My friend Ann Taylor Pittman, the executive food editor of Cooking Light magazine, recently visited Korea for the first time. Reading her name alone, you wouldn’t guess that she’s half Korean, but she is. Ann took the epic journey with her brother, meeting up with relatives she barely knew, connecting with food bloggers and Korean culinary liaisons, and venturing to markets, restaurants, and bars. She recounted her emotional journey in the magazine’s 25th anniversary issue that came out in November.
I was interested in Ann’s experience ever since she told me about her plans in 2011. Her poignant story made me tear up. The recipes she presented made me famished. This unusual mandu (the generic Korean term for dumpling) was at the top of my list of recipes to try. The concept is brilliant and the look is adorable.
As with most Korean dumplings, tofu is involved, so are garlic and green onion. A little pork goes a long way to enriching the filling; use chicken thigh if you’re not porky. The shiitake mushroom contributes extra umami.