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Szechuan Wontons in Chile Oil

Cookbook

Hey There, Dumpling!

Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang

This image courtesy of Lucy Schaeffer

Editor's Note: Do you know what every good party needs to get started? A tray of amazing appetizers, of course! You'll impress your guests at your next soiree when you whip up these Szechuan Wontons in Chile Oil. In this recipe, Szechuan wontons are filled with pork and an assortment of seasonings, resulting in an appetizer that will likely get gobbled up in no time. As you're likely to busy on the day of your party, you'll be pleased to learn that you can make some components of this appetizer recipe in advance. If this is your first attempt at making Szechuan wontons, then you'll want to check out the folding instructions following the recipe.

These slippery little suckers are lip smacking! This is one of those dishes that you crave at Szechuan restaurants, and now you can make it at home. Wear a bib or take your shirt off for these. I can never manage to keep the garlicky and numbingly spicy sauce from dripping onto my clothes while I'm shoveling these into my mouth.  

CostModerate

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party

Recipe CourseAppetizer, Hors D'oeuvre, Main Course

MealDinner, Lunch

Taste and TextureMeaty, Savory

Ingredients

  • Chile Oil Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (10 g) finely chopped dried Chinese red chiles
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • Kosher salt
  •  
  • Dumpling Ingredients
  • 1 pound (455 g) fatty (80/20) ground pork
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) chicken consemmé or canned lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (1-pound/455-g) package round dumpling wrappers

Instructions

  1. Make the chile oil: Coarsely grind the peppercorns and fennel using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Heat the peanut and coconut oils in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chiles, garlic, and peppercorn mixture. As soon as the chiles turn a darker shade of red, removes the pan from the heat. Let the oil cool completely, then season to taste with salt. The oil can be refridgerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.

  2. Make the dumplings: In a large bowl, combine the pork, egg, wine, sesame oil, salt, and ginger. Use your hands to work all the ingredients together until well mixed. It's best to use your hands because you can get everythign incorporated into the meat without making the pieces of meat too small. Add the consommé and fold it in with your hands until just incorporated.

  3. If you have time, cover and refrigerate the filling until nice and cold, up to 2 days. The filling will be easier to spoon into your wrappers when it's chilled.

  4. When you're ready to cook, follow the wrapping instructions, using the tortellini fold (see the instructions below). Boil the dumplings in salted water until the skins wrinkle and the filling cooks through, about 6 minutes. Drain and immediately transfer to a large bowl and add the chile oil (see Note section below). Gently toss until the dumplings well coated. Divide among serving dishes and pour the chile oil from the bowl on top.

Tortellini Fold

  1. Start with the Half-Moon.

  2. Dab a little water on the two corners, then fold one side toward the center.

  3. Fold the other side to the center.

  4. Press the ends together to seal. The filled center will plump up like a belly, with the edges framing it like a bonnet. 

Notes

If you're serving these to guests with different levels of heat tolerance, pass the chile oil at the table instead. That way, everyone can get the dose they want.   

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