Korean Dumplings and Persimmon Drink Recipes by Jimin Han

Jimin Han, author of The Apology, shares some of her family recipes for you to cook for your next book club or gathering.

Korean Dumplings, Two Kinds

Turkey or Pork Dumplings (Gogi Mandu)

Serves 8


1 package of dumpling wrappers (14 ounces), any shape

8 ounces of ground turkey or ground pork

2 teaspoons of minced garlic

½ teaspoon of minced ginger

1 cup of finely chopped Vidalia or sweet onion

½ cup of finely chopped scallion, green and white parts

½ cup of finely chopped scallion, green and white parts

1 cup of green cabbage

½ block of firm tofu (7 ounces of a 14-ounce block)

1 ½ teaspoons of salt*

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sesame oil 2 whole eggs

  • Bring 6 cups of water in a pot to a boil. 
  • While waiting for the water to boil, cut the cabbage into quarters. Then place one quarter of the cabbage into boiling water and let the cabbage wilt, approx. 5 minutes.
  • Drain and set aside to cool. Then squeeze all the liquid from the cabbage. Finely chop and add to a large bowl.
  • Finely chop onions and scallions and add to the bowl.
  • Squeeze tofu to drain any liquid from it. Add to the bowl.
  • Add ground turkey or pork to the bowl. 
  • Add salt, sesame oil, black pepper, garlic, ginger, and one egg to the bowl.
  •  Mix all together until combined.
  •  Take the second egg and separate the egg white from the yolk. Then place the egg white into a small bowl.
  • Line a large plate or tray with parchment paper or paper towel.
  • Spoon a small portion of the mixed ingredients in the bowl into the middle of a dumpling wrapper. Then use your finger to wet the edge of half the dumpling wrapper with egg white. Bring the edges together, pinching them firmly. Feel free to pleat or keep it simple. Then, place on plate or tray, keeping each dumpling separate from others.
  •  Repeat the step above until all the filling is used.
  •  Steam, pan fry, or boil the dumplings (see instructions below).
  • Serve with dipping sauce (recipe below).

Kimchi Vegetable Dumplings (Kimchi Mandu)

Follow the recipe above, except for the following:

  • Replace ground turkey or ground pork with:
  • 1 cup of finely chopped zucchini, ½ cup of finely chopped carrots, 1 cup of finely chopped cabbage kimchi (homemade or store-bought)
  • Omit garlic and ginger but double the amount of green cabbage.

How to cook dumplings:

To steam, add a small amount of water at the base of your steamer and bring to a boil. While you wait for the water to heat, line your steamer basket with cabbage leaves or parchment paper to prevent dumplings from sticking to the basket. Add dumplings, spaced apart, cover, and let cook through, approx. 6-7 minutes.

To pan fry, heat a pan to medium heat with 2 tablespoons of a neutral oil. Add dumplings in a single layer until brown, 2-3 minutes, and then turn to cook the other side for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cover for 2-3 minutes until cooked through. 

To boil, bring 6 cups of water or more to a boil, depending on the size of your pot. If you want to boil more dumplings in a single batch, use a larger pot. Once the water is boiling, place dumplings in the water. Don’t cover the pot. When the dumplings float to the surface, check to see if they’re cooked through, approx. 5-6 minutes.

Dipping Sauce:

Combine ½ cup of soy sauce, ½ cup of rice vinegar, and1 tablespoon of sesame oil.


Sujeonggwa (Cinnamon Ginger Persimmon Drink)

Serves 8

The idea for this hot or cold drink is to prepare the ginger and cinnamon liquids separately to get the freshest taste. Sugar and persimmon are added after you combine them.


6 cups of water

20 grams of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into thin slices

10 grams of cinnamon sticks 

¼ cup brown sugar (decrease if you prefer it to be less sweet)

1 whole dried persimmon or 5-6 already-sliced pieces of dried persimmon

½ tablespoon of pine nuts

  • Pour 3 cups of water into a pot, add ginger, bring to a boil, and let simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • While the water is boiling, rinse cinnamon sticks under running water and in another pot, add 3 cups of water and cinnamon sticks, bring to a boil, and let simmer covered for 10 minutes.
  • Strain both liquids into another pot and toss out solid pieces of ginger and cinnamon.
  • Add sugar and mix thoroughly.
  • Bring the pot to a boil and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • Add the dried persimmon and let it soak in the liquid for an hour. Remove afterwards.
  • Add a few pine nuts to each glass or mug. Serve as a hot tea or chill for several hours and serve cold.

Read the novel that inspired the recipes: