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Crispy Tofu and Kimchi Mandu

When coming to dumplings, our family is most passionate about them. From mixing the fillings and wrapping them into shapes. While Angela’s new obsession with Korean food has been making her spending time practising new recipes to fulfil her cravings. We thought you might not want to miss out on this Crispy Tofu and Kimchi Mandu (Korean dumpling). A recipe that Vegan lovers would love to try as well. Let us show you how.

First of all, tofu is a must for vegetarian dumpling at all time, it just makes the texture of the dumpling so good. The cooked tofu is hardened and slightly resemble the texture of the meats. For those who don’t enjoy kimchi, you could have a look at our past recipe on Tofu Dumpling.

Making the filling

Preparing the Tofu
The main ingredients here are Tofu, in our previous tofu dumpling recipes, we use the same method for this recipe. We love using tofu as a filling for my vegetarian dumplings. Crumbled tofu, as you see in the photo above, is the perfect texture for dumpling filling. The moisture from tofu helps bind the filling together. That way, you don’t have to worry about filling falling all over the place when you make dumplings. Plus, tofu is inexpensive!

Before you make the filling, you’ll need to press the tofu for about 20 minutes to get rid of excess moisture. I usually wrap it around a muslin square and press the tofu block between plates. You don’t need too many plates on top of the tofu block when pressing. Two or three plates should do the job.

Chop your Vegetables
To give these dumplings flavour, we paired the tofu with kimchi. The tofu helps mellow out the flavours of the kimchi. When you are preparing the filling, make sure to chop the kimchi and all other vegetables into small pieces. To complement the kimchi and tofu we also added shallots, shredded carrots, ginger, garlic, and scallions to round out the filling. Chop the vegetables up small for easy wrapping. The filling is spicy, sweet, and savoury—it is the perfect balance of flavour!

Cook your Fillings
We will cook the prepared vegetable ingredients ahead before mixing them with the tofu, as the vegetables contain lots of moisture, we don’t want wet fillings. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 30 seconds. Then, add the garlic and ginger, and stir to combine. Next, add the carrots and scallions to the pan and cook for 30 seconds more. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and let them cool for 10 minutes.

Mix all the Ingredients Up
Transfer the pressed tofu to a mixing bowl. Break the block of tofu into several large pieces and squeeze the tofu until it crumbles. Add the stir-fried vegetables, kimchi, soy sauce, sesame oil, coriander, and salt. Stir all the ingredients to combine. And now you are all prepared for wrapping them.

Wrapping the dumpling

This time we uses the dumpling wrapper we got from korean market. It is softer and thicker than the wrapper we always used. It also gave a more chewy texture after cooking. There are many ways of wrapping them up, we love the classic dumpling folding method and uses it for this time.

Can I make the dumpling ahead?

Yes! As we previously mentioned, it’s always a good idea to make extra dumplings because they freeze extremely well and taste so much better than store-bought dumplings.

The best method is to freeze dumplings. we usually line pleated dumplings on a baking sheet that fits in my freezer (see photo above). You can also line the dumplings on large plates. Make sure that the dumplings do not touch each other. Otherwise, the dumplings will stick together into a large clump.

Then, we stick the baking sheet straight into the freezer. After several hours, the outsides of the dumplings will harden. At this point, you can remove the dumplings from the baking sheet and store them in a freezer bag.

What do I do when I don’t have cast iron?

We like cast iron cause it gets ripping hot. That’s important so you can get a nice sear on the bottom of the dumplings, and also make the steam hot enough to cook the dumpling inside thoroughly. Just never grab the handle with your bare hand while cooking, you will cry. However, not to worry about it. We use non-stick pan for a thousand time but it will be extra crisper when you use the cast iron.

Sesame Scallion Sauce

Never underestimate the power of dipping sauce, it will elevate the flavour of this dish. This sauce really boosts the overall flavour of these individual dishes and we must say, it’s very addictive! Its slightly sweet and tangy flavour dilutes the oiliness of pancakes and dumplings.

You will need soya sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, sesame seed, ginger, garlic and scallion for this recipe. Simply mix all the ingredients well before serving.

Did you like this Crispy Kimchi Tofu Mandu Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!

xoxo, Angela

Crispy Tofu and Kimchi Mandu

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce package) firm tofu

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for frying dumplings

  • 2/3 cup chopped shallots

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger

  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated

  • 2 stalks of scallions, sliced

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  • 40 to 45 round potsticker dumpling wrappers, see note

  • Sesame Scallion Sauce
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar

  • 1 scallion, sliced

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Method

  • Prepare the Filling
  • Drain and remove the block of tofu from the package. Wrap a muslin square, thin cloth, or paper towels around the tofu. Place the block of tofu on a plate, and then place 2 or 3 places over the tofu to press it. Set it aside for 20 minutes.
  • Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil in pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 30 seconds. Then, add the garlic and ginger, and stir to combine. Next, add the carrots and scallions to the pan and cook for 30 seconds more. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and let it cool for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the pressed tofu to a mixing bowl. Break the block of tofu into several large pieces and squeeze the tofu until it crumbles. Add the stir-fried vegetables, kimchi, soy sauce, sesame oil, coriander, and salt. Stir all the ingredients to combine.
  • Make the Dumplings
  • Dip the edge of the dumpling wrapper into the bowl of water. Rotate the wrapper so that the entire edge of the wrapper is wet, creating a wet border about 1/4-inch wide. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of the wrapper (you may use more or less depending on the size of your dumpling wrapper).
  • Pinch together the wrapper on the right. Using your index fingers, create a pleat using the part of the wrapper that is away from you. Seal the pleat towards the right. Next, using your left thumb, create a pleat using the part of the wrapper that is closest to you. Seal the pleat towards the right. Continue creating pleats on both sides of the wrapper until you reach the end of the dumpling. Seal the dumpling. Refer to the step-by-step pleating photo in the post for a visual.
  • Continue pleating dumplings until you are out of filling or dumpling skins. If you notice that the dumplings are starting to dry out, cover them with a dry towel.
  • Cook the Dumplings
  • Heat a large nonstick pan or well seasoned cast-iron skillet with 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Arrange the dumplings over the pan. I usually cook about 15 dumplings at a time. Pan fry the dumplings for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottoms are golden.
  • Next, hold the pan lid with one hand and pour about 1/4 cup of water into the pan with your other hand. You want just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. When the water comes in contact with the hot oil, there will be a lot of splattering, so use the lid of the pan as a shield. Cover the pan, reduce the heat slightly to medium, and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Uncover the pan and let the dumplings cook for another minute or two, until the water is evaporated. You can also turn the dumplings over on their sides to brown the other sides. You’ll need to add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Transfer the cooked dumplings to a plate.
  • Repeat this entire cooking process if you want to cook the remaining dumplings. If you want to cook the dumplings later, freeze them.

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