Pork Dumplings with Crispy Chili Sauce

By: Holly Haines

Makes: ~60 dumplings, 4-6 servings

This is my version of crunchy chili sauce, with lots of fried garlic and shallots mixed in. It’s great on eggs, on a bowl of hot white rice, but it’s especially wonderful with dumplings.  Sixty dumplings sounds like a lot but let me tell you how much your FutureSelf will thank you for having a few stashed away in the freezer. Put on a good playlist and zone out for a bit, once you get into the groove of folding, it goes by fast. I find the whole process delightful.

Both the sauce and the dumplings can be made ahead of time, and both keep incredibly well. The sauce will keep for a month in the fridge and the dumplings will keep frozen for a couple months. Make leftover dumplings into a soup moment - just ladle your favorite broth over top of boiled dumplings.

Active Time: 1 hr 30 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr 50 mins

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Produce

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 2” ginger
  • 3 scallions
  • 2 large shallots

Pantry

  • ½ cup chili flakes (see notes)
  • 2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tbsp mushroom bouillon powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar (can substitute rice vinegar)
  • 1 cup (200g) grapeseed or peanut oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Dairy

  • 1 egg

Protein

  • 16 oz ground pork

Frozen

  • 12 oz package (60-70) wonton wrappers (see notes)
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1. Prep the filling and chili sauce:

  • For the pork filling, grate 2 cloves garlic and 1” of ginger, about 2 tablespoons, into a medium bowl. Finely chop 2 scallions, both green and white parts and add to the bowl. Set aside (these are the seasonings for the pork filling)
  • For the chili sauce, finely chop the remaining 1 scallion and place Into a separate large, heat-proof bowl. Grate remaining 1” of ginger into the bow along with ½ cup chili flakes (see notes), 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder, 1 tablespoon mushroom bouillon powder or ¼ tsp MSG (optional), 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper,  2 tablespoons sesame oil and 2 tablespoons black vinegar.
  • Thinly slice 2 large shallots - a mandolin is great for this, you should have about 1 cup. Thinly slice remaining garlic, about 1 cup.

2.Make the crispy chili sauce:

  • Line a large plate with paper towels. Place 1 cup grapeseed oil and 1 cup thinly sliced shallots in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently, adjusting the heat as needed, cooking until the shallots are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the shallots from the pan and drain on paper towels. Add the garlic to the saucepan and cook until just golden, 5-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic and drain the garlic on paper towels with the shallots.
  • Carefully pour the hot oil over the chili flakes and spices in the large bowl; it’ll bubble up a bit. Stir together and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Stir in the fried garlic and fried shallots. Adjust seasonings to taste. Can be made ahead of time. Keep leftovers in a jar, refrigerated, for up to 1 month.

3. Make the dumplings:

  • Add 1 pound of ground pork into the medium bowl with the scallions, ginger and garlic. Add 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 egg, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Stir until well combined.
  • It’s always a good idea to check for seasoning before filling the dumplings because you can’t season them once they’re folded. An optional but highly recommended step - form about a teaspoon of the filling into a small patty and fry until cooked though. Taste and adjust seasonings in the raw mixture as needed.
  • Set up your work area with wontons wrappers, a small bowl of water and a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Use a butter knife to place about 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Dip a fingertip in water and lightly wet the edges of the wrapper. Join the opposite corners together and press to form a triangle. Gently press from the center of the dumpling toward the edges, forcing out any air bubbles from around the filling before pinching edges to seal the triangle completely.   Dab a little water on one “arm" and join with the opposite corner, like “arms” crossing under the “belly” of the dumpling so it looks like a little bowl (ideal for catching sauce). Set on the baking sheet and repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling (fry up any leftover filling for a little snackington).
  • If you’re not cooking the dumplings right away, keep them covered in the refrigerator for up to a couple hours. Otherwise, freeze them on a baking sheet, taking care that they’re not touching, until frozen solid, then store in an air-tight container for up to 2 months.

4. Cook:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook dumplings in batches of 10 or so, about 2-3 minutes (add another minute if cooking frozen dumplings). They’ll float when they’re done. Use a slotted spoon to remove the dumplings from the water, let excess water drain a few seconds and place in a serving bowl. Repeat with remaining dumplings.  Serve with crispy chili sauce.
Notes:
  • Use ¼ cup chili flakes for a less spicy sauce, and up to ½ cup if you like it really spicy. I like to use Chinese chili flakes for this, although Italian-style crushed red pepper flakes will work in a pinch. Sometimes, I like a combination of Korean gochugaru chili flakes and Flatiron Pepper’s “Asian Reds” blend. If you’re feeling particularly DIY’ish, make your own with a blend of dried and crushed chile de arbol, japones and Kashmiri chiles.
  • Wonton wrappers can be found at Asian markets and some major grocery stores in the refrigerated section, sometimes near the fresh pasta or the vegetarian / tofu. They can also be found frozen.
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