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Chengdu Zhongshuijiao (钟水饺) Concocted Soy/Red Oil Dumpling

Pork dumplings adapted from Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook; concocted soy sauce adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop's Land of Plenty.
Servings: 60 dumplings
Author: Taylor Holliday | The Mala Market | Cooking Sichuan in America


  • Concocted Soy Sauce (makes about 2/3 cup)
  • cup Chinese dark soy sauce
  • cup water
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2- inch piece of cinnamon or cassia bark
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole Sichuan pepper
  • 1- inch piece of ginger, peeled and smashed
  • Pork Dumplings (makes about 60)
  • 2 packages round dumpling wrappers
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 15 scallions, minced
  • 3 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons sesame oil
  • teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan pepper (see note)
  • 1 egg
  • Chili Oil (see recipes on The Mala Market)
  • Minced garlic
  • Toasted sesame seeds


  • Make the concocted soy sauce by combining all of its ingredients in a small saucepan and bringing to a boil. Once at a boil, lower heat and summer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. It will reduce and become a bit syrupy. Allow to cool, then strain into a container.
  • Prepare dumpling filling by mixing pork, scallions, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, Sichuan pepper and egg in a large bowl, stirring to combine thoroughly.
  • Remove dumpling wrappers from package, but keep them covered with a damp paper towel so they don't dry out as you wrap. Have a small bowl of water nearby. Take a single dumpling wrapper and, using your fingertip, wet the edges all the way around the dumpling, which will help it seal. Put 1½ teaspoon pork filling in the center of the wrapper, fold edges to meet and seal tightly. A simple seal will do, or you can pleat the edges along one side for a fancier look. Sit dumplings aside under a damp paper towel until you have wrapped them all. (At this point, you can freeze a portion of the dumplings if you like, to be freshly cooked at a later date.)
  • Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Put 10 to 15 dumplings into the water, or as many as will comfortably fit in your pot without crowding the dumplings. Using the tried-and-true Chinese method for cooking dumplings, wait for the water to return to a full boil and then pour in enough cold water to completely stop the boil. Wait for the pot to return to a boil, then repeat the process, adding enough water to stop the boil. After the dumplings return to a boil for the third time, the dumplings are done! (Though do test one to make sure. I learned three times in Sichuan, but Mrs. Chiang actually returns the dumplings to boil a fourth time.)
  • Ladle dumplings into individual serving bowls and top with a generous amount of the concocted soy sauce and the chili oil with flakes, generally in a 2:1 ratio. Garnish with a small amount of minced garlic and toasted sesame seeds. Serve hot.


Ground Sichuan pepper: Sort Sichuan peppercorns and discard any black seeds or twigs. Toast in a dry skillet or toaster oven until pods start to smell very fragrant, but do not brown them. Let peppercorns cool, then grind in a spice grinder or in a mortar & pestle to your desired coarseness. Sift out any yellow husks that don't break down. Sichuan pepper powder will retain its potent flavor and numbing punch for only a few weeks.