Fried Meat Dumplings

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Mandu make a nice light lunch, appetizer, or snack. Although you can really fill them with anything you want, the traditional way is to make them with pork. To make a vegetarian version, substitute the meat with tofu. The secret to getting nice, crisp dumplings is to make sure all the ingredients are as dry as possible, so that the filling doesn’t make the skins soggy and cause extra splattering when frying. Still, to be safe, use a frying screen (they are screens stretched over metal circles with handles that fit over frying pans). If you can talk a friend, sibling, or spouse into helping, it’s much more fun and the work goes faster.

NotesIf you have any leftover filling, you can form them into tiny meat patties, and fry them up. If you have any leftover skins, cut them in half and deep fry them with the dumplings. Each time you make mandu, you will get better at portioning each dumpling as well as making them look beautiful. Instead of frying them, for a healthier dish, you can steam them.

Makes50 dumplings

Cooking Methodpan-frying


Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together, game day

Recipe Courseappetizer, main course, snack

Dietary Considerationpeanut free, tree nut free

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner, lunch, snack

Taste and Texturecrisp, meaty, savory


  • 1 cup mung bean or green bean sprouts
  • ½ pound ground beef or pork
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped very fine
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 50 Fresh Dumpling Skins or storebought dumpling wrappers
  • Vegetable oil for frying 


  1. For the filling:

  2. Blanch the mung bean sprouts by dunking them briefly in boiling water. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Squeeze out as much water as you can from the sprouts, chop them, and put them in a bowl.

  3. In the same bowl, add the remaining ingredients (except the dumpling wrappers) and combine until mixed.

  4. Before you begin filling the dumplings, prepare a large tray or other flat surface for laying down the dumplings as you make them. Also, pour some cold water in a small bowl for dipping.

  5. Place a wrapper on the palm of your hand. Then, spoon enough filling into the middle of the circle to leave about ½ inch of empty skin (about a tablespoon). Dip your finger into the cold water and wet ½ of the edge of the dumpling skin. Fold the skin in half, sealing the filling inside, making a semicircle.

  6. To make a fancy presentation, make small ridges on one side of the edge as you seal, using your finger and thumb, making about 5 or 7 ridges on each dumpling. The dumpling will curve naturally as you do this. This takes some practice, so don’t worry if the first one doesn’t come out stellar.

  7. Repeat with each wrapper until all the filling or wrappers are used.

  8. In a frying pan, pour enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom surface of the pan and heat over medium heat. Carefully, place the dumplings in the pan, filling the pan, but not crowding them so much that they touch and stick to each other. Fry until golden brown and crispy on one side. Flip them (long wooden chopsticks work best), cooking all sides until they are golden and crispy all over. Continue until all the dumplings are cooked, adding more oil as needed.

  9. Serve warm with Vinegar Soy Sauce (Cho Ganjang) for dipping.


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