Chinese dumplings (jiaozi) are one of the most classic and traditional dishes in Chinese cuisine and are a must-have at banquets. But a dumpling wouldn't be a dumpling without the dipping sauce that goes with it.
Instructions are given for making your own chili oil but store-bought chili oil is fine to use. Alternatively, you can use Sichuan peppercorn oil instead. It gives the dumpling dipping sauce a strong but delicious flavor and aroma. As always, you can adjust the amount of the seasoning to suit your personal preference.
- For the Sauce:
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon hot chili oil
- For the Chili Oil:
- 1 teaspoon chili powder or chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, vegetable oil)
Make the Chili Oil
- Put chili powder or chili flakes into a heatproof bowl.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan and pour the hot oil into the chili powder. Let it cool down.
- Store the cooled chili oil in an airtight jar or container.
Make the Dipping Sauce
- In a small bowl, combine garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon of the hot chili oil. Whisk until well combined.
- Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Chinese Dumpling Memories
Making and eating dumplings is as much about the social aspect as it is about eating. One of my fondest memories during my childhood was sitting with a grandparent on a Sunday drinking Chinese tea and making dozens if not hundreds of dumplings.
If we didn’t make dumplings at home, we’d go to a restaurant and the waiters would wheel around trolleys of just-cooked dumplings and we'd grab a few bamboo steamers of dumplings and other delicious dishes and read our newspapers, talking really loudly (a Chinese tradition), and drinking lots of tea.