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Wanjajeon / Dong-gue-rang-taeng (Korean meatballs)
완자전 / 동그랑땡

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kid friendly
nut free
prep time: 
30 min
inactive time: 
0 min
cooking time: 
20 min
total time: 
50 min

Wanjajeon is more often called dong-gue-rang-taeng because of its shape. ("Dong-gue-rang" is derived from “dong-gue-ra-mi" meaning circle. “Taeng" is derived from an old korean word taeng-jeon meaning coin.) Dong-gue-rang-taeng looks similar to mini beef patties or meatballs but it is much more flavorful, juicier and tenderer than beef patties or meatballs.

Dong-gue-rang-taeng is one of the foods enjoyed during big family holidays like Seol-nal (Korean New Year’s Day) and Chuseok (Korean thanksgiving day). But it is also a popular choice for lunch boxes because it’s nutritious and easy to eat on the go. Traditionally it is either made with beef, or half beef and half pork. But, many Korean moms make it with canned tuna instead of beef. You can also make it with just tofu for a vegetarian version.

Dong-gue-rang-taeng is traditionally a side dish for lunch or dinner but can be enjoyed as a main dish or a snack. It also makes a great appetizer or party food. You can serve it as it is or with a dipping sauce. If you are serving it without dipping sauce, make sure it is seasoned with enough salt.

It is not the quickest dish to make but you can make a big batch and freeze in smaller portions. All you have to do next time is to heat them up and enjoy.

Buy Korean ingredients online here.

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Change to: Metric US
7 ozGround Beef 간 소고기 (or pork, chicken, tuna)
5 ozTofu, Soft or regular (for stew) 두부 (찌개용)
2 tbsVegetable Oil 식용유 (or olive oil)

for seasoning

2 tbsChopped Green Onion 다진파
1 tbsGarlic (minced) 다진 마늘
1 tbsCheongju, Korean Rice Wine 청주 (optional, can use white wine)
½ tspSalt 소금
¼ tspBlack Pepper 후추 (optional)
2 tspSesame Oil 참기름 (or rice flour)

for coating

⅓ cupFlour 밀가루
Egg 계란
¼ tspSalt 소금
Ingredients Notes: 

Buy Korean ingredients online here.


Optional Ingredients and Substitutions
Ground beef can be replaced by ground pork, chicken or tofu. You can use canned tuna or salmon.
If you are using canned tuna, make sure it is well-drained before using.
You can also use half beef and half pork for a great combination of flavors and texture.

Cheongju (Korean rice wine)can be omitted or replaced by white wine or sake.

How to Store
Once cooked, you can keep dong-gue-rang-taeng in the fridge for a couple of days.
You can make a big batch and freeze them in a tightly sealed bag or container to store for a few months.
You can freeze cooked ones. But for the best flavor, it’s better to freeze uncooked ones and cooke them each time you eat.

More questions? Please leave your questions below in the comment section. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.

Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.

1. Rinse tofu

Gently rinse the tofu under running water. Dry it with a kitchen towel.

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Gently rinse


2. Crush tofu

Crush tofu by hand.

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Crush tofu

3. Mix

Mix ground beef, crushed tofu and seasoning ingredients. Throughly mix and massage by hand for a few minutes.

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  • 2 tbs chopped green onions
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs cheongju
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

4. Make discs

With the mix, make a ball and then press with your palms to form a disc shape - 1½” (or 3.8 cm) in diameter and ⅜” (or 1 cm) in thickness. Repeat until all the mix is gone.

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Make discs


⅜” thickness

5. Dredge in flour

Dredge the discs in flour. Shake off excess flour.

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Dredge discs in flour

6. Coat with egg

Beat an egg with a pinch of salt. Coat the discs with the beat egg.

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Beat egg


  • pinch salt

Coat disc with egg

7. Pre-heat

Coat a non-stick pan with 2 tbs of vegetable oil. Preheat the pan on medium heat for 1 minute.

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Coat non-stick pan

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil

Preheat Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 1 min

8. Cook

Cook the discs on medium heat until golden.

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Cook discs

Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 10 min

9. Flip

Flip and cook the other side on medium heat until golden. Make sure the discs are cooked through. If you are not sure, cook on low heat.

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Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 10 min

10. Serve

Serve with a dipping sauce on the side (optional).

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Serve with dipping sauce


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