These delicious and meaty dumplings are filled with tofu, kimchi, bean sprouts, and plenty of green onions! Plus it comes with a unique sauce that makes use of the kimchi brine! Spicy, juicy, and packed with umami, you are going to love these Korean-inspired dumplings!
If you love kimchi as much as I do, these dumplings are a must-try!
While it looks like a lot of work, it's not! The filling is super quick to prepare, the dumplings are steamed for just 12 minutes, and the sauce consists of only 3 ingredients.
📘 What is Mandu
Mandu (만두) is a type of Korean dumpling. It consists of a thin piece of dough wrapped around a filling, usually prepared with some kind of meat.
Dumplings can be steamed, boiled, or pan-fried to make them crispy. Be aware this recipe is just an inspired version and not an authentic one, but it is nevertheless delicious!
🥟 How to Make Kimchi Dumplings
Here is what you will need to make kimchi dumplings:
- Tofu - Use medium or firm tofu. I personally went with medium tofu for a slightly softer texture.
- Vegan ground beef - Go with your favorite plant-based ground meat. Since meat substitutes are not heavily available everywhere, you can definitely replace it with more tofu. I tried both version, and while the one with vegan ground "meat" yielded a better texture, the tofu-only version was still delicious!
- Kimchi - Store-bought kimchi or homemade, just make sure you are using a vegan kimchi.
- Bean sprouts - For some crunchiness and more texture. If you don't have any on hand or don't have access to fresh bean sprouts, simply omit.
- Garlic and green onions - Use fresh garlic for the best flavor.
- Chili flakes - Chili flakes bring more heat, feel free to omit if you don't want these dumplings spicy.
- Sesame oil - For a subtle toasted and nutty flavor. Use toasted sesame oil.
- Soy sauce - For saltiness and umami. I am also adding a drizzle of dark soy sauce to darken a little bit the filling.
- Sugar - To balance with the saltiness and the spiciness of the kimchi.
- Gyoza wrappers - I used the "Happy Belly" brand, and while the belly was actually very happy, you can use any brand of wrappers. Make sure to check the ingredients though, as some may contain eggs.
It starts with the filling that requires about 10 minutes to prepare.
- Sauté the garlic for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tofu and vegan ground meat and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- In the meantime, squeeze the kimchi to remove its moisture and finely chop it.
- Blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain, and minced it.
- Next, add the kimchi, chopped bean sprouts, and green onions to the skillet.
- Season with soy sauce, coconut sugar, toasted sesame oil, and chili flakes.
- Let the filling cool for a few minutes before using.
Tip: I recommend tasting the filling and adjusting the seasonings to your taste. It should be salty, but not overly salty as the sauce will also bring extra saltiness.
Now comes the fun part, the wrapping!
Place about one tablespoon of the filling in the center of a wrapper. Next, slightly wet the edges of the wrapper using your finger and close the wrapper around the filling.
If you want to see how to wrap dumplings, I highly recommend checking this quick video on how to wrap dumplings.
Wrapping the dumplings requires some practice, but don't worry if the shape or folding is not perfect!
To cook the dumplings, you have two different options:
- Pan-fry: Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the dumplings to the skillet and shallow-fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the bottoms of the dumplings are golden brown. Next, pour in about ½ cup of water into the skillet and immediately cover with the lid. Cook for 7-8 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until no water remains.
- Steam: Place the dumplings on a sheet of parchment paper, in a bamboo steamer, and steam for about 12 minutes.
Personally, I prefer the steaming method, it's easier and healthier. The only downside is that it doesn't yield a crispy bottom.
While you could serve these dumplings with a simple soy dipping sauce, it gets even better with a kimchi sauce (and brings even more kimchi flavor!).
You know the brine that comes with kimchi, wouldn't it be a waste to trash it? Let's use it to make a delicious sauce to coat the dumplings!
To make the sauce, combine kimchi juice with soy sauce and sugar. Pour the sauce into a skillet and heat it for 1 minute over medium heat. Add the steamed dumplings and cook for another 2-3 minutes, pouring some of the sauce over the dumplings.
Alternatively, you can simply use the kimchi sauce as a dipping sauce!
How to serve these dumplings?
If you are making the kimchi sauce, serve these as is! If not, you can serve the dumplings with a simple soy dipping sauce, or add them to soups!
How long do these dumplings keep?
Dumpling are best served immediately, but will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Reheat with the sauce in a covered skillet or saucepan over medium heat. You can also reheat the dumplings in a bamboo steamer basket for 3-5 minutes.
Can I freeze dumplings?
Yes, I recommend freezing the dumplings uncooked. Store the dumplings in a container lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag.
To cook frozen dumplings, simply place the frozen dumplings in a bamboo steamer lined with parchment paper and steam for 10-12 minutes.
I hope you are going to love these kimchi dumplings! It tastes as good, if not better than takeout! Packed with kimchi flavor, spicy, salty, and so juicy!
🥬 More Kimchi Recipes
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Vegan Kimchi Dumplings (Mandu)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 7 ounces medium or firm tofu scrambled
- ½ cup vegan ground "beef" or omit and double the amount of tofu
- ¾ cup vegan kimchi
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 3 tablespoon chopped green onions
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon dark soy sauce optional, for color
- ¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean chili powder)
- 20 round gyoza wrappers
- ¾ cup of the kimchi juice (brine)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 and ½ tablespoon sugar
- Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- Next, add the scrambled tofu and vegan ground meat, and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- In the meantime, squeeze the kimchi between your hands over a bowl to remove excess moisture. Keep the juice. Cut the drained kimchi into ¼-inch chunks.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the bean sprouts and boil for about 2 minutes. Drain the bean sprouts well and cut them into ¼-inch pieces.
- Add the chopped kimchi and bean sprouts to the skillet as well as the coconut sugar, soy sauce, dark soy sauce if using, toasted sesame oil, and gochugaru. Stir to combine and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Taste and adjust the saltiness and sweetness to taste.
- Place a round of wrapper on a cutting board or working surface. Dip your finger in water and slightly wet the edges (about 1-inch) of the wrapper. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling and make pleats to seal. Make sure to leave as little air as possible inside the wrapper. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers and keep the dumplings covered with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying.
- Find a saucepan or pot that can fit under your bamboo steamer basket. Add 2 cups of water to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
- In the meantime, line the inside of the bamboo basket with parchment paper. Arrange the dumplings in a single layer in the bamboo steamer basket. Close with the lid.
- Once water is boiling, place the bamboo steamer basket on top of the saucepan and steam the dumplings for about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool 3-5 minutes.
- To a skillet, add the kimchi juice (the juice you got from the kimchi you drained plus some of the juice from the kimchi jar), soy sauce, and coconut sugar. Heat over medium heat for 1 minute.
- Add the kimchi dumplings to the skillet and let simmer for 2-3 minutes, pouring some of the sauce over the dumplings. Serve immediately.