Dumplings are popular appetizers from Asian cuisines that have pleased hungry diners for at least two centuries. Today, restaurants in many countries around the world serve savory fried, boiled, and steamed potstickers inspired by Asian cuisine, always accompanied by tasty sauces for dipping. Here are eight delicious recipes that you can also use as marinades for meats or flavor-boosters for vegetarian rice and noodles. Try them all, from the tangy to the spicy and sweet, and make a big batch of your favorite.
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Love the spicy hot chili oil that comes with Chinese restaurant dumplings? You can easily recreate the recipe in your own kitchen with just three ingredients. It also makes a great sauce for hot cooked Chinese noodles and stir-fry dishes. Best of all? It keeps in your fridge for up to a month when stored in an airtight jar. Before beginning with this recipe, be sure to read the precautions for safe handling of hot chili peppers.
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Many Chinese restaurants serve pan-fried dumplings with a soy ginger sauce, which is easy to recreate at home with only four ingredients needed. You simply combine soy sauce, minced ginger, sesame oil, and a little white pepper. It can also be used to marinate seafood or to flavor cooked white rice or noodles.
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Make your own Chinese-style sauce for homemade or store-bought dumplings and adjust the seasonings as you like to suit your preferences for spice and tanginess. All you need is some garlic, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and a small amount of hot chili oil. If you wish, you can save time by buying prepared chili oil to use in the recipe, though instructions are given for making your own if you're keen to try.
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Chinese duck sauce (also called plum sauce) is made with plums, apricots, sugar, and spices. This easy recipe makes it in the classic style, which requires some planning in advance as it needs to sit for two weeks so flavors can meld. Use as a dip for dumplings and spring rolls or as a condiment with grilled or roasted meats. Vegetarians will also enjoy adding plum sauce to hot cooked noodles, rice, or stir-fried vegetables.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Inspired by the popular Thai peanut sauce that's served at restaurants with dumplings and satays, this homemade version includes dry-roasted peanuts, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and other traditional Thai ingredients. It makes a wonderful marinade for grilled chilled or tofu or a tasty dip for all sorts of foods, including hot cooked meats and cold noodle salads.
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Hoisin sauce is an intensely-flavored, thick, and sticky dipping sauce that can be served with dumplings, or used in Asian stir-fries, meat marinades, and noodle dishes. Garlic and ginger are added to bottled soy and hoisin sauces, along with some chili paste, chopped peanuts, and a few other ingredients, to achieve its signature taste.
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Sweet and sour sauce is one of the most popular dipping sauces in Chinese cuisine, used for everything from dipping dumplings and egg rolls to flavoring meat and vegetable stir-fries. This simple recipe, modeled after the red ketchup-based sauce found in many Cantonese-American restaurants, helps you make the vibrant condiment at home with just a handful of ingredients. Think beyond Asian foods when using this sauce—it's an excellent dip for chicken nuggets, a spread for hamburgers, or a glaze for barbecue chicken wings.
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Tamarind fruit lends its unique sweet and sour flavor to this tangy dipping sauce, which makes an excellent complement to steamed, boiled, or fried seafood dumplings. Find tamarind pulp or paste at Asian or specialty grocers or online. Don't be concerned about the inclusion of fish sauce in this recipe. It's not too fishy in small quantities and, much like anchovies in a Caesar salad dressing, adds that special umami punch that really takes this sauce over the top!