There’s a dumpling restaurant in my neighbourhood that I’ve walked by so many times without even the slightest desire to try it out simply because the restaurant had a somewhat tacky name. “I Love Dumplings”. Really now? Living in Melbourne, we are definitely spoilt for choice with dumpling houses and yum cha restaurants all over the city and suburbs. To me, I love dumplings sounded like another run of the mill joint.
I was wrong. This is truly a case of not ‘judging a book by its cover’ or better yet ‘judging a restaurant by its name’. We finally went to check out the restaurant after seeing a high rating on Urbanspoon. (By the way, whoever doesn’t believe in social media for their business is not doing themselves any favours.)
There’s more than just dumplings, although those meaty parcels are totally rad. There are fan favourites like crispy lamb ribs and spicy fried beans. All hearty, flavour packed and very reasonably priced.
One of the dishes that I loved the most was the wontons in spicy sauce. Succulent pork wontons served in a dish of spicy, sweet, tangy sauce. It’s supposed to be a Sichuan specialty. Sichuan dishes are famous for it’s high chilli factor and can usually cause a blazing riot in the mouth. This dish was surprising subtle, despite how red the sauce looked.
I loved it so much I had to replicate it at home. This was a recipe that I adapted from Epicurious.
Quick and easy to make, low in carbs (yes!) and totally delicious. This is going to be a regular dinner option for the hubs and me in this new year!
WONTONS IN SICHUAN SPICY SAUCE
1 packet wonton pastry (available in Asian grocery stores)
150g minced pork
50g minced prawns (optional, replace with 50g of minced pork if not using)
Handful of finely chopped spring onions (scallions)
1 tsp light soy
1 tsp Shaoxing wine (chinese cooking wine)
½ tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chicken stock powder
Dash of white pepper
Mix all the ingredients together.Cover and let it sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes to marinade. Wrap wontons with half a tablespoon of meat mixture each. A quick way to wrap the wonton is to fold the square pastry over the mixture in half and make a triangle. Moisten the edges with a bit of water and seal edges tight.
Prepared in an individual serving dish, good for about 6-8 dumplings per serve.
2 tsp sweet, sticky dark soy sauce (kecap manis)
½ tsp light soy sauce
½ tsp black vinegar
2 tsp (or to taste) of chilli oil with course ground chilli bits (available in Asian grocery stores)
Drizzle of sesame oil
finely shredded fresh ginger
finely chopped spring onions
ready fried onions
Add all sauce ingredients into a serving dish. Mix well, taste and adjust to your liking.
Boil up wontons (once they start floating, they’re cooked), drain and serve directly in the dishes with the sauce. Garnish with ginger, spring onions and fried onions.