Chinese dumplings (jiaozi) are one of the most traditional dishes in Chinese cuisine and a must-have at everything from family dinners to banquet meals. But a dumpling wouldn't be a dumpling without the dipping sauce that goes with it. They simply require something tangy, sometimes spicy, to help cut through the rich savoriness of the dumpling filling.
Just as there are many different types of dumplings, there are many different types of sauces. This recipe is a quick, easy, and popular version. It works great for classic pork-filled dumplings, but also pairs wonderfully with pockets that are filled with eggs, prawns, or vegetables.
Instructions are given for making your own chili oil, but a store-bought version is fine to use. Alternatively, you can use Sichuan peppercorn oil instead. Both will give the dumpling dipping a nice spicy kick. As always, you can adjust the flavor to suit your personal preference.
You can use this recipe either for your homemade Chinese dumplings or for store-bought dumplings. While those often come with dipping sauce, you will be better able to adjust the seasonings if you make it yourself.
- For the Chili Oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (or chili flakes)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (of your choice)
- For the Sauce
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon hot chili oil
If you decide to make your own chili oil, you will start with that step. Otherwise, skip ahead to directions for the dipping sauce.
Make the Chili Oil
Gather the ingredients.
Place the chili powder or chili flakes into a heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Pour the hot oil into the chili powder. Let it cool. The chili oil can be stored in the fridge uan airtight jar or container if not used immediately.
Make the Dipping Sauce
Gather the ingredients.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon of the hot chili oil. Whisk until well combined.
Serve with your favorite dumplings.
Recipe Notes and Tips
The dipping sauce can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Add thin strips of ginger or chopped green scallions as a crunchy garnish that also adds flavor.
Looking for a sauce to pair with other Asian dumplings? It's incredibly easy with a few simple changes. To put a Japanese spin on this dipping sauce—perfect for gyoza—substitute ponzu for soy sauce and mirin for the Chinese rice wine vinegar. For Thai-style potstickers, swap the chili oil for nam prik pao (Thai chili paste) and add a splash of lime juice.
Serve the dipping sauce in individual small dishes for each guest. This eliminates any worries about "double dipping."