Sweet and savory. Slippery and slick. Jùicy and tender. Hot and soùr. Garlicky. So. Freaking. Good. These are all words that shoùld enter yoùr head as yoù slide back a bowl of sùanla chaoshoù, the Sichùan-style wontons that come coated in an intensely aromatic saùce made with vinegar, garlic, and roasted chili oil. It's the saùce that brings on the contrasts with its almost overly intense flavor, thanks to sweet Chinkiang vinegar, soy saùce, and plenty of chili oil with crùnchy bits of fried dried chilies. 



Sichùan-Style Wontons in Hot and Soùr Vinegar and Chili Oil Saùce Recipe

INGREDIENTS

For the Wontons:
  • 1 poùnd groùnd pork shoùlder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sùgar
  • 1 teaspoon finely groùnd white pepper
  • 1 1/2 oùnces minced scallions or Chinese chives (aboùt 2 scallions)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic (aboùt 2 mediùm cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 40 thin sqùare wonton wrappers

For the Saùce:
  • 4 to 8 whole hot Chinese dried red peppers (or arbol chilies), stems removed
  • 2 teaspoons sichùan peppercorns
  • 1/4 cùp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar (or a mixtùre of 2 tablespoons rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons soy saùce
  • 1 tablespoon sùgar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (aboùt 3 mediùm cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

To Cook and Serve:
  • 2 tablespoons lightly crùshed roasted peanùts (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems


DIRECTIONS

For the Wontons: Combine pork, salt, sùgar, white pepper, scallions, garlic, and wine in a mediùm bowl and knead and tùrn with clean hands ùntil the mixtùre is homogenoùs and starting to feel tacky/sticky, aboùt 1 minùte. Transfer a teaspoon-sized amoùnt to a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high power ùntil cooked throùgh, aboùt 10 seconds. Taste and adjùst seasoning with more salt, white pepper, and/or sùgar if desired.

Set ùp a work station with a small bowl of water, a clean dish towel for wiping yoùr fingers, a bowl with the wonton filling, a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet for the finished wontons, and a stack of wonton wrappers covered in plastic wrap.

To form dùmplings hold one wrapper on top of a flat hand. Ùsing a spoon, place a 2 teaspoon- to 1 tablespoon-sized amoùnt of filling in the center of the wrapper. Ùse the tip of the finger on yoùr other hand to very gently moisten the edge of the wrapper with water (do not ùse too mùch water). Wipe fingertip dry on kitchen towel.

Carefùlly fold one tip of the wonton wrapper across to meet the opposite tip to form a triangle. Seal edges of the triangle, carefùlly pùshing oùt all air from within the wrapper as yoù work. Pùll the two corners on the hypotenùse of the newly formed triangle to meet, moistening one with a little water, crossing them and pinching to seal (see here for more detailed step by step instrùctions). Transfer finished dùmplings to the parchment lined baking sheet.

For the Saùce: Place chilies and Sichùan peppercorns on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high ùntil toasted and aromatic, aboùt 15 seconds. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or a food processor and crùsh ùntil it's aboùt the textùre of store-boùght crùshed red pepper flakes. Transfer to a small saùcepan.

Heat oil in a skillet over mediùm heat ùntil shimmering. Immediately poùr hot oil over chili/peppercorn mixtùre (it shoùld sizzle). Let cool for 5 minùtes then transfer to a mediùm bowl. Add sesame oil and set aside.

Combine sùgar, vinegar, soy saùce, and garlic in a small bowl and stir ùntil sùgar is dissolved. Add chili oil mixtùre. Set aside ùntil ready to ùse. (Saùce can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for ùp to 2 weeks).

To Cook and Serve: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 12 to 16 wontons and cook ùntil they are completely cooked throùgh, aboùt 4 minùtes. Drain wontons and transfer to a warm serving platter. Spoon saùce on top. Sprinkle with peanùts and minced cilantro and serve immediately.



If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it. I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!