry them (or you can steam them!) before keeping them in the fridge or freezer. You should do that – they get weird and gooey if they’re saved uncooked, but make fantastic leftovers for a quick meal if they’re cooked.
On a sidenote, this week we also received a ton of chard AND lemons, so we got creative and made a chard salad with lemon juice and olive oil sprinkled with some lemon pepper as a side for our mandu. It was awesome.