This recipe offers a convenient way to enjoy suanla chaoshou—Sichuanese folded-arm wontons in a hot and sour sauce—by using frozen dumplings.
While wontons will work perfectly, you can use any Asian variety that can stand up to boiling. We like Sajo's frozen mandu, or Korean dumplings, which have the "folded arms" of Sichuan's wontons and that same slippery mouthfeel. Plus, they're pretty meaty!
Suanla translates to sour-hot, so vinegar and chili oil act as building blocks for the sauce. The best choice is Chinkiang or black vinegar (which you can substitute with two parts rice vinegar + one part balsamic vinegar). For the chili oil, use a brand you love: Lee Kum Kee, Lao Gan Ma, your choice.
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1-inch knob ginger, peeled and grated
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 3 tbsp Chinkiang or black vinegar
- 1 tbsp chili oil, chili crisp, or chili garlic sauce; to taste
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 12–15 pieces frozen dumplings, preferably the kind recommended for boiling
- 1 tbsp minced spring onions
Prepare chili sauce: In a large bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, and sesame oil. Taste and add more vinegar or chili sauce as desired—you want it sour-spicy! Set aside.
Boil dumplings: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat slightly so the water doesn’t boil over. Using tongs or chopsticks, gently lower dumplings into the water and cook through. Depending on the size of your dumplings, this can take about 5–8 minutes. Check the package instructions!
Once the dumplings float, that means they’re almost done cooking. You can cut one open to make sure they’re fully cooked.
Add to chili sauce: Once cooked, remove wontons with a slotted spoon or a spider strainer. Drain well and transfer dumplings into the sauce. Scatter spring onions over the dumplings. Serve immediately, stirring everything together to coat dumplings in the sauce.