Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Potsticker Dipping Sauce #ChileWeek

This is a killer dipping sauce for potstickers, egg rolls, spring rolls or tempura - especially if you're looking for a dragon! Don't be scared though - there's just enough sweet and sour to accent the flames, and it even gets better with age.

Potsticker Dipping Sauce

I was a huge fan of "Chinese" or "Asian-style" food growing up. I put those phrases in quotation marks because, as any self-respecting North American knows, the chow mein and ginger beef we  love (and order more often than we want to admit) is nothing like the real stuff from the various regions of the actual country. However, what will be will be, and for all its lack of authenticity and excess oil I defy you to find a college or university dorm which isn't visited by a local joint a few times a week.

But I digress. Yes, Chinese-Canadian food has always had a soft spot in my heart, but it was only when I got older that I decided I liked the appetizers on the menu in addition to the mains. Before, I would pass on the spring and egg rolls, turn my nose up at dumplings and leave my soup bowl empty, knowing that decadence in the form of  Honey Garlic Beef, Tai Dop Voy, Moo Shu Vegetables and my all time favourite Singapore Noodles (Singapore Mei Fun). About the time I started Grade 8., though, a new restaurant had opened up by my school. While their rice was on the mushy side, and their drinks warm (hey, an all you can eat meal was $6.50 with tax, can't complain), they managed to make the best egg rolls, fried wontons and Japanese-esque potstickers I have ever had. Perfectly crisp all over, without being oily, they were stuffed with roast pork, shrimp, cabbage, bean sprouts and any number of other things. In fact, they were even of the rare breed that were still good cold - and I envied those who walked to school and could grab some for lunch on eat-in days.

While the majority of my school friends were in the "plum sauce or die" camp, I went for the heat. Chinese mustard mixed with a bit of the plum sauce for sweetness was definitely my "jam". When I moved away for university, one of our cafeteria stations had something even better - a chile flecked, slightly thick sweet garlic sauce which basically laughed as it hurt you should you eat too much on its own. With the potstickers and steamed dumplings there, though, everything became a glorious, happy medium.

This sauce is not identical to the one from my youth, but it is dang good on its own. Its not sweet, but when paired with plum sauce (or the weird cherry sauce stuff for chicken balls) its a lovely accompaniment to savoury dumplings and eggrolls. Purists will appreciate dunking their potstickers and relishing the flames. Either way, its a great #ChileWeek condiment!

Potsticker Dipping Sauce
Makes ~1 cup, 8 (2-tbsp) servings
3.5 oz g red finger or cayenne chillies, quartered (seed for less heat)
2 Thai chilies, halved
.75 oz ginger, peeled
1.75 oz garlic, peeled
2.8 oz white vinegar
1 tsp salt
½ tbsp raw sugar
  1. Place chilies, ginger and garlic into the bowl and chop finely.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until mostly smooth.
  3. Transfer to a microwave safe bowl and heat on HI for 3-4 minutes, until almost boiling.
  4. Ladle into jars and can in a waterbath for 10 minutes.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 19.0
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 2.7 mg
Total Carbs: 4.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
Protein: 0.7 g

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