It’s the start of a new month, and the whole of Germany is looking forward to spring in the foreseeable future. It’s been a long, gray, snowy winter. Record grey in fact. One of the things I struggled with while living in London was the grey weather. In Germany, it’s been better, but not by a whole lot. Apparently, this has been the greyest winter since 1943. I rather not have experienced this historical record, thank you.
This year, Easter falls on the last day of March. So, I’ve decided to give this month the theme of MAULTASCHEN MARCH. Here in Schwabenland, one of the best known regional dishes is Maultaschen, or stuffed dumplings and while it is eaten throughout the year as a regular dish, it is also eaten on Holy Thursday or Gruedonnerstag. Good Christians shouldn’t be eating meat on this day, but the legend goes that the monks at Kloster Maulbronn got some meat shortly before Easter and didn’t want it to go to waste. So they thought they would be really sneaky, and hide that meat real good from Almighty God by chopping it up nice and fine and mixing it in with the spinach and herbs and bread crumbs and hiding all of this even further by putting it all in a pasta pocket, like a giant ravioli. And tada: Maultaschen. (By the way, I think my vegan ethos is the same as these medieval German monks. I want to eat vegan as much as possible, but if there is meat or a meat product in something that we have for the kids or that we were given, I can’t bring myself to throw it out. Zero Waste trumps vegan in my book.)
Korean mandu is the Korean equivalent of Swabian Maultaschen. It is also minched meat, usually pork or beef, mixed with vegetables such as Chinese cabbage and stuffed in a pasta dough. They are smaller than Maultaschen and are also fried or boiled and can also be steamed.
I had the privilege of making authentic Swabian Maultaschen with my former landlady last month, an authentic Swabian lady. We made the dough ourselves and mixed fabulously fresh ingredients from our farmer’s market and from our butcher (we go to the same one because he is the best in town). I also got to make vegetarian and vegan versions with a friend who is also native to these parts. My kids really liked the Maultaschen that I brought home, so this has inspired me to try making Korean mandu again based on these Maultaschen recipes and of course my mother’s. (Remember, before I typically didn’t bother putting mandu in our ddeokguk.) So throughout this month of March, I’ll be posting at least three different recipes and posts on Maultaschen and mandu.
Here’s a sneak peak of what’s to come during MAULTASCHEN & MANDU MARCH!