Sichuan dumplings in chilli

Sichuan dumplings in chilli

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

An entire book could be devoted to the snack foods of Chengdu, a place granted City of Gastronomy status in 2010 by no less than UNESCO. When you go there, eat at a branch of Long Chao Shou restaurant for a free-for-all snack-fest that will be nothing short of revelatory. This dish, called zhong shui jiao, involves crescent-shaped pork dumplings served in a glistening pool of viciously hot sauce. It’s a masochistic wake-up call when eaten, as the locals do, first thing in the morning.


Quantity Ingredient
400g minced pork
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons ginger, very finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons clear rice wine
sea salt
ground white pepper
30 round wheat dumpling wrappers

Chilli sauce

Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons sichuan peppercorns
80ml light soy sauce
80ml Strained chilli oil
80ml Chicken stock
1 tablespoon caster sugar


  1. To make the chilli sauce, first dry-roast the peppercorns in a small, heavy-based frying pan over a medium–low heat, shaking the pan often, for 3–4 minutes, or until fragrant. Cool, then transfer to a mortar (or an electric spice grinder) and pound with the pestle to form a coarse powder. Combine in a bowl with all the remaining ingredients, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
  2. Put the pork, egg, ginger and rice wine in a bowl, season with sea salt and white pepper, then use your hands to mix everything together. Lightly brush some water around the edge of one dumpling wrapper. Place a slightly heaped teaspoon of the pork mixture in the middle, then fold the wrapper over the filling to form a semicircle. Press the edges together to seal, pleating along the edge four or five times to secure. Repeat the process to fill all the dumplings.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Working in two batches, add the dumplings to the water, stirring gently to ensure they don’t sink and stick to the base of the pan. Cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well. Stir the chilli sauce, then divide it among small warmed bowls. Divide the dumplings among the bowls and serve immediately.
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