Mandokuk is a Korean soup made from mandu (dumplings). You can make this soup with any kind of dumpling, including ready-made dumplings, and any savory soup including store-bought broth.
The most famous new Korean food is tteokguk (떡국, rice cake soup)! It is very common to add mandu (Korean dumplings), in which case the soup is called tteok-mandu-guk (or tteokmanduguk, 떡만두국). However, in the North (present-day North Korea), mandukok (or mandu guk, 만두국), made only with dumplings, is a New Year’s tradition.
Since the climate and land are not suitable for rice cultivation, this variation without rice cakes is common in the North. Mandokuk is the soup my husband grew up eating because his parents are originally from the North (before the division of Korea). They were among the millions who were separated from their families while fleeing to the South during the Korean War (1950-1953).
Mandukuk is a warm and comforting soup bowl that you can easily make at home!
I have already covered how to make tteok guk and tteok manduguk with meat broth. You can make Mandu guk in the same way using one of these recipes. In this updated Mandokuk post (originally published in January 2011), I’ll show you some other variations (or ideas) so you can easily make delicious dumpling soup at home.
You can make mandeok with any type of Korean dumpling, including store-bought ready-made dumplings. If you want to try making dumplings at home, try the kimchi mando or the classic mando without kimchi. Homemade dumplings are totally worth it! Keep it in the freezer. They will come in handy when you want to make a warm, comforting soup.
For convenience, you can also use store-bought dumplings to make this soup. They usually come frozen and will likely be precooked. You can simply add frozen dumplings to boiling broth to make soup.
Manduk soup base
As mentioned above, beef broth is classic for this type of soup. In Korean homes, it is also common to use beef bone broth, known as sagolguk (사골), sagultang (사골탕), or seolleungtang (설). I often make a big batch and freeze some for later use. It really makes a delicious soup base for many Korean soups such as mandu gok. You can also find commercially packed pre-cooked milky bone broth in Korean markets or online.
Sometimes I like to make this soup in a simple anchovy broth for a nice, clean taste. Or simply have store-bought chicken broth for a quick meal. Of course, you can use any of your favorite broth that you buy from the store.
For a vegetarian option, use vegetable dumplings with vegetable broth.
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Mandokuk (Korean dumpling soup)
the Maine plate
How to make Al-Jeddan – egg garnish (optional)
Beat the eggs. You can separate the egg if you like and whisk each part gently. Heat a small, lightly oiled nonstick skillet over medium heat and pour the egg mixture (or each egg portion if separated) in a thin layer, tilting the pan (similar to making a crepe). Cook each side until there is no visible egg liquid. (Do not brown the egg.)