15 April 2011

Dipping Sauces for Dumplings

We got a lot of dumplings now. Time to eat, yah? Wait! We need some dip, my man. Sauce brings balance to the dumpling. The tang and piquancy of the sauce compliment the bland starchiness of the wrapper and the savory richness of the filling.

My sauce ethos splits in two ways, the premixed sauces, and the mix your own.

Mix Your Own:
The easiest for you. You just set out your bottles and tubs of ingredients and condiments, and your guests mix their own little dish of sauce. If you've been to a good local asian restaurant, or even PF Chang's (how spicy do you want your chang sauce? lol), you've got the idea. This works well if dumplings are the star of the meal and especially if you have several different flavors of dumplings. Here is a small list of items that I like and usually have around.
Light soy sauce
Vinegar- Either a white, rice, apple, or malt. I've been using cane with nice results too.
Toasted sesame oil
Chili Oil- cook dry red chili flakes (or crush your own chili japonese peppers) in some vegetable oil until nice and toasty. I make mine with lots of chili solids compared to oil, because I really like the 'goop' more then the oil itself.
Garlic Oil- cook lots of minced garlic in some vegetable oil until slightly toasty.
Mustard- Chinese style made from dry powder, wasabi, or even some nice euro style mustard.
Chile/garlic paste
Siracha- Wildly popular Vietnamese style hotsauce.
Gochujang, chogochujang, ssamjang- Korean fermented chili paste and its variations.
Fish Sauce
Sesame Paste- East Asian paste is usually made from toasted seeds. I suppose tahini could work. Or even peanut butter.

Premixes: Usually I just make a dish of suitable sauce when I make a batch of dumplings for an event or potluck. You can also make a big batch from your own combo of 'mix your own' ingredients.

Toyomansi- A mix of soy sauce and juice of the Filipino lime (kalamansi). Think of it as ponzu's louder, brasher cousin.
Sinamak- Filipino spiced vinegar. Can range from just chiles in vinegar, to a more complex range of spices.
Smashed garlic cloves in vinegar- Usually a chinese red, black, or chianking vinegar is used. Malt vinegar would tasty as well.
Julienned ginger in vinegar- Same as garlic in vinegar.
Nouc Mam Cham- Vietnamese dipping sauce based on fish sauce.

And so forth... I'm looking forward to adding a Ma La sauce to my repertoire, but I'm still working out the kinks.

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