There are few single food items in this world more perfect than a Chinese dumpling. Chewy, thin dough wrapped around juicy, delicious fillings of endless variety, they’re delicious whether they’re fried, steamed, or boiled, and they’re ideally served with a deliciously contrasting dumpling sauce. I say “ideally” here, because all too often, dumplings don’t get the dumpling sauce they deserve.
I too can be guilty of lazy dumpling sauce habits. I’ve been known to simply splash a plate full of dumplings with a bit of dark vinegar, or spoon dollops of chili sauce on top with little thought given to making a full-on dipping sauce.
But I’ve come to realize the error of my ways, because a truly delicious dumpling sauce can make all the difference to your dumpling enjoyment. After crafting this sauce, and happily dunking fried dumplings into it to gobble down with the rest of my family post-photo-shoot on our last blogging day, I realized that the little extra time (literally 5 minutes) it takes to make a good dumpling dipping sauce can take an OK dumpling experience and elevate it to a truly great one.
The components of a good dumpling sauce are pretty simple, and it comes down to a balance of different flavors: salty, sweet, spicy, and a little bit of tang, or sourness.
The base of the sauce is soy sauce, which provides the salt factor and needs a little bit of thinning out with hot water. The sweetness comes from a little bit of sugar (the hot water helps dissolve it), while the sourness comes from a dash of rice vinegar.
The spiciness comes from the addition of chili oil––preferably one with lots of chili flakes like our homemade chili oil––as well as garlic. I really can’t emphasize the importance of the minced garlic enough. Raw garlic is spicy and sharp, and gives the sauce a much-needed lift. The final ingredients are sesame seeds and a little bit of sesame oil, for a nutty richness that rounds out the whole sauce.
Our love of dumplings at The Woks of Life is no secret. We’ve posted many dumpling recipes, from our very first “The Only Dumpling Recipe You’ll Ever Need” to subsequent recipes offering very specific variations: vegetable dumplings, chicken and mushroom dumplings, pork and chive dumplings, and more. We’ve received many requests for a dumpling sauce recipe over the years, and we’re finally delivering!
How to Make the Perfect Dumpling Sauce:
Cook up some Chinese dumplings…
And while those are frying (or boiling, or steaming), make the sauce.
Start by dissolving a teaspoon of sugar into a tablespoon of water. Then add 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon chili oil, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, and ½ teaspoon sesame oil.
Stir to combine:
And serve this sauce with your dumplings!
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 tablespoon hot water. Then add soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili oil, minced garlic, sesame seeds, and sesame oil. Stir to combine.
- Serve with freshly cooked dumplings and enjoy!