Pyeonsu (편수) are a kind of mandu (만두, dumpling) made with square wrappers and filled with either cucumber or ae-hobak (애호박, summer squash). The version with cucumber is actually one of my favorite dumplings but we got a little behind and decided to use the hobak we found this fall and then we got even busier… so we’re posting a traditionally summer recipe in December! Sorry, guys! Sonja says this one is for our Australian readers. ^.~
Pyeonsu is a royal cuisine recipe so there are a lot of steps, but I promise it’s worth it—it’s a beautiful and delicious dumpling!
Our friend Patrick made a video of the process, which you can watch here (all images in this post are screenshots from the video):
Note: All cup measures are Korean cup sizes: 200ml (vs. American cup sizes which are 240ml)
for the wrappers:
2 c flour
⅔ c water*
1 tsp salt
For the filling:
1 large ae-hobak (summer squash) + a pinch of salt to cure
150g lean ground beef
2 handful mung bean sprouts
1 large dried pyogo (shiitake) mushroom, soaked overnight
1 small handful pine nuts
Beef marinade (a basic bulgogi marinade):
1 tbsp yangjo ganjang (commercial soy sauce)
½ tbsp sugar
1 tbsp minced scallion
1 tsp garlic
A few drizzles of sesame oil
A pinch of black pepper
A pinch of ground roasted sesame seed
To make the wrappers:
1. Mix the salt and water then gradually add to the flour while mixing. Start with ½ cup and add more as needed, depending on how dry your flour is. It should just stick together—it shouldn’t be easy to knead.
2. Mix until it forms a ball, place into a plastic bag and let it rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Knead until the texture is smooth and form into a ball again and let it rest for another 20 minutes at room temperatures.
To prepare the filling:
1. Soak your dried mushroom in cold water overnight. You can also soak it in hot water an hour ahead of time. Pat dry and slice thinly.
2. Pat the ground beef with a paper towel. remove blood and place into a mixing bowl with the mushrooms and beef marinade ingredients. Mix and set aside for at least 20 minutes.
3. Cut the ae-hobak into 6cm pieces and cut around the center, turning the vegetable as if you were peeling the skin plus a good layer of flesh until you reach the soft core. Keep this outer layer and discard the soft center with seeds. Lay the outer layer flat and julienne. Sprinkle with salt and set aside to cure for 20 minutes.
4. While the beef is marinating and the hobak is curing, blanch the mung bean sprouts, drain and squeeze out any excess moisture. Chop roughly.
5. Sautée the beef and mushroom mixture. Spread out on a plate to cool and set aside.
6. Squeeze out excess moisture from the hobak and sautée lightly in vegetable oil. Set aside to cool.
7. It’s time to put everything together! Mix the beef and mushroom, mung bean sprouts and sautéed hobak together. Taste and salt if needed.
Time to get back to those wrappers:
1. Take your dough out again and knead briefly into a flatter, slightly more oblong shape. Cut into four pieces and then roll each of the pieces into a 3cm thick rope of dough.
2. Slice each roll into 1cm thick pieces. It’s best to slice one roll at a time so they don’t dry up—cover the remaining rolls in plastic wrap while you make your wrappers.
3. One trick to prep your dough for rolling: sprinkle a little flour over your pieces and stack a couple of them together, squishing them into round discs.
4. Sprinkle more flour onto your cutting board and roll out each disc so it’s thin and pliable without breaking or becoming transparent (about 1mm or so). Cut off the edges to make a square.
5. Place a heaping spoonful into the center of your square wrapper, leaving just a little room at the edge—too little and your mandu will be a sad little dumpling! Place a pine nut in the middle, pull in the corners towards the center and pinch tightly along the edges to seal.
Okay, almost there…
1. Line your steamer basket with a damp cloth and place your mandu inside when the water comes to a hard boil. Cover tightly and steam until the wrapper turns shiny and glossy.
2. Meanwhile, keep on making your mandu! This works well as an assembly line: Get one person cutting and squishing discs of dough, another person rolling them out, a third cutting them into squares, and a fourth filling them up. The more quickly you can get these done, the less likely it is your dough will dry out. Plus, it’s more fun.
Serve with a side of dipping soy sauce—try using the pickling soy sauce from jangajji (장아찌, soy sauce pickles). Enjoy!