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Getting frozen dumplings/gyoza/mandoo crispy?

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Hi everyone,

I just bought a few bags of mandoo (Korean dumplings, like gyoza with a slightly different filling). I followed the pan-frying instructions, which said to first brown them in oil, then pour water "all around" them (I probably covered about 2/3 of the way up the dumplings), cover the pan, and let them cook in the water until it evaporates. According to the bag, the water stage should only take one minute, but I waited about five, hoping they would get crispy or at least somewhat firm. They came out mushy and soggy and just fell apart. Should I have cooked them longer after the water evaporated? Should I use less water? How can I get them nice and crispy next time?

Thanks!

Oh yeah, and they were completely frozen when I threw them into the pan.

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  1. A couple things -
    Frozen mandu should be either steamed or thawed before pan frying.
    Fry in oil until the bottom is a light golden brown, then add one to four tablespoons of water (depends on the size of your pan, but the water should not cover more than the very bottom of the mandu), and cover immediately. After one minute or so, remove the cover and continue frying about another thirty seconds to one minute. The bottom should be crisp while the top should be firm/chewy.

    1. Sounds like too much water. When I cook frozen dumplings, I heat some oil in a skillet, and add the dumplings, flat side down. Brown them for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat (don't move them). Then add about 1/4 cup of water, cover and turn the heat down to medium/medium-low and cook until the water has evaporated. Then uncover and cook another minute or so.

      7 Replies
      1. re: boogiebaby

        Thanks! Are yours frozen when you brown them, or do you thaw them first?

        1. re: nakedzombieforce

          You don't thaw them, cook from frozen. You should be fine following boogiebaby's instruction.

          1. re: nakedzombieforce

            Brown them from frozen and the water should barely cover the bottom of the pan.

            1. re: nakedzombieforce

              You should not thaw frozen dumplings prior to cooking. Really, I just think you used way too much water.

            2. re: boogiebaby

              another tip: this is best done in a non stick pan. and once water is evaporated, uncover and peek under a dumpling to see if it's browned and crispy to your liking.

              1. re: boogiebaby

                I do exactly what boogiebaby does..
                Make sure they are good and brown before adding the water. I find when I'm rushing and don't wait long enough before adding the water mine end up a little mushy. I think in your case you added too much water.

                1. re: boogiebaby

                  just tried boogiebaby's instructions on some frozen homade dumplings--perfect! thank you!

                2. LoL.
                  All those recs to cook from frozen. Having been involved in making mandu for both restaurant and home use for over twenty years, generally the only time I cook from frozen is when adding to soup.
                  If I am going to pan or deep fry, I always steam them prior to frying.
                  The few times I cooked from frozen were never as good.
                  Maybe commercial made and frozen are different.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: hannaone

                    Haha, I was just wondering if I could do it from frozen because I don't have a lot of time to cook (if I had a free day I could probably experiment), and whether that was the problem. As long as they are not drippy-wet like when I made them before, I wouldn't mind inferior dumplings made from frozen. But thanks for your input!!

                    1. re: hannaone

                      I cook both the store-bought and my homemade mandu from frozen...but my homemade ones are steamed first, before I freeze them. I do a similar method as everyone else - fry them in a bit of oil, add a few tbls of water, cover, then uncover and boil off/fry if they are not golden to my satisfaction :-)

                      Now I'm hungry for mandu!

                    2. Remember that the water's purpose is to make STEAM to finish cooking the dumplings, not to boil them. A quarter cup of water is enough...sometimes, it's too much.