Yaki Mandu (Korean Fried Won Tons) with Ponzu Dipping Sauce

Yaki Mandu with Ponzu Dipping Sauce

When I was growing up and we made these delicious meat-filled Korean dumplings, it always felt like a treat. My children also love these and when they were younger and used to have sleepovers, we'd have a 'Won Ton Making Party'. They loved it. I'd make the filling, the kids and their friends would wrap them and my husband would do the deep frying. Voila!

But the best part always was and is.. eating them. Break one open and dip it in the citrusy ponzu sauce and the flavors are unmatched. There's the light crispy crunch of the won ton first, followed by the steamy sesame-infused meat and veggie mixture, then rounded out by the citrus soy tang of the ponzu sauce. Wow! They are soooo good!

Yaki Mandu makes an excellent party appetizer or just a fun snack to have for Sunday afternoon football-watching. It's also great fun for your kids or friends, when they get to help you make them.

Yaki Mandu with Ponzu Dipping Sauce

Yaki Mandu (Korean Fried Won Tons) with Ponzu Dipping Sauce

Makes 25 - 30 won tons (figure on 3-4 won tons per person as an appetizer)

1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 pound ground sirloin
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 teaspoon ground Chinese five spice (you can find this in the spice aisle of your local market)
pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup minced napa cabbage (widely available in the fresh produce area of your local market)
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/4 cup minced green onion, about 2 stalks
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 package square won ton wrappers (the smaller ones, not the eggroll size, they will come in a 40 or 50 count and you need 30)(look for these in the refrigerated section of your local market, sometimes they are in the refrigerated area closest to the fresh produce)
4 cups vegetable or canola oil for deep frying

This time I used fresh garlic (farthest left) which is much milder
than regular garlic, but regular garlic works as well or better,
next is minced green onion, minced cilantro, and minced napa cabbage.
Note: I didn't care for this brand of won ton wrappers, they worked
but weren't as light and crispy as I'm used to.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat and add sesame oil. Next add ground sirloin and ground pork and saute until broken up and mixed together but not fully cooked. Next add Chinese five spice, salt, cabbage, cilantro, onion, and garlic. Mix and saute for a minute or two longer.

Add soy sauce and give it another mix. Remove from heat. Be careful not to overcook the meat as it will dry out when you deep fry the filled won tons.

Put the meat mixture in a bowl and move it to an area where you can assemble the won tons. It may look like you don't have enough meat mixture to fill the 25 - 30 won tons but a little goes a long way. You will use one small spoonful for each won ton. You will also need a small bowl of water for sealing the edges of the won tons.

Note: There's more filling mixture than what's depicted in this photo

Meanwhile, carefully heat the vegetable oil in a deep pan over medium heat. You will need to keep an eye on it to be sure it doesn't get too hot and start to burn. Reduce the heat if necessary. You can do this step later if you prefer. Just remember it will take several minutes to get the oil hot enough to deep fry.

Place one small spoonful of meat mixture in the middle of each won ton. Dip your fingers in the water and wet 2 edges of the won ton.

Next pick up the won ton by holding the center points together and while sealing the edges together, squeeze out the extra air. Lastly, fold in the 3 points and place on a plate until ready to deep fry.

When you have all your won tons filled and sealed, you're ready to deep fry. To test your oil to be sure it's hot enough, gently place a strip of an extra won ton wrapper into the oil. It should sizzle and float to the top, then begin to lightly brown. If it smokes or browns too quickly then burns, reduce the heat.

Line a plate with paper towels to place the fried won tons on when removed from oil. Carefully and gently place filled won tons in the hot oil one at a time and do not overfill the pan. Allow them to cook until lightly browned, turning them gently as you go to brown both sides. This will only take a minute or so.

Using a spider (metal strainer with a long handle) or a slotted spoon, remove the won tons when lightly browned and place on paper towel-lined plate to drain. Continue until all won tons are done. Serve with Ponzu Dipping Sauce.

Ponzu Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon O Sudachi Lime Rice Vinegar (O Yuzu Rice Vinegar works well, too. You can use regular rice vinegar but it will not have the citrus infusion)
chopped green onion to garnish

Mix together in small bowl and serve with Yaki Mandu. Other great additions to this sauce are: red chili flakes and fresh minced garlic.

As you may know, I love all of the O Olive Oil artisan vinegars and citrus-crushed olive oils, and this Sudachi Lime Rice Vinegar is no exception. You definitely get the taste of lime but in a sweeter, gentler way than traditional limes you find in the US. It's still a vinegar so you also get that twang. This is one of those vinegars that I could drink straight from the bottle.

Yaki Mandu with Ponzu Dipping Sauce

Note: The extra won ton wrappers can be cut into strips and deep fried for an extra treat. It just occurred to me that you could probably also sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon, too. I'm going to have to try that next time!


  1. Yum....these look so amazingly good!! I love Asian food...saving to make for my New Year's Eve celebration. I figure I can make the filling a day ahead, then stuff the morning of the party and fry at the last moment.

    1. You are right. This method would save a lot of time.


  2. Hey Wendy! You could definitely make the filling ahead of time. When I've had leftovers, I've also reheated the finished product for a few seconds in the microwave and they are still delicious, not as crispy but still very yummy!

  3. Holy cow these look incredible. The wonton parties must have been so much fun growing up! Yum.

  4. These won tons look DELICIOUS!.. Luna

  5. Those look gorgeous... Not to mention, delicious! Thanks for the step by step, I know lots can be done with won tons, just have never tried to work with them. That needs to change, these would be perfect for our upcoming New Year's Eve party.

  6. those fried won tons sound delicious! I have a case of won ton wrappers in my freezer, I need to teach my girls to make these, they would be great for our functions at school!
    thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Your step by step pictures and instructions are "off the hook!"

  8. Veronica you did amazing job! They look wonderful!

  9. You make this sounds really easy and delicious! I think I have to try make this soon.

  10. Yummm those fried wonton looks so lovely and delicious. It sounds like a great snack in the cold afternoon :)

  11. Delicious. I will be making these soon. Thanks for the step by step instructions.

  12. Really well done post. Very nice camera work. we usually add tofu to ours in addition to the meat. We have also found that we can fry the wontons until half way done and freeze them, then heat then at 325 or so for about 10 minutes or less and you have a very quick and tasty treat for dron-in guests

  13. I lived in South Korea for 13 years, that's all I would ever eat and now that I have found them I eat them all the time again and so do my kids, we all love them! Thank you so much for the recipe of making them, it's sooo much cheaper than buying them! Thanks, Happy Easter! :)

    1. I had the pleasure of living in S. Korea (Tong Du Chung)(sp?). These were my favorite, too. I can't wait to try this recipe.

  14. Hey Veronica, awesome job! I was stationed in Korea and they are also a greatbar food lol. . . I will be using this for my cookimg demo at work. Thanks, Chef Jim

    1. Thank you Jim! You've reminded me that I should make these again soon 😊