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Sichuan Chili Oil Wontons (Hongyou Chaoshou, 红油抄手)

Servings: 66 wontons
Author: Kathy Yuan | The Mala Market | Inspiration & Ingredients for Sichuan Cooking


Congjiangshui (Scallion Ginger Water)

  • 1 thumbs rinsed, unpeeled fresh ginger, smashed
  • 2 large scallions, smashed
  • ¼ cup cold water

Suanshui (Garlic Water)

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, roughly minced
  • water just enough to cover

Chaoshou (Wontons)

  • 250 grams ground pork shoulder (approx. 9 ounces) see note
  • ½ teaspoon salt more or less to taste
  • teaspoon ground white pepper optional
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons scallion-ginger water, divided
  • 1 package wrappers (we use Twin Marquis Shanghai style) comes in 16-ounce package
  • 1 small bowl reserved water for sealing dough

Hongyou Chaoshou for one

  • leafy greens of choice (pea shoots/wandoujian if available), washed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese light soy sauce (Zhongba preferred)
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 2 pinches sugar
  • dash ground huajiao (Sichuan pepper) to taste, see note
  • pinch MSG optional
  • 2 teaspoons oil from chili oil
  • 1 teaspoon flakes from chili oil
  • ½ tablespoon garlic water
  • ½ teaspoon pork lard
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped on diagonal
  • 10 chaoshou
  • ½ cup reserved cold water for cooking, more if larger pot
  • splash hot broth


Congjiangshui (Scallion Ginger Water)

  • Smash the ginger and scallion against a cutting board with the flat side of a cleaver. Chop the scallions in half and slice them lengthwise into long slivers. Place in shallow bowl and cover with ¼ cup of cold water for 30 minutes.
  • After soaking, strain the ginger and scallion from the water, squeezing out as much extra juice as possible. Set aside for filling.

Suanshui (Garlic Water)

  • Smash garlic to peel and mince roughly. Place in small dipping bowl and add just enough water to cover. Set aside for dressing.

Folding Chaoshou

  • Mince pork if starting from whole pork shoulder (see note). Otherwise, in a medium mixing bowl, add (in order) ground pork, salt, ground white pepper, egg and sesame oil.
    Start mixing vigorously in one direction. Once egg is entirely incorporated, add 1 tablespoon of the reserved scallion-ginger water. Resume power-stirring, until visible moisture is entirely absorbed, before adding 1 more tablespoon of the water at a time. Repeat as needed. Continue mixing in this way for 10-15 minutes total, all in one direction. At this point, the mixture should look and feel sticky, lighter in color and gummy. Cover and rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  • Set aside a baking sheet or cutting board and a dipping bowl of clean water. Retrieve the meat filling from the fridge. Laying a wrapper in the palm of your nondominant hand like a diamond, add about a ½ teaspoon of filling. Wet the top corner and fold the diamond down into a triangle with the tip pointing toward you. Wet the corner of the side opposite your dominant hand. Squeeze both wings of the triangle between your index and thumb on each hand, then twist them toward the center until the two tips "cross" or overlap. Press and seal. Set aside and repeat until all the filling and wrappers are used up.

Serving Hongyou Chaoshou For One

  • In a wok or large, wide pot, add water two-thirds full and bring to a boil. While waiting for the pot to boil, wash and drain your leafy greens of choice.
  • In an individual serving bowl, add light soy sauce, salt, sugar, ground huajiao, MSG, chili oil*, lard, garlic water and chopped scallion. Resist the urge to pour more soy sauce, as it easily overpowers the rest of the hongyou flavor.
    *Skim the red oil from the top of the chili oil jar first, then dredge up solid flakes from the bottom.
  • When the pot has reached a rolling boil, add chaoshou (10 = average adult serving). Stir immediately after adding chaoshou to avoid sticking. When the pot comes back to boiling, wait about 40 seconds, then add the reserved cold water. Spoon a small ladleful of broth into the assembled dressing bowls (best described as a "splash" — less is more! Beware that turning this soupy dilutes the hongyou flavor you just created).
    When the pot returns to a boil and the chaoshou are "rolling" around at the surface, add the drained greens. While they cook briefly, check the chaoshou skin. Remove with a slotted spoon once white edges are cooked through and add to serving bowl. Once bowl is assembled, top with veggies and extra scallions for garnish. Serve immediately and enjoy.
  • Reserve the broth for a clear soup and for washing dishes, soap-free!


Freshly ground pork shoulder (前腿肉, qiántuǐ ròu) is highly absorbent and the best-tasting cut for fillings. Look for a boneless, skinless cut of pork shoulder about 70/30, no less than 25% fat, or the meat will be tougher and less tasty. Skinless pork belly with the top fat layer removed can also be used. You can take a chunk of meat to fresh ground pork in no time with a cleaver (see video in post), but I have no clue whether it's a good idea to do this with a chef's knife (probably not). If mincing your own pork is not an option for you currently, no worries!
One 16 ounce Twin Marquis Shanghai style package includes 66-67 wrappers. This recipe makes 66-67 chaoshou with no filling leftover. 
Slide a full baking sheet of chaoshou into the freezer and freeze for 30 minutes to an hour. Then, take out the baking sheet and transfer chaoshou one-by-one into a plastic bag (we reuse thin produce bags from the supermarket) or container of choice. This prevents the chaoshou from sticking together! If you throw chaoshou straight into a bag or Tupperware and freeze directly, you'll be stuck prying delicate wrappers (unsuccessfully) from one solid block.
Why we reuse produce bags: 1) reduce, reuse, recycle! 2) their malleable shape means we can fit this bag anywhere in our packed freezer, in any configuration. Resealable freezer bags are poorly shaped, bulky in tight spaces and redundant by comparison, so we don't bother.
GROUND HUAJIAO (Sichuan pepper):
Toast whole huajiao in a dry skillet 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. Sichuan pepper powder will retain its potent flavor and numbing punch for only a few weeks.