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Vegan Kimchi Dumplings (Homemade Kimchi Mandu)

Vegan Kimchi Dumplings, a variation of mandu (Korean dumplings) are filled with homemade vegan kimchi and pan-fried to perfection. It’s enjoyed by both kimchi & non-kimchi lovers alike and has become a popular option at our popups!

If you are into kimchi and dumplings, you will LOVE this duo together. If you don’t like kimchi, I want you to find a mild kimchi and turn them into pan-fried dumplings because it may change your mind forever. I grew up eating funky, fermented things so kimchi is definitely a yes for me. The boyfriend, on the other hand isn’t a huge fan of kimchi but he loves this dumplings!! My business partner, Hao and I tried this kimchi dumplings, known as Korean mandu at a food-stall in Asian grocery store and we both fell in love with it. We made a batch for our pop-up and it was an instant hit so now it’s something we do pretty often and I am happy to share the recipe and few tips on making Vegan Kimchi Dumplings (Homemade Kimchi Mandu) at home.



Mandu is a a Korean-style dumplings with a variety of fillings and can be prepared by steaming, boiling, or pan-frying. The version I am sharing today uses homemade vegan kimchi, little napa cabbage, sweet potato noodles, and corn starch. You can definitely tofu (or meat like ground pork or chicken) but since this is a kimchi dumpling, you want kimchi to shine so make sure to use your favorite kimchi in this recipe.


I usually get kimchi from an Asian grocery but during this lock down, I made my very 1st batch of kimchi, a vegan kind and I am pretty pleased with it. Kimchi is prepared by lacto-fermentation (the same process that makes sauerkraut and dill pickles) using vegetables such as napa cabbage, carrots, green onions, radish, Korean chili pepper flakes (gochugaru), garlic, ginger, shrimp paste, fish sauce, rice flour, and salt. Kimchi is loaded with probiotics – good bacteria for our health and wellness so it’s a great ingredient to use regularly with rice, as a side dish, with eggs, fold it in fried rice, and make savory pancakes with kimchi.

There are different varieties of kimchi, depending on the season/time of the year, types of vegetables used, fermentation time and so on.

I loosely followed the recipe from The Kitchn & Maangchi with some adaptations:

  • I added an apple for sweetness, although traditionally Asian pears are used.

  • Fermented salted fish/shrimp and fish sauce adds umami to kimchi but for vegetarian/vegan option, you can omit it. Some recipes I came across used vegan fish sauce, soy sauce, and kelp powder.

  • Rice porridge – made with rice flour or glutinous rice flour adds body to the kimchi and also encourages the growth of right bacteria for fermentation. I have heard that cooked white rice can also be used to make the porridge and mixed in with spice paste (chilies, ginger garlic etc).

Besides kimchi, you will need few other ingredients to make Vegan Kimchi Dumplings (Homemade Kimchi Mandu) – small amount of napa cabbage (adds a little crunch and also if your kimchi is too strong for your liking, it helps mellow it out), noodles (sweet potato starch noodles, glass noodles, or even rice noodles) for some texture/body in dumplings, & corn starch to help absorb excess liquid.


Unlike meat-based dumplings, kimchi dumplings are little more watery (really important to drain excess liquid), therefore use a slightly thicker wrapper (homemade or storebought). A thin skin wanton wrapper is probably not the best choice. Pick a wrapper that is medium thickness so it’s not super doughy.


Vegan Kimchi Dumplings (Homemade Kimchi Mandu) can be wrapped in any shape you like (as long as it’s properly sealed) but crescent shape or half-moon shape with ends joined together are more popular. Once wrapped, you can steam or pan-fry the dumplings and enjoy them immediately. Otherwise, you can line wrapped (uncooked) dumplings on a baking sheet and stick them in the freezer until frozen then store them in a ziplock bag. There is absolutely nothing more joyful than having a freezer full of dumplings!



Vegan Kimchi Dumplings (Homemade Kimchi Mandu) can be steamed or pan-fried and if you ask me, I love them pan-fried with an extra drizzle of chili oil on top.



Vegan Kimchi Dumplings (Homemade Kimchi Mandu)


1 lb vegan kimchi (use your favorite store-bought kimchi or homemade version)
4 oz chopped Napa cabbage
6 oz cooked sweet potato starch noodles (follow package direction to cook noodles)
1 large heaping tablespoon of corn starch
salt (only if needed) and extra chili pepper (gochugaru), if you want more spicy
45-50 dumpling wrapper


  1. Drain liquid from kimchi and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Roughly chop kimchi and place it in a medium bowl. Add chopped Napa cabbage to the bowl.

  2. Use a scissor to cut cooked noodles into 1/4 inch sizes then combine with kimchi and cabbage. Taste the mix and add any salt and additional chili pepper if necessary.

  3. Use corn starch to mix everything and set the filling aside.

  4. Place 1-1.5 heaping teaspoonful of the filling on a wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water seal tightly (pushing the air out with your fingers) into a half-moon shape. Then, bring the two ends together, apply water to one end and press tightly to create a round shape. Repeat this process until all the filling/wrappers are used.

  5. Kimchi mandu can be steamed for about 10-12 minutes in a steamer (make sure to oil or line the steamer basket with cabbage to prevent it from sticking) or, you can pan fry them.

  6. For pan-frying, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of neutral oil on a nonstick pan. Arrange dumplings on a single layer then fry until the bottom is light-golden brown then add 1/4-1/2 cup water depending on the size of the pan and cover the pan with a lid. Let the steam cook dumplings until water evaporates for additional 5-7 minutes. Adjust the heat and add water if it dries out quickly. You want the bottom to be crispy and top to be soft and fully cooked.

  7. Enjoy it immediately with chili sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.

Here is a quick video tutorial on how I make my chili oil. You can use this chili oil as a base and build on more flavors with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, scallions, ginger, garlic etc.


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I hope you will give Vegan Kimchi Dumplings a try at home..or get inspired to make your own kimchi at home. If you are into dumplings, you will enjoy these:

Dixya Bhattarai

Dixya Bhattarai

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