the appetizer:

The Best of the Best Cookbook by the Editors of Food & Wine, presents recipes from the top cookbooks of 2008, including Spanish Smoked Paprika Wings; Soup of Fregula with Baby Clams; and Sichuan Boiled Dumplings with Spicy Dipping Sauce.



Sichuan Boiled Dumplings
with Spicy Dipping Sauce

from The Shun Lee Cookbook
by by Michael Tong & Elaine Louie

Makes 20 Dumplings, or 4 Servings


Fried dumplings have legions of fans, but there is something soulfully satisfying about the simplicity of their boiled cousins. What gives character to these boiled dumplings is the wonderful dipping sauce, seasoned with spicy sesame oil.



  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 2 ounces small shrimp, peeled, deveined, and minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 1 scallion, green and white parts, trimmed and minced
  • 1 Chinese dried black mushroom, soaked until softened,
          stem trimmed, and cap minced
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, plus more for sprinkling
  • About 20 round dumpling wrappers


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 scallions, white part only, trimmed and minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hot bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon hot chile oil

Editor's Note
Hot bean paste is a savory, spicy combination of fermented soybeans and chiles. Look for jars at Asian markets.

1. For the filling, combine the pork, shrimp, soy sauce, vegetable oil, cilantro, scallion, mushroom, sesame oil, white pepper, and 1/3 cup water in a medium bowl. Mix well. Cover, and freeze for 1 hour (or refrigerate overnight) to firm the mixture and make it easier to handle.

2. Dissolve the cornstarch in 3 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl to make a paste. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and sprinkle it with cornstarch. Moisten the edges of a dumpling wrapper by dipping your finger into the paste and running it over the edge of the wrapper. Using a blunt knife as a scoop, place about a tablespoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Bring the edges of the wrapper up to meet at the top of the filling and pinch them closed, squeezing the dough. Place the dumpling on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers. (The uncooked dumplings can be made ahead, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Or freeze them for up to 3 months. To freeze, place them in a single layer in a plastic storage container or plastic storage bag, arranged so that the dumplings don't touch one another. When you are ready to cook them, the frozen dumplings will be easy to remove, one by one.)

3. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the dumplings and cover the pan. Cook until the filling is cooked through and the dumplings are floating on top of the water, about 4 minutes.

4. While the dumplings are cooking, make the sauce: Heat a wok or medium skillet over high heat. Add the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the scallions, garlic, and black pepper, and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the sugar, vinegar, hot bean paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, and hot chile oil to the scallions, and mix well. Divide the sauce among four soup bowls.

5. Carefully drain the dumplings in a colander. Place the dumplings on top of the sauce in the bowls, and serve immediately.

  • from:
    Best of the Best Cookbook Vol. 11:
    The Best Recipes from the 25 Best Cookbooks of the Year
  • by the Editors of Food & Wine
  • American Express Publishing, 2008
  • $29.95; Hardcover: 288 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1932624325
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932624325
  • Recipe reprinted by permission.

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