Just about every culture has a dumpling of some sort, and for Koreans, it's mandoo, delicious meat-filled, half-moon shaped dumplings.
Every New Year's Day, we eat mandoo. They are are usually either boiled in soup or fried. They are easy to make and we have a tradition in our house whereby my mom, siblings, and I "compete" to see who can make the prettiest mandoo. Legend has it that if you made pretty mandoo, your children will be pretty, too.
It starts with filling which is usually a combination of ground pork, tofu, green onions, and kimchi. In my family we also add garlic and cooked bean sprouts. The wet ingredients must be squeezed absolutely dry or the mandoo will fall apart when boiled. A food processor makes quick work of getting the ingredients chopped finely and blended. (My sister working the Cuisinart.)
Place about a teaspoon into the center of a mandoo pi (wrapper) and seal by moistening edges with an egg wash then pinching the edges together. Seal tightly to ensure the filling doesn't leak out of the dumplings.
Simmer the mandoo gently in a pork-beef-chicken broth (yes, all three) until they float and then maybe a minute more. Reserve some chicken meat from the broth to garnish the soup later. You can cook about a dozen at one time.
Serve in bowls with the broth (a little or a lot, we serve "not too much" soup). Garnish with strips of kim (roasted seaweed), cilantro leaves, shredded chicken, and strips of egg omelette (and omelette which has been cut into a thin chiffonade). Serve with ko chu jung (hot red pepper) sauce on the side.
Happy New Year!