my grandma's pyong yang style mandooAfter months of debating, here I am writing my first blog. I was trying to think of the perfect recipe with the perfect story but the longer I thought about it, the more ideas I had to narrow down from. I always say, "there is no perfect time if you wait for the perfect time". The perfect time is when you just do it. I wanted to explain my blog title in the first entry so I had written a bit about my grandma's kimchee fried rice with the crispy bits and burnt edges. And now I just told you about the title. The reason why I wanted to call my blog, "Crispy Bits and Burnt Ends" is, doesn't everyone love the crispy top of a bubbly mac and cheese or the burnt edge of a good bbq rib?
Before my career in the Corporate world I was once an Architect. When I was in Architecture school we would always talk about the "MOMENT". A professor would say, "Oh I really enjoy this moment here in this piece. I feel it captures the essence of the building". I feel that saying relates to cooking as well. Foodies talk about how everything comes together and how the flavors build off each other, but I really think there are special moments in the dish that just make it phenomenal. My grandma's (my mom's mother) kimchee fried rice had that moment. Her perfectly weathered pan would create the most amazing crispy crust on the bottom. Those are my favorite moments in cooking.
So here is a recipe with a special moment. My grandma (my dad's mother) was well known for her Mandoo. Mandoo is the Korean word for dumpling. You can have mandoo any kind of way with any kind of filling. The way my grandma made it was with pork and kimchee. She would cook beef bones for hours and hours and make the most amazing broth for madoo soup. I have not learned that technique nor do I have the patience to make my own broth, so I boiled the madoo in water and also pan fried them. Every New Years Day, our whole family would get together and make madoo. It would be a 2 day event. My oldest aunt (my oldest uncle's wife) and my grandma would prepare the filling the night before and start the broth. The next day the rest of the family would pile into my uncle's house and cut out round shapes with the top of a kettle and start filling and shaping the madoo. My aunts would always tell me that I had to fold and crimp my madoo pretty or I will have an ugly daughter. I would obsess about making the prettiest madoo so I would overthink it and it would not be pretty. I would put too much filling in, so the filling would ooze from the side and color the madoo the shade of kimchee. I use to get so upset thinking I was going to have an ugly daughter (good thing I have a son, even though he is gorgeous) Now that our family is all over the world we get together at my parent's house for New Years and whom ever happens to be in town gets to eat madoo. My non Korean boyfriend, Josh has come to love madoo and looks forward to New Years Day just so he can have some madoo. Now he doens't have to wait for New Years Day to get his madoo fix because I have grown confident enough as a home cook to make my own mandoo.
My Grandma's Pyong Yang Style Mandoo
1lb of ground pork
1/2 cup of kimchee
1/2 cup of silken tofu (sounds weird but trust me, it makes the madoo so moist)
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
Mix all the ingredients and put 1 tablespoon of mixture into wonton wrapper (if you feel it is too much filling, then slightly adjust so your filling doesn't ooze over the sides and end up with an ugly madoo). Use an eggwash and paint around the edges of the madoo so the wonton sticks together. Then you can steam it, boil it, pan fry, which ever way you prefer it. Just don't microwave it like Josh did when I wasn't home one day.
4 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon red chili pepper (gochugaru)
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon green onion
mix first three ingredients and add green onion as garnish