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Dumpling dipping sauce recipe?

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Does anyone have a recipe for the dipping sauce that comes with pan-fried dumplings when you order Chinese takeout? I've been experimenting with cooking dumplings, and they've turned out pretty well, but the sauce, while acceptable, isn't quite what I want. I've tried lots of combinations of black vinegar, chianking vinegar, sesame oil, different types of soy, chili oil, scallions, ginger, garlic . . . it just doesn't taste the same. It seems like this sauce is pretty standard across restaurants, so I feel like it shouldn't be this hard. Is it possible that it is a prepared sauce that I could buy at a Chinese grocery store? Any suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. you can look for Wei Chuan dumpling sauce at your Asian market:
    http://www.weichuanusa.com/a_product_...

    or maybe try this recipe from Gourmet (though it doesn't contain ginger):
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Goodhealthgourmet, we are spending a lot of time in the same neighborhoods lately, aren't we? ; } I had just purchased a bottle dumpling sauce that I hadn't tried, and since the writing was in Chinese, I didn't know the name. Well, I used it and it is FANTASTIC. Your post made me curious so I scanned the bottle for the reeeeeaalllllly fine English writing - I think they wrote it with the head of a pin-but it was indeed the Wei Chuan. Loved it on potstickers, and loved it even more on Har Gow. This one's a keeper, I won't bother making my own again.

    2. You have pretty much covered all the bases. Are you using quality soy sauce, or cheaper versions? Don't use the leftover packets from Take-Out.....not any good for anything.

      I like to add a bit of fish/anchovy sauce, some chopped cilantro, fine dice long hots or jalapeno and some mushroom soy sauce....in addition to what you have listed. Also, try regular or sweetened rice vinegar in place of the black varieties.

      1. 3 parts soy sauce to 1 part rice vinegar with some sugar to taste.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Agreed. And my mom always added a couple of drops of sesame oil. Put a jar of chile paste on the table for people to add as desired.

          1. re: TorontoJo

            Re: Sesame oil.

            I usu. refrain from adding sesame oil to dipping sauces for pan-fried dumplings. Why, you ask?

            Because the pan-fried dumplings themselves will retain some of the oil they are cooked in, and when you dip said dumplings into the sauce some of that oil is left behind.

            Just by repeated dipping, then, you get a nice oil sheen on your dipping sauce in a sort of "au naturel" manner.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Yeah but unless you fried the dumplings in sesame oil it won't have the same flavor...

              My basic formula looks like this:

              Soy Sauce + Acid (citrus, vinegar) + Sweetness (sugar, honey, mirin) + aromatics (scallion, ginger, garlic, peppers, cilantro, etc) + spices (chile powder, pepper, 5 spice, togarishi, etc) + flavorvul oil (sesame)

              1. re: joonjoon

                I find pan-fried grease more aromatic and flavorful than seasme oil (even the toasted kind).

                1. re: joonjoon

                  Thanks! Perhaps it is the sweetness that I'm missing -- I'll give this a shot.

              2. re: TorontoJo

                I'm with TorontoJo. Sometimes I will also add sliced scallion and/or julienned ginger.

            2. ipse has it down, but you can also try the Taiwanese brand Kim Lan soy sauce paste (toothpaste consistency) with vinegar and minced garlic, which also makes a fantastic dip sauce even for boiled meat slices (e.g. pork belly)

              1. Round here you get very different sauces depending on what kind of Chinese restaurant you go to, Szechuan, Shanghai, Cantonese, ...etc.
                My favorite is, fine julienne ginger, white vinegar, a little soy and chili garlic sauce.

                1. Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. I'm going to give it another shot, incorporating some of the recommendations here, while also keeping an eye out for the Wei Chuan sauce.

                  1. I use Craig Claiborne and Joyce Chen's dipping sauce which is 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 garlic clove minced, 1 large teaspoon chopped fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon sugar and most importantly, hot chili oil to taste. If you don't like the heat, just add sesame oil. You could also up the soy sauce if desired. Let it sit at room temperature while you are making dinner.

                    1. We use my SO's family's standard recipe: cider (or white) vinegar, soy sauce, chile-garlic sauce (Rooster brand) and a drop or two of sesame oil.