Sauce

Six dumpling sauces (Ultimate Dumpling Guide part 5) | Family Cuisine

This is a simple recipe for dumplings sauce. It can be used with any kind of dumpling, but it's especially good with steamed or boiled dumplings. There are many variations to this recipe, but I like

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How to make dumplings sauce

From the simplest to more sophisticated versions, this guide offers six inspiring dumpling sauces which will take your dumpling dishes to another level.

Reading: how to make dumplings sauce

Dumplings can be made with a variety of tasty fillings, but an important aspect of the culinary experience of dumplings is the accompanying sauce. In the fifth part of my Ultimate Dumpling Guide, I’m sharing 6 dumpling sauces, from the simplest to more sophisticated versions. I hope they inspire you to make your dumpling dishes even more scrumptious.

There are many ingredients that can be used in dumpling sauces. I like to mix and match them based on my preferred taste on the day and of course the specific dumpling filling. Before getting into my 6 dumpling sauces, let me share a few general tips:

  • Homemade chilli oil is essential (unless you don’t eat hot food at all). Sometimes that’s all you need for a nice accompaniment to dumplings (Click HERE to see the recipe).
  • Chinese black rice vinegar is also essential. Its unique aroma really works with dumplings. There isn’t really a substitute for it. But if you do struggle getting hold of it in your local store, use balsamic vinegar instead.
  • If you make soy sauce based sauce, you may need to adjust the saltiness of your dumpling filling.
  • Toasted sesame oil is alway a good additional too. It offers a nice nutty fragrance. But use it in moderation as it can easily overpower the dumpling flavour.
  • Always taste a few plain dumplings before you start dipping. No matter how lovely the sauce is, I think the filling of your dumplings deserves to be appreciated on its own.

No. 1: GINGER & VINEGAR SAUCE

This sauce is inspired by the traditional dipping sauce for the famous Shanghai Xiao Long Bao (小笼包, soup dumplings). Thin strands of ginger are infused in fragrant Chinese black rice vinegar. I add a few drops of honey to balance its sourness. Fresh dill adds another layer of flavour and a prettier look. Out of my 6 dumpling sauces, this is the simplest to make.

For 2 servings, you will need:

  • 3 tablespoons black rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, julienned
  • Dill, to taste

No. 2: GARLIC & VINEGAR SAUCE

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This is another dumpling sauce based on Chinese black rice vinegar (it’s really essential in Chinese cooking). Minced garlic is half cooked by hot oil. This is a common method in Chinese cuisine. It reduces the spiciness of the garlic but increases it aroma. Fresh chilli and coriander make the sauce more flavoursome and appetizing. If you wish, you can replace fresh chilli with homemade chilli oil. This sauce can be used in salad too, eg. Chinese cabbage salad.

For 2 servings, you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pinch ground Sichuan pepper
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon hot oil
  • ½ teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons black rice vinegar
  • Fresh chilli, finely chopped
  • Coriander, chopped

No. 3: SPRING ONION OIL SAUCE

This simple sauce is inspired by Shanghai Cong You Mian (Spring onion oil noodles). The hot oil extracts the aroma from the spring onion. Fragrant, savoury with a hint of sweetness, it’s a very tasty and easy sauce to make.

If you have more time, I recommend you make a big batch of Spring onion oil (simmering spring onion in oil), It’s such a delicious and versatile condiment to have in your kitchen. Click my post to learn How to make & use spring onion oil (葱油).

For 2 servings, you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoon hot oil
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon black rice vinegar

No. 4: SPICY TOMATO DIP

I learnt to make this sauce from my Tibetan friend Dawa when I was living in Switzerland. She made beef momos for a multicultural party and served them with this dip. I fell in love with it straightaway. The great thing about this sauce is that you can adjust the ingredients based on your own taste. My suggestion is a mild version. Increase the volume of garlic / fresh chilli if you fancy a more pungent taste.

Another tip: I often use this sauce to cook minced meat served with noodles. Simply delicious!

For 4 servings, you will need:

  • 250g / 9oz peeled and deseeded tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 1 fresh chilli, or to taste
  • 2-4 strands coriander
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • ½ teaspoon light soy sauce

No. 5: SICHUAN DUMPLING SAUCE

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This sauce is for real hot food lovers like me. The idea comes from Zhong Shui Jiao (钟水饺), one of the signature dishes of Sichuan cuisine. It provides a mixed flavour of spiciness, sweetness and saltiness. Tangy yet refreshing, it takes your dumpling dish to another level! Unlike the other dipping sauces mentioned above, this sauce is usually mixed with freshly boiled dumplings in individual serving bowls.

It takes a bit of effort to make the sauce though. You need to firstly make some spiced sweet soy sauce (复制酱油). I suggest you make a big batch at a time. You can use it to dress or season other dishes too. For ingredients and instructions for this special soy sauce, please see note 1 in the recipe box below.

Homemade chilli oil is essential too. You can find detailed recipe and video tutorial in my post on “Make your own Chinese chilli oil”. Believe me! It’s all worth the effort.

For 1 serving, you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan spiced sweet soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon homemade chilli oil, or to taste
  • Spring onion, finely chopped

No. 6: HOT & SOUR DUMPLING SOUP

You don’t always have to serve dumplings dry or with sauce. Try this speciality from Xi’an, home to the famous Terracotta Army. Boiled dumplings are served in a tasty and tangy soup. The classic version of this soup calls for homemade spiced vinegar. I’ve given detailed instructions in my post on how to make Beef dumplings in hot & sour soup. Check it out if you wish. Alternatively you may use regular black rice vinegar.

For 1 serving, you will need:

  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons black rice vinegar / homemade spiced vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon papery dried shrimp
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Coriander, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon homemade chilli oil, or to taste

Thank you very much for following my dumpling journey. The last part of my guide is coming very soon. Stay tuned!

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

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