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Do you have a special dipping sauce concoction for dumplings?

I'm talking about that pool of liquids you might (or might not) dunk your Chinese dumplings in.

Talking dumpling here, not XLB (which is usu. eaten with the requisite ginger and vinegar mixture).

So, what do you use? Just soy sauce? Soy sauce and vinegar? Something else?

For me, it's got to be equal parts soy sauce and vinegar, with freshly cut slices of green chile.

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  1. Soy sauce, white or rice vinegar, just a tad of fish sauce, sesame oil, and green onion or sliced/minced chili padi (the little guys used in Thai cuisine).

    Sometimes vinegar, minced garlic, and a splash of chili oil works too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bulavinaka

      All or any of the above. I have a little cheat that I use at times. Makato Ginger dressing sold in my local grocer's produce department. Gives a good chunky ginger soy flavor.

    2. a litle fresh orange juice, reduced, then sesame oil, ginger, soy, a touch of chili paste, and some green onion.

      2 Replies
      1. re: cheesemonger

        Hmm, orange juice. That's a new one.

        Got to try that sometime.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          reduced orange juice? That's interesting.

          I personally go for light soy, vinegar, hot sesame oil, and some chili paste.

      2. Sometimes for a weekend breakfast I'll steam an assortment of frozen dumplings, usually some gyoza and shumai, and serve those alongside scrambled eggs with a sauce of soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and minced ginger. My wife likes hers made with equal parts Chinese dark soy and the chili sauce, while I prefer equal parts Tamari and the Chinese sauce and just a dab of the chili sauce.

        When eating dim sum out, I'll just use whatever looks good on the table.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Will Owen

          Now why does shumai and scrambled eggs sound like such an amazing combination?

          1. re: Will Owen

            The other day I had an inspiration. Shredded some cabbage and put in the bottom of a medium-sized pan. Added a little water and a shake of seasoned rice vinegar. Over that veggie-bed went frozen dumplings from TJ's. Steamed the whole thing, and it was marvelous!

            1. re: Sharuf

              A lot of restaurants serve dumplings steamed over whole cabbage leaves. I don't know too many people who do this, but I always enjoy eating the cabbage, too.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  It's to prevent the XLB from sticking to the steamer. Lately in Shanghai they've been using a different type of steamer that doesn't require lining.

                    1. re: cimui

                      No, nothing high-tech. The construction looks something like the one in this picture:


                      Old Shanghai on Geary uses a similar steamer, and maybe some other restaurants, but I haven't found them for sale anywhere in SF.

                      1. re: Gary Soup

                        Strands of cabbage, cut about 4 to 5mm thick, have worked well for me when smoothed over the surface of the "normal" wider-railed/larger gapped steamer floor. They mimc the thin tight floor in the picture above. Yummy, too, and easier to level than larger pieces of cabbage leaves,

                        1. re: FoodFuser

                          I've had them each perched on a coin of carrot for the same purpose.

              1. re: Sharuf

                If you want the style where all the gyoza has fried together like a big gyoza pie, mix together some flour and water - about the consistancy of full milk - and pour it into the hot wok/saute pan with the gyoza just about done Let it pull together and harden to form a brown crispy crust of sorts... I'll take your version as well, though.

            2. usually it's soy sauce, garlic, scalions and sesame oil, but sometimes i like adding sumak to soy sauce. or use adjika as a dipping sauce (georgian (Caucausus) spicy condiment)

              1. Soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger and a splash of sesame oil. If I want something with a little crunch, I'll add toasted sesame seeds in place of the oil.

                1. Equal amounts vinegar and mushroom soy. Finely chopped green onion.

                  1. for korean mandu I use:

                    soy sauce
                    rice vinegar
                    gochu garu
                    roasted sesame seeds
                    chopped green onion
                    sesame oil

                    and sometimes a tiny bit of sugar or mirin

                    1. Soy, rice vinegar, sesame oil, scallions, ginger and Huy Fong sriracha sauce. I like my dumplings with a bit of a kick.

                      1. chile garlic sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a splash of dark soy.

                        1. Lime juice, mecap manis, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, zest of lime and Thai sweet chili sauce.

                            1. re: jackrugby

                              I believe he is refering to Xiao Long Bao (steamed soup dumplings). I think you find them in chinese (shanghai) restaurants.

                              1. re: sweetie


                                XLB = Xiao Long Bao or "soup dumplings"

                            2. All of these sound great- I had some coconut shrimp recently, that was served with a sauce- I think it was plum/orange. It had the sweet/spicy thing going on. Loved it- and would like to try it at home .I thought some OJ, plum jam, vinegar and chili peppers may do it. Any thoughts? TIA.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: macca

                                Mostly orange marmalade is usually the ingredient in the sauce. Some rice wine vinegar. A dab of chili paste, if they're trying harder.

                                1. re: bryan

                                  Thanks so much. Believe it or not, I have had a hard time finding a recipe for this sauce. I have everything in the cupboard except the plum jam. Will give it a try this weekend.

                              2. I will mix soy sauce, ginger, etc, but sometimes I 'll just make a sauce (peanut butter, etc) intended for sesame noodles and put that out.

                                1. soy and white vinegar (XLB needs the dark vinegar), plus mirin. I like a touch of sweetness.

                                  1. Just a little sidearm pitch here - all of these dipping sauces sound great. They would all probably go well with plain tofu as well. Straight out of the fridge, on a hot night, rinse it and pat it dry with great care. Cube it while trying to keep it intact, and pour the any of these sauces on it or dip the cubes individually in the sauce. You've got an easy light entree. Anything with sesame and green onions works particularly well here...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                      Ditto that.

                                      Cubed soft (or silken) tofu, with some soy sauce, sesame oil, chives and a sprinkling of dried, deep-fried shredded pork makes a great meal on its own with some rice or steamed bun (man-toh).

                                    2. Keeping it simple: vinegar with a dab of chili paste. Black Rice Vinegar (Zhenjiang) is all we use here (OK, my wife has some distilled white for some mysterious use). The chili paste these days is usually Lao Ganma.

                                      1. Pomegranate syrup, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and a wee bit of chopped garlic.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: cimui

                                          Soy and Pica Pica Hot Sauce. I was aghast when my husband first made this concoction, convinced he was about the spoil the dumplings, and it was good. Spicy/Salty. I add white vinegar to mine and it's not bad.

                                        2. soy sesame oil, rice vinegar, sambal oelek, finely sliced green onion, and a tiny bit of minced ginger and garlic.

                                          Sometimes, if I don't have fresh on hand, I use jarred garlic/ginger paste and mix with soy and chili paste.

                                          1. Mustard is one of my favourites. Tomatillo salsa. Chili oil. Melted butter. I use balsamic if I don't have black vinegar.

                                            Plum sauce note - if you check the ingredient for bottled plum sauces, many have pumpkin as the main ingredient.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: pepper_mil

                                              Wow- nevcer knew that about jarred plum sauce- but then again, I have never purchased it! I do want to try to make it, as I really enjoy it on shrimp, and bet it would taste good with just about anything dipped in it!

                                            2. These are some delicious ideas!

                                              My standard dumpling sauce: equal parts garlic chili paste, granulated sugar and soy sauce, plus about 3X as much fish sauce, to taste. So good.

                                              1. Many folks have talked about black vinegar. Here's the one that I use. $1.29 a bottle at the asian store.

                                                1. I usually use this as a dipping sauce for hot pot, but it would work for dumplings too. Soy sauce with some XO sauce mixed in, and maybe even a sqeeze of lime if you want a sauce with some citrus and some chili oil for heat.

                                                  But red vinegar with slivers of fresh ginger is still my favourite for any Chinese dumplings -- even the fried ones.

                                                  1. I prefer my scallions/ginger/garlic to be part of the filling, rather than the sauce.

                                                    For my sauce, i use soy sauce, white vinegar, a touch of sesame oil, and sa cha sauce. This gives it that gritty kick that helps balance the smoothness of the skins, and the spice to go with the meaty interior! I like Chili oil too, but that's a winter thing for me.

                                                    1. Sauce depends on mood and dumpling but a personal all-purpose favorite is chili oil, dark vinegar, hoisin, fresh minced garlic, and soya sauce.

                                                      1. For those who use soy sauce and vinegar together, what are the approximate proportions of each that you use?

                                                        And does anyone ever use any rice wine or other wine in their sauces?

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: racer x

                                                          What do you feel like? Seriously - the ratio I like isn't the ratio any of the members of the family likes.

                                                          No alcohol in the sauce (generally) though I have recently been using a soy sauce:mirin:sake mix spiked with some umami elements (shiitake, kombu etc).

                                                          1. re: racer x

                                                            For those who use soy sauce and vinegar together, what are the approximate proportions of each that you use?

                                                            And does anyone ever use any rice wine or other wine in their sauces?

                                                            Whatever works for you, keep doing it.

                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                              Nothing works for me yet. That's why I'm asking!

                                                              1. re: racer x

                                                                Then go simple.

                                                                Soy sauce with some slivers of ginger. Let is rest for about 10 minutes and then dig away.

                                                          2. I always use the recipe in Henry Chung's Hunan Style Chinese Cookbook. It has no vinegar, and is hot, as you would expect of a Hunan style sauce.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                              Unfortunately, that one seems to be practically out of print (and no copy is available in our county's library system).

                                                              Going for $110 new, or $50 used, on amazon.com these days.

                                                              1. re: racer x

                                                                There is one copy at Powell's. ...

                                                                Oops! I mean there was when I looked a couple of days ago.

                                                            2. Years ago we ate at a Chinese restaurant that sold dumplings with a spicy peanut sauce. I attempted to recreate that sauce at home. I used a Sunset magazine recipe from one of their cookbooks and tweaked it to my tastes. Here's the result that I have been using for 15 years. It's also good over noodles or rice.

                                                              Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

                                                              4 tbsp peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
                                                              2 tbsp salad oil
                                                              4 tbsp soy sauce
                                                              4 tbsp granulated sugar
                                                              4 tbsp distilled vinegar
                                                              1 tsp toasted sesame oil
                                                              2 tsp Sriracha hot chili sauce (more or less to taste)
                                                              1/8 tsp ground coriander

                                                              Combine all ingredients and mix well with whisk.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                So it looks like about a one-to-one ratio of soy:vinegar is a place to start. I've seen that in several recipes.

                                                                1. re: racer x

                                                                  Maybe swap out that distilled vinegar for Chinese black vinegar. maybe add some depth?

                                                              2. In a pinch once, I used curried butternut squash/apple soup as a sauce and liked it so well that it's now my standard.

                                                                1. I can't believe noone's mentioned ponzu sauce, MARUKAN is my favorite if you can find it. I like to mix in a little Vietnamese chili sauce.

                                                                  1. I usually use 50/50 soy/vinegar and a generous spoonful of sambal oelek (or similar chile sauce).