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A sauce for eating with Chinese dumplings (Jiaozi)

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I had some Jiaozi type dumplings when I was in Chengdu last year. The sauce which I had with them was absolutely divine tasting. Does anybody have any great recipes for sauces for eating with Chinese dumplings. The one I had from what I remember was quite reddish in colour; it obviously had chillio oil in it. It also had pieces or coriander in it. I think maybe some vinegar and soy sauce too. I've tried to re-create it from recipees I've seen on the web but my efforts haven't been up to the mark. Do you have any recipes/suggestions? Thanks.

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There are all kinds of combinations you can do and I think most are around using chili sauce, light soy sauce, diluted with water and add some other things.

You can try something like this:

Get a jar of garlic chili paste. Many Asian stores have them. Some taste better than the others.

Use about 2 spoonful of garlic chili past. Dilute it with boiled water, ratio about 5 to 1.

Then add in 3 spoonful of light soy sauce (the salty one).

Add in some aromatic things to jazz up the taste: suggestions - fried garlic, fried shallot, chopped green onions, small amount of grated ginger, chopped cilantro, etc..

Can add a little bit of ground black pepper, or freshly chopped Sichuan peppercorns (Hua Jiao) on top.

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In Sichuan it was probably a mixture of chilli oil (with chilli sediment) with soy sauce, garlic, coriander and a little water. Finished with a drop of sesame oil.

Fuchsia Dunlop gives a recipe here (scroll down to the dip) which is typical. She doesn't add the coriander, but of course, you can.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Agree with what Liuzhou and hzrt8w said. The typical Sichuan dumpling sauce normally invovles hot oil, soy sauce, chinese black vinegar, few drops of sesame oil, garlic paste, scallion, and cilantro. If you feel like getting some ma (the numbing effect from sichuan peppercorn), you can also add some ground sichuan peppercorn powder. Good luck!

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Thanks for your replies. I'll try that Dunlop one. The sauce I had in Chengdu was actually in a La Mian noodle place. The dumplings weren't on the menu but a treat that the owner wanted be to share with them. He was from Lanzhou originally. This is the sauce I have tried making:

  • Chili Oil Sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinkiang black vinegar (鎮江香醋)
  • 2 tablespoons Sichuan spicy chili oil (四川辣油)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder (花椒粉)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

I just copied and pasted that from: http://redcook.net/2011/04/30/be-adventurous-with-wonton/#respond

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My interest is in effective alternatives to authentic sauces. My periodic dumpling/ravioli binges always get stymied by the question of how to sauce them. For Italian, one can only eat so much butter and sage in one lifetime; pesto and nut sauces aren't everyday fare, and aren't light tomato sauces already a staple? For Chinese, I can only cook so far before rejecting $1.49 brown sludges in jars. Roasted Chilli Paste (Nahm Prik Pow) is a stellar Thai homemade paste, but I can't find enough recipes like this to never open a bought jar. And whenever I ponder cooking Asian to the exclusion of ever cooking Mediterranean again, I'm repelled by the amount of soy sauce I'm setting myself up to consume.

Barbara Tropp's books help here; China Moon Cookbook has a quartet of dipping sauces, varied, but with the juice from her homemade pickled ginger as a key ingredient.

I've come to accept Thailand as a (very interesting) region of China. (It is a mistake to confine oneself to cooking those Thai dishes that don't look Chinese, and the new flavor notes are welcome.) If I must buy jars, the Thai versions are more expensive but I have fewer questions about their ingredient lists and provenance. Thai sauces come to mind as alternatives for dumplings, thought one is substituting a dependence on fish sauce. Improvise, but look at Authentic Thai Recipes by Kasma Loha-unchit (the sauces).

Robert Delf's The Good Food of Szechwan is long out of print, but available used for a song. Loud food he loved in his twenties, that I loved in my twenties. His Dan Dan noodles are based on broth from his braised beef, which I now believe is best made sous vide with short ribs. This becomes a version of a general principle: Even the French aren't making demi-glace that much anymore, preferring to deploy liquids from other steps in the cooking process. Standard dumplings start with raw meat, but Nicoise meat ravioli starts with leftover beef from a daube, again best cooked as if a Moroccan tangia, in earthenware in the lowest possible oven. I've had the best luck improvising dumpling and ravioli sauces by tweaking and redeploying meat liquids.

The game of Dictionary comes to mind here. If one isn't being strictly traditional, one should be problem-solving from a broader perspective, showing tradition what it meant to say. In that spirit, what sauces do people like when they're not striving to be authentic?

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Thanks for your replies. I'll try that Dunlop one. The sauce I had in Chengdu was actually in a La Mian noodle place. The dumplings weren't on the menu but a treat that the owner wanted be to share with them. He was from Lanzhou originally. This is the sauce I have tried making:

  • Chili Oil Sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinkiang black vinegar (鎮江香醋)
  • 2 tablespoons Sichuan spicy chili oil (四川辣油)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder (花椒粉)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

I just copied and pasted that from: http://redcook.net/2011/04/30/be-adventurous-with-wonton/#respond

Great find! I love reading redcook as well.

Just for comparison purpose, here is a generic dipping sauce I make for almost everything. The only main difference is the amount of sesame oil. I prefer to not overpower my sauce with sesame oil fragrant so I only use small amount. Also, the quality of hot oil makes a difference as well. Hope you figure out the sauce you had in Chengdu!!

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar

1 – 2 tbsp hot chili oil (or to your own taste)

½ tsp sesame oil

1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorn (or to your own taste)

1 tsp garlic paste

1 tsp green onion, chopped

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For what it's worth, I've cooked Russian dumplings as well and created a sauce based on vinegar to counter the fattiness of the meat.

I'm surprised that some of the replies have omitted vinegar as this is the element that seems most common in regional Chinese restaurants I've visited here in Australia. We're getting pretty good at expanding beyond Cantonese food these days and I thought I'd tried most. I know it's not China but we have a lot of recent Chinese immigrants who all bring their regional food here now that food horizons have broadened ( which is a really good thing!)

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One of my favourite places in town is the Harbin Jiaozi King restaurant. They serve literally hundreds of thousands of jiaozi everyday. The place is always packed.

Each table is supplied with a bottle of black vinegar, a bottle of soy sauce, a bowl of dried chilli flakes and a bowl of a sweetish chilli paste. Diners mix their own dips. From what I've observed in eating there at least once a month for 15 years, despite us being in the south, it seems most people just go for a vinegar and soy sauce mix (which is the northern style). I tend to add the chilli flakes, but avoid the chilli sauce - too sweet for my taste.

Come to think of it, it's probably the only place I've seen in China which has a bottle of soy sauce on the table - unlike 'Chinese' restaurants in England.

I'm surprised that some of the replies have omitted vinegar as this is the element that seems most common in regional Chinese restaurants I've visited here in Australia.

Indeed vinegar, particularly black vinegar, is very common in such dips. It just didn't seem to part of what the OP was trying to replicate, so I, for one, omitted it..

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"---Indeed vinegar, particularly black vinegar, ----"

​Aren't there two kinds of black vinegar? Sweet and not so sweet?

dcarch

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Aren't there two kinds of black vinegar? Sweet and not so sweet?

Not that I've noticed. Perhaps

The style I have come across and was referring to was what is commonly referred to as Chinkiang vinegar which is the only one I come across in the local shops..

Chinese vinegars are, I find, generally less acid and more mild in taste than what we may find in the west, although I wouldn't go so far to call them sweet.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Aren't there two kinds of black vinegar? Sweet and not so sweet?

Not that I've noticed. Perhaps

The style I have come across and was referring to was what is commonly referred to as Chinkiang vinegar which is the only one I come across in the local shops..

Chinese vinegars are, I find, generally less acid and more mild in taste than what we may find in the west, although I wouldn't go so far to call them sweet.

The one that I use is actually called sweet vinegar. It is sweeter than balsamic, I cook that with ginger and sesame oil for dipping.

dcarch

http://img.21food.com/20110609/product/1305783273207.jpg

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Well, that's something I've never come across in China, although it's clearly produced in China. I'm now on the road and only seeing your picture on my phone, so it's not so great a rendition. My fault; not yours.

I'm guessing it is vinegar which has been sweetened, rather than sweet vinegar, if you see what I mean.

It is certainly not what I would expect to be served with jiaozi, though


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Aren't there two kinds of black vinegar? Sweet and not so sweet?

Not that I've noticed. Perhaps

The style I have come across and was referring to was what is commonly referred to as Chinkiang vinegar which is the only one I come across in the local shops..

Chinese vinegars are, I find, generally less acid and more mild in taste than what we may find in the west, although I wouldn't go so far to call them sweet.

The one that I use is actually called sweet vinegar. It is sweeter than balsamic, I cook that with ginger and sesame oil for dipping.

dcarch

http://img.21food.com/20110609/product/1305783273207.jpg

According to your image, this is a specialty sweet vinegar used to make a traditional Cantonese dish called pig trotters in ginger and sweet vinegar. This is a dish that mothers eat right after giving a birth.

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This is a dish that mothers eat right after giving a birth.

Yes, indeed.

Now that I can see more clearly, I'm amused to note the name of the product -

添丁甜醋 which translates as "having a baby (son) sweet vinegar".

I definitely won't be having it with my jiaozi.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Dipping sauce is a personal thing. For me, what I use depends on my mood. At the very basic, it's just black vinegar. Sometimes I add some soy, or various chili sauce/oil or sesame oil. Or just plain chili sauce, sometimes mixed with rice vinegar. Sometimes, I like a mixture of black vinegar, ketchup and sriracha (learned that from family friends). Husband on the other hand, usually just use soy.

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