Fried Shrimp Dumplings (Xia Guo Tieh) with Soy Vinegar Dipping Sauce

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The trick to a good dumpling is to finely chop all the ingredients so that with each nibble the filling melts in the mouth with the detection of a little ‘bite’ between mouthfuls.

The tedious part is all the chopping and preparation but I promise you it pays: Xia Guo Tieh would be less delicious without the effort. The shortcut here is to use bought wonton wrappers from your local Chinese supermarket. They can be frozen so you can stock up. The dipping sauce is simple and the star ingredient – Chinese black rice vinegar – is aromatically earthy and delicately tangy.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • cups vegetable oil

For the Filling

  • 12 oz raw tiger shrimps, shelled, deveined and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon shaosing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • pinch of salt and sugar
  • 1 medium red chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 10 wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg yolk

For the Soy Vinegar Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 medium chili, seeded and finely chopped

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl. Stir well in a clockwise direction (we Chinese are very superstitious!).

  2. Take a tablespoon of the filling and place in the center of a wonton wrapper. Brush the edges of the wrapper with egg yolk and fold one corner to the other to form a triangular parcel. Press to seal then gather the sealed side of the parcel to form ripples around the edge of the dumpling. Repeat with the rest of the filling and wrappers.
  3. Heat a wok or pan over high heat then add the oil (take care if frying in a wok). It is hot enough when a small piece of bread turns golden brown in 15 seconds. Fry the dumplings, in batches if necessary, and turn them so they do not overcook on one side. Fry until golden brown, for about 4–5 minutes. Once cooked, drain the excess oil from the dumplings on paper towels.
  4. Mix all the ingredients for the soy vinegar dipping sauce and serve the dumplings immediately with the sauce.