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Kimchi Dumplings

Kimchi Dumplings Recipe - Korean steamed, pan-fried, or sometimes deep-fried dumplings are called mandu, and this recipe is my version of a vegetarian, kimchi-based one. The more ripened your kimchi, the more flavor it will contribute to the dumplings. The brine is used as an ingredient, too—it’s very flavorful and can function like vinegar in your cooking, so you definitely don’t want to waste it. I like these shaped into potstickers and pan-fried, as instructed below. I always serve them with a little pile of kimchi and some other crunchy vegetables as garnishes—radishes or daikon, carrots, and cucumbers, which can be salted and tossed in a little rice vinegar—and with Gochujang Sauce for drizzling.

Kimchi Dumplings Recipe


  • 7 ounces firm tofu (half of a 14-ounce block), pressed
  • 1 cup Napa Cabbage or Bok Choy Kimchi, preferably homemade
  • 3 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kimchi brine or rice vinegar, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • 25 to 30 thick round dumpling wrappers
  • for the bowls
  • Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Rice
  • Gochujang Sauce, for serving

How to make Kimchi Dumplings

  1. Place the tofu in the middle of a cutting board and mash it up with a fork.
  2. After measuring the kimchi, hold it in place in the measuring cup, turn the cup upside down over a small bowl, and press to extract the kimchi brine, draining it into the bowl; set the brine aside. Finely chop the kimchi.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook, stirring periodically, for 5 to 7 minutes, until beginning to get crispy and golden brown. Add the kimchi and sugar and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the kimchi is softened and the pan is dry. Pour in 3 tablespoons of the reserved kimchi brine (if there’s not enough brine, use either additional kimchi brine from the jar or rice vinegar to make up the volume) and the soy sauce, scraping up any browned bits from the pan with a wooden spoon. When the pan is dry again, remove from the heat and stir in the scallions. Let cool completely.
  4. Set up your dumpling assembly station: Place a stack of dumpling wrappers on one end of a cutting board and cover with a lightly moistened towel or paper towel to prevent them from drying out. Place a small bowl of water and the dumpling filling within reach. Also set out a parchment-lined baking sheet and moistened clean towel for the assembled dumplings.
  5. Shape the dumplings into pleated potstickers (see page 169), arranging them on the baking sheet as you go and covering with a towel to prevent them from drying out. If you’re not eating them immediately, place the tray in the freezer for 30 minutes, until the dumplings have firmed up, then transfer to an airtight container or resealable bag and keep them in the freezer until ready to serve.
  6. To cook, heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Once hot, arrange the dumplings in concentric circles in the pan, flat side down, fitting as many as you can into the pan in a single layer. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes if freshly made or 4 to 6 minutes if frozen, until golden brown on the bottoms and crisp. (Use your fingers to lift one out of the pan to check.) Working quickly, drizzle with about 3 tablespoons water and then cover the pan tightly with a lid or piece of foil. Cook for 3 minutes more, until the dumplings appear translucent and are heated through.
  7. Make the bowls: Divide the bok choy and rice among four bowls. Arrange 6 potstickers on top of the bok choy and rice in each bowl and serve immediately with the Gochujang Sauce.