A Year to Learn Korean Cooking: Mandu Jeongol

Today let’s learn about cooking mandu jeongol (만두 전골) at home! Mandu jeongol is a delicious Korean hot pot consisting of steamed dumplings (mandu 만두), various vegetables, meat, and broth all cooked together in a pot. This delightful hot pot is super easy to assemble and is a popular comfort food in Korea.

About the South of Seoul ‘A Year to Learn Korean Cooking’ Series

If you are familiar with the series, skip ahead to learn more about jeongols. Many of us live in South Korea for only a year. The time flies past faster than we can imagine. At South of Seoul, we decided to create a simple series that will offer 2-4 dishes to learn each month so that when you leave South Korea you have a slew of new dishes you feel comfortable making anywhere.

This series is a collaboration with Kimchi Rednecks. In 2020, they created the first blog in this series Online Resources for Learning to Cook Korean Food. These two love to have adventures in the kitchen and share the results with their community. Be sure to follow KimchiRednecks on YouTube for other great videos about living life in South Korea.

What is a Jeongol 전골?

Jeongol (전골), a communal hot pot, typically contains a variety of main dish ingredients. The dish generally cooks at the table where it is also served. The main difference between a stew/jjigae (찌개) and jeongol is that the jjigae usually has one main ingredient, whereas jeongol shares the pot with many other ingredients. Some of the components of a jeongol may include vegetables, meat, seafood, rice cakes, and noodles simmered in a flavorful broth.

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Historically, jeongol was considered a dish for the upper class and royal court, and jjigae was the dish of the common people. Also of note, jeongols are typically cooked in a jeongol naembi (전골냄비), which is a wide, shallow pot.

There are many types of jeongols, including some vegetarian options. It is a very customizable dish. Therefore, even though they vary widely in terms of ingredients, seasonings, and cooking methods, jeongols have delicious, warm, and hearty flavors.

About Mandu Jeongol 만두 전골

Mandu jeongol 만두 전골 is a delicious hot pot that features mandu and other ingredients like fresh vegetables, meat, and a broth all cooked together. It is a quick dish to assemble and serve to family and friends. For this particular jeongol, you must have mandu since they are the dish’s star. However, any frozen Korean dumplings will do if you do not want to make your own mandu.

Mandu jeongol is prepared similarly to budae jjigae. However, unlike making budae jjigae, you will not use Spam, ramen noodles, or sausages. This is a much more fresh (and healthy) dish since you will use fresh vegetables like mushrooms, cabbage, zucchini, carrot, green onions, and others.

Making mandu jeongol can also be a great way to clean out your fridge since it is customizable. So if you have a lot of fresh vegetables, mandu, tofu, meat, or whatever else you need to use up, you can quickly assemble this hot pot and enjoy a hearty meal.

Our First Experience With Mandu Jeongol

Chuck and I recall having our first experience with mandu jeongol at a restaurant in Seoul with a friend. Jaha Son Mandu, in Jongno-gu, Seoul. They had freshly made mandu, and the jeongol was so flavorful and delicious. Our friend even purchased some of their frozen mandu for us to take home.

Our video listed below is our first time making it at home. My biggest challenge with making mandu jeongol is overfilling my pot. However, I have learned not to put too much in the pot over the years.

Biggest Hurdle Making Mandu Jeongol

One of the biggest hurdles in making mandu jeongol is cooking ingredients to the right temperature. If you cook it at the wrong temperature, it can cause the dish to have an off taste and change the texture of the ingredients. For example, if the temperature is too high, the mandu may become tough and overcooked or turn to mush and fall apart.

Temperatures for Cooking Mandu Jeongol

Also, if the cooking temperature is too low, the broth may not get hot enough to cook all the ingredients, especially if you have added vegetables like carrots or zucchini. Additionally, the broth may lack flavor. We recommend bringing it to a boil over medium to medium-high heat. After it starts simmering, you should increase your heat to high for a hard boil. The dish is ready when your mandu is fully cooked, and the vegetables are softened.

Ingredient Choices

When choosing your ingredients, make sure the ingredients’ thickness and texture match up for the cooking time. Mandu can overcook and disintegrate into the broth if your cook time runs long. Likewise, if you are using tofu or rice cakes, they can also overcook. Therefore, when choosing ingredients, be mindful of how long they need to cook to achieve the best results.

For mandu in this jeongol, you can tell that they are fully cooked when they have a translucent wrapper. Also, the texture of properly cooked mandu should tender and a bit chewy. Overcooked mandu tends to be tough and rubbery. Whereas undercooked mandu can be raw and doughy.

For rice cakes in this jeongol, check the texture to make sure that it is tender and chewy. Additionally, the rice cake should be slightly opaque and depending on the rice cake, may puff up from filling with the broth. Fully cooked rice cakes should not have a crunchy center of be hard and chewy.

Finally, having the appropriate cut on your ingredients will ensure that everything will be ready simultaneously. We have found cutting your vegetables into bite size portions and making sure that they harder vegetables like carrots and zucchini are sliced thinly enough to cook quickly in the broth. This is a texture preference for most people. If you want your carrots and zucchini very soft, you can slice them ultra-thin. Otherwise, slice them to a

Three Recommended Mandu Jeongol Videos to Watch

We love everything about this dish! Who doesn’t want to eat yummy mandu with vegetables and other ingredients in a flavorful broth? Choose your ingredients and recipe and make this dish for your next get-together!

Korean Making Mandu Jeongol

Korean American Making Mandu Jeongol

Americans in Korea Making Mandu Jeongol

Let Us Know How It Turned Out

When you make mandu jeongol at home, be sure to leave a comment on this blog or our video. We would love to hear how your dish turned out. Also, we love to hear about your adventures and experiences cooking these dishes at home.

Follow Kimchi Rednecks

If you are looking for other dishes (Korean or otherwise) or reviews of restaurants, be sure to check out the KimchiRednecks channel or our social media accounts on Facebook or Instagram, where we often share what we are cooking or eating.

Join Pyeongtaek Food & Fun

If you live in the Pyeongtaek area, share your cooking experience with us in the Pyeongtaek Food & Fun Facebook group. 

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Read more in our Year to Learn Korean Cooking Series


1 thought on “A Year to Learn Korean Cooking: Mandu Jeongol”

  1. This is a great article about Mandu Jeongol, a popular Korean dish. It’s great to know that you can find it all across Seoul and that it’s typically inexpensive and easy to find. What are some of the best jeongols in your opinion?

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