Make mouth-watering Sichuan dumplings with this simple recipe! They’re filled with succulent pork and seasoned with a super flavorful sauce. An absolute delight to your taste buds.
What are Sichuan Dumplings
Known as Zhōng Shuǐ Jiǎo/钟水饺 in Chinese, Sichuan dumplings (often spelled as Szechuan dumplings or known as Zhong dumplings) are one of the most popular street foods of Sichuan cuisine, along with legendary dishes like Dan Dan Noodles, Hot & Sour Glass Noodles, etc.
Essentially, it’s boiled, half-moon shaped dumplings with a flavorful, tender pork filling, dressed with sweetened, spice-infused soy sauce, chili oil, and minced garlic. It showcases some key features of this regional cuisine: Spicy and aromatic with a distinct savory-sweet taste.
Don’t confuse it with Sichuan Chili Oil Wontons which have a different appearance and seasoning but are equally delicious.
Why this recipe
Here are a few reasons why you should give this recipe a try:
- The filling is very easy to put together
- Fancy pleating isn’t required
- Use shop-bought wrappers to save time
- The unique sauce can be used in many other dishes
Ingredients & substitutes
For the dumplings
For shooting this recipe, I used homemade wrappers (with just two simple ingredients: all-purpose flour and water).
If you’re in a hurry, use shop-bought wrappers to save time. Choose the round, white type (not the square, yellow wonton wrappers for wonton dishes). They often come frozen. So remember to defrost them in the fridge.
Classic Sichuan dumplings call for a pork-only filling. However, chicken can be used as a substitute (choose one with higher fat content, e.g. ground chicken thighs).
For the sauce
There are three elements for seasoning Sichuan dumplings: Sichuan spiced sweet soy sauce, chili oil, and minced garlic.
Sichuan spiced sweet soy sauce
An iconic condiment of Sichuan cuisine, spiced sweet soy sauce (known as Fù Zhì Jiàng Yóu/复制酱油) is a must-have for this dish. It’s basically soy sauce sweetened with sugar and flavored with aromatics like scallions, ginger, and spices like Sichuan pepper, star anise, cassia cinnamon, bay leaves, fennel seeds, Tsao-ko, etc. (It’s fine to skip 2-3 spices if unavailable).
As essential as spiced sweet soy sauce, chili oil creates a highly flavorful heat that makes Sichuan dumplings phenomenal. If you haven’t tried my homemade chili oil recipe yet, this is a good opportunity to do so. It makes a big difference. Believe me!
It’s best to use a mortar and pestle, or a garlic presser to mince the garlic. They’re better at getting the juice out of the garlic than chopping with a knife.
Step 1: Make the spiced sweet soy sauce
Put light soy sauce, water, sugar, scallions, ginger, and spices into a saucepan. Cook over high heat until it starts to boil. Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes.
By then, the liquid will become thicker and a little sticky (so it coats the dumplings very well). Its volume is reduced by about ⅓.
Place a sieve over a bowl/jar and pour everything over. Discard all the solid bits caught in the sieve. Let the spiced sweet soy sauce cool.
🛎 Note: The spiced sweet soy sauce made with this recipe is more than you need for the dumplings. See how to use the leftovers in later sections.
Step 2: Prepare the filling
First, make the aromatic water by soaking ginger, scallion, and Sichuan pepper in hot water for 10 minutes. Pass through a sieve and keep the flavored water.
In the mixing bowl, combine ground pork, egg, Shaoxing rice wine, sesame oil, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Gradually pour in the flavored water while constantly stirring the mixture in one direction.
Once the mixture turns into a smooth, sticky, paste-like mass, you’re ready to move to the next step.
Step 3: Fold the dumplings
Put a portion of the filling in the middle of a dumpling wrapper. Fold it over to form a half circle. Pinch the rim with your thumb and index finger to seal all around making sure there isn’t any leakage.
Shop-bought wrappers tend to be quite dry. So you’d need to dab a little water along the rim so that you can seal the dumplings properly.
Homemade wrappers can be sealed easily. However, they may stick to the surface if left for a while. So make sure you dust the work surface with flour before placing the assembled dumplings over.
Step 4: Cook the dumplings
After all the dumplings are assembled, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Carefully put in the dumplings then push them around with a spatula in case any stick to the bottom (Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to cook them in two batches).
Cover the pot with a lid and leave to cook over high heat. When you see the water come back to a boil, uncover and pour in about ½ cup (120ml) of cold water then cover again.
Repeat the procedure and add water another two times. The dumplings will be fully cooked when the water boils again after the third water addition. They should be all floating on the surface.
Step 5: Assemble the dish
Drain the dumplings very well then put them into serving bowls. Add the spiced sweet soy sauce, chili oil, and minced garlic. Mix and taste to adjust the quantity of the seasonings.
Make ahead & store
This is a great dish to make in big batches. Here are some tips:
- Freeze uncooked dumplings: Right after assembly, place them over a lightly floured tray in a single layer. Once completely frozen, transfer to an airtight bag and keep in the freezer for 3 months. Boil them the usual way without defrosting.
- Spiced sweet soy sauce: Once completely cool, store in the fridge for up to 3 months.
How to use the leftover sauce
Sichuan spiced sweet soy sauce is tasty, versatile, and long-lasting. It’s used in many classic Sichuan dishes as a dressing. You can use it to replace regular soy sauce and season noodles, fried rice, and meat or vegetable appetizers (e.g. Braised Beef Shank, Smashed Cucumber, etc.). Or, use it as a sauce for other dumpling dishes or bao buns.
The ultimate dumpling guide
Want to dive deep into the dumpling world? Check out my Ultimate Dumpling Guide which covers all aspects of this culinary art.
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Sichuan Dumplings (Zhong Dumplings/钟水饺)
For the spiced sweet soy sauce
For the dumplings
You also need
- Chinese chili oil - to taste
- Minced garlic - to taste
Make the spiced sweet soy sauce
- Put all the ingredients for the sweet soy sauce into a saucepan. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to low. Leave to simmer uncovered for 25 minutes or so until the volume has reduced by about ⅓.
- Use a sieve to separate the liquid and the solid bits. Discard the latter and leave the spiced sweet soy sauce to cool (see note 2).
Prepare the filling
- Put ginger, scallion, and Sichuan pepper into a small bowl. Pour in hot water. Set aside to infuse for 10 minutes, then pass through a sieve and keep the liquid for later use.
- Add ground pork, Shaoxing rice wine, sesame oil, egg, salt, sugar, and white pepper to a mixing bowl. Pour in the aromatic water from the last step gradually while stirring in one direction with chopsticks/spatula until the liquid is fully absorbed. You’ll end up with a smooth, sticky, paste-like mixture.
Fold the dumplings
- Place some filling in the middle of a dumpling wrapper. Fold it into a half circle. Press the rim to seal it all around.
- If using shop-bought wrappers, you’d need to wet the rim with a little water before pinching them together.
- Put assembled dumplings onto a lightly floured surface without them touching one another. This is particularly important if using freshly made wrappers.
Cook the dumplings
- In a large pot/wok, bring plenty of water to a full boil. Slide in the dumplings (you may need to cook them in two batches depending on the size of your cookware). Gently move them around to prevent sticking. Cover with a lid and leave to cook over high heat.
- Once the water comes back to a full boil, add about ½ cup (120ml) of cold water then cover. Repeat the procedure another two times. The dumplings will be fully cooked when the water boils again after the third water addition (They should be all floating on the surface).
Assemble the dish
- Fish out the dumplings with a slotted spoon (shake to drain off as much water as possible). Divide them into serving bowls (3-5 dumplings each as a snack or 10-12 dumplings as a meal).
- Add sweet soy sauce, chili oil, and minced garlic to each bowl. Stir to coat evenly. Adjust the sauce quantity based on the number of dumplings in each bowl.
Make ahead & store
- The spiced sweet soy sauce: Once completely cool, transfer to a clean jar and store in the fridge for up to 3 months.
- The dumplings: Right after assembly, place them over a lightly floured tray in a single layer. Once completely frozen, transfer to an airtight bag and keep in the freezer for 3 months. Boil them the usual way without defrosting.
NUTRITION DISCLOSURE: Nutritional information on this website is provided as a courtesy to readers. It should be considered estimates. Please use your own brand nutritional values or your preferred nutrition calculator to double check against our estimates.