Some Korean food and December loves

To celebrate Pat’s birthday last week, we made a Korean pot luck dinner. We were stuffed silly with lots of food to say the least. Good thing none of us were too familiar with Korean desserts or we’d have a food coma. I’m still thinking of that kimchi jjigae. Reb and I made mandu and pajeon (Korean dumplings and pancakes).

2 cups mince pork
1 cup chopped boo chu (Asian chives)
1 cup chopped green onions
10 Shiitake mushrooms
150g silken tofu, mashed and drained
3 cloves garlic, grated
sesame oil
vegetable oil
salt and pepper
soy sauce
mandu/gyoza skins

Loosely adapted from Maangchi.

  1. Place the mince pork into a mixing bowl with some salt and ground pepper to taste. Add in a 1 tbs of sesame oil. Mix it by hand and set aside.
  2. Wash the chives and spring onion well and dry them thoroughly with a paper towel or cloth. Chop them up to make 1 cup each. Add a little oil and mix it together (tip: the oil will coat vegetable to stop the liquid from coming out). Place the chopped vegetables into the mixing bowl with the pork.
  3. Rinse your shiitake mushrooms if you’re using fresh ones or soak them 30 minutes prior if you’re using dried shiitake. Dried shiitake packs more flavour, so you’d want to use less. Dice them, not too finely and add it into the mixing bowl.
  4. Squeeze the tofu in a cheese cloth to drain off excess liquid. Add some salt and add it into the mixing bowl.
  5. Grate the garlic and add it into mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 tsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp of sugar and tsp of sesame oil. When the sugar dissolves, add it into the mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix it by hand.

Now the filling is ready to be wrapped. Use cold water to help seal the sides of the mandu or gyoza skins. Pleat the edges as you go along.

  1. Heat up a non-stick pan. Turn the heat down before you add a little sesame oil to it as sesame oil burns fast. Add your mandu into the pan and try to keep it in a row like how you’d pan-fry gyozas. Let it sit without moving it in the pan for a minute or two on medium heat. Add more oil if it gets dry.
  2. Check for browning at the bottom of the mandu. If it’s a nice light gold, turn the heat down low and add some water to the pan. Cover immediately and let it steam. The water level should cover the base but not too much. This process makes for a crunchy bottom and steamed top.
  3. When all the water is evaporated, transfer them unto a plate, keeping it in rows, with the brown sides up.
  4. Repeat this process for the rest of the mandu. Serve hot with dark vinegar and julienned ginger if you prefer.
    *Note: I took three tries to get the right coloration on the pan-fried mandu. See here.

2 eggs
1 cup green onion
1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted (you can also use rice flour for a softer texture)
(If you have extra mandu fillings, add it into this to make a meat pajeon)

Yangnyum dipping sauce:
1 tbs dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbs chopped green onions
2 tbs toasted sesame oil
1 tbs ground, toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup soy sauce

To cook the pajeon, do it as you would an omelette or pancake. Serve the pajeon with the yangnyum dipping sauce.

To divert away from food, I made a list of things I’ve been enjoying and drooling over. Fourteen items for the past fourteen days in December thus far.

1. Handmade geometric earrings (so pretty, but I would have to pierce my ears again for this) by Weekday Carnival’s RK Shop
2. Gold-dipped black clay earrings by A Merry Mishap
3. Geometric polyhedron wooden candlestick stands by Urban Analogue
4. Michael Lax Copco enamelware kettle with wooden handle from Harmonie Park
5. Compass bag taslan in yellow by Jasmin Shokrian from Totokaelo
6. Bowls by Mushimegane Books
7. MacAlister wedge boots by J.Crew
8. Made to order Lysligne Drop necklace with a single freshwater pearl by Le Grenier in Japan
9. Paper maché bowl with gold leafed interior by Up in the Air Somewhere
10. More bowls from Mushimegane Books because they’re lovely
11. Mineral and semi-precious stone paintings by Carly Waito
12. Montgomery crop sweater in antelope by Rag & Bone from La Garçonne
13. Volume 2 of Kinfolk for small gatherings
14. Teak lounge chair by Kai Kristiansen



  1. mmm! I’ve never made my own mandu filling before, but I love eating mandu!
    And I’ve never made pancake with egg before! I am definitely going to try it! I was told to eat more eggs, this will be a good way to make me get more in my diet!

    • rachelchew

      It was the first time I ate mandu, let alone make it. Never thought about adding tofu into my dumplings before this.
      Strangely, I always have eggs in my pancakes! Hope the baby is growing well! Exciting times! :)

  2. It was the loveliest Korean meal ever – every mandu was bursting with love :) Thanks so much! <3

  3. one day when we’re back, can we come over and you cook for us?? the boys will have fun shooting pics while i’ll eat!! =p

  4. I had bookmarked your blog a while ago because I fell in love with the bokeh in your photos and then I was just going through my ridiculously long list of bookmarks and happily stumbled on yours again. I love your photos, they’re inspiring and make me wanna whip out my camera and shoot shoot shoot. I also lurrve pajeon, anything resembling omelettes always gets me!

    • rachelchew

      Hi, Jane ! Thanks :)
      Your photos have great light and I love how simple you present your baked goodies. Now I have one more food blog to stalk!

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