Mandu are Chinese dumplings made from flour, meat, and vegetables chopped in very small pieces. Slightly chopped meat, and vegetables are mixed together, called so (소) in Korean, and then a handful of so is wrapped by a piece of slice dough which prevents so from spreading out. These small balls are cooked in various ways. They can be grilled, fried, boiled, or even steamed, so that each of them has different name. These Mandu are usually served with dipping soy sauce mixed with vinegar.
Originally, mandu are from China. They were introduced in Korea in the middle of Chosun dynasty, and have become to have their own recipe in Korea. Chinese call tteok which does not contain so mandu, and call flour balls stuffed with so gyoza. While mandu (gyoza in Chinese) are served in usual days in China, they are traditionally made only in the early winter or in a big party in Korea (Nowadays, they are easily seen in the every season, every day in Korea).
Meat for so can be various. Pork is the most common meat for mandu, and beef, chicken, or pheasant also can be ingredients of mandu. Vegetables contained in so are usually carrots, cucumbers, onions, and mug-bean sprouts. Sometimes kimchi is used for so. Other additional ingredients are tofu, or chopped noodle made from sweat potatoes.
The standards categorizing mandu are various. First, mandu are categorized depending on their ingredients. If kimchi is used for the main material for so, they are called kimchi mandu. If pheasant is used as the main material of mandu, they are called kwong mandu (꿩만두) (kwong is a Korean word meaning pheasant). When there are no special ingredients rather than pork or beef, they get the name gogi mandu (고기만두) ( gogi is a Korean word meaning meat). Second, mandu are sorted under the way they are cooked. If they are grilled or fried, they are called gunmandu (군만두). If they are boiled, they would be mulmandu (물만두) which means water mandu, and steamed mandu are called jjinmandu (찐만두). Third, mandu are categorized depending on their shapes such as Seognyu mandu (석류만두), mimandu (민만두), byeongsi (병시), and round-shaped mandu. Seognyu mandu look like pomegranate, and so they are named like that way (Seognyu is a Korean word for pomegranate). Mimandu has unique shaped dough which is wrinkled like a sea slug, and byeongsi look like a spoon.
There are various kinds of dishes made with mandu. Manduguk is the most common dish made with mandu in Korea. Manduguk is a soup which is boiled with several mandu, and other ingredients like sliced beef, mushroom, gim(laver) are added. Sometimes tteok is also used for manduguk. This soup is usually served in the winter.