Lunar New Year is celebrated throughout Asia, notably China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Southeast Asia countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. Even though I know that Koreans celebrate Lunar New Year, I don’t really know much about the traditions. I invited my friend Hyosun at Eating and Living back to share a Korean mandu recipe with us, as well as educate us about Korean Lunar New Year. (Previously, Hyosun shared her delicious bulgogi recipe with us.) Please welcome Eating and Living and enjoy her kimchi mandu!
Hi! I’m Hyosun from Eating and Living, the Korean home cooking blog. I am delighted to be back here at Rasa Malaysia, especially when Bee is featuring a series of special recipes for the Lunar New Year’s celebration. This time, Bee asked if I could share a mandu (Korean dumplings) recipe, which Koreans enjoy as part of the New Year’s festivities. Celebrated for three days, the Lunar New Year (Seollal) is the most significant traditional holiday in Korea. It is a time for families to gather and pay respect to ancestors, through an ancestral rite (charae), and enjoy traditional food and games. Young people also honor their elders, by wishing them a prosperous and healthy New Year, with a deep bow (sebae) and receive gifts (usually money) in return. Growing up, this was one my favorite activities of New Year’s day. We always wore a new traditional dress (hanbok) and visited the elders of relatives and family friends to perform sebae. I remember I was a happy little kid with lots of money in my special little pouch made for the occasion.
Food, of course, is a big part of the New Year celebration in Korea. As is the case in many cultures, it’s a tradition to gather around the table to make the dumplings in preparation of the New Year’s feast. There are many variations of Korean dumplings. Here, I decided to share a dumpling recipe made with kimchi. What can be more Korean than a dish made with kimchi? Kimchi mandu is especially popular for making manduguk (dumpling soup) or tteok-manduguk (a variation of rice cake soup, tteokguk, with dumplings), which is a must-eat New Year’s dish. With its pungent flavor and crunchy texture, the kimchi version adds a nice contrast to the mildly flavored broth and soft rice cake slices. I steamed the dumplings for this post, but you can cook them your favorite way. I hope you make some Korean dumplings as part of your lunar New Year celebration! Happy New Year!