Updated: May 18
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Like many of the things that I make, my Kicked-Up Dumpling Sauce is not made from scratch, but is a "Kicked-Up" version of something that I got at the supermarket.
You might think that I'd find that embarrassing, but I don't. Consider this: Except frozen entrées and such, everything you make in your kitchen is a kicked up version of something you got in the supermarket... so I'm comfortable with claiming this as my own creation. Maybe we can bill it as an "After Market" accessory.
Dumpling sauces like the one shown here are readily available in my town because there is a huge Asian community here in Quincy, Massachusetts. That may not be the case where you live, but if you search around you will probably find a dumpling sauce or dipping sauce somewhere... Kikkoman products are pretty common in most supermarkets and I think they can be really tasty.
The trouble with them is that they are a little too tasty in the wrong way.
The problem is that every store bought dumpling sauce contains way too much Soy Sauce. It is always the first ingredient. Unless you just drizzle a tiny bit over your dumplings, the flavor proportions are wrong in my opinion. When you actually dip a dumpling into it, the flavor of the dumpling is bulldozed by the sauce.
What these sauces need is a little finesse, and finesse happens to be where Bob's Diner excels.
You are the Chef now !!!
You can ignore what I tell you and do
something totally different if you want
But I recommend that you try these modifications first. See if you like the flavors, then mess around with the recipe the next time. I'd love to hear what you do with it.
MAKING THE SAUCE
In addition to a bottle of basic dipping sauce, here's what I use to make
Bobby's Kicked-Up Dumpling Sauce.
The bottle on the LEFT is a Japanese Rice Vinegar. All vinegar is aromatic, but rice vinegars seem more so than the kind we normally use in salad dressings. There are many different brands of rice vinegar, and some seem stronger than others. I just tried this brand last week and although it is good, it is a little more mild and not as aromatic as some of the pure rice vinegars that I have tried. This one is made from other grains in addition to rice, so maybe that's why.
The point is that the more aromatic the vinegar, the more it will Kick Up your dipping sauce. Its purpose it to knock down some of the overpowering soy flavor of the bottled sauce, AND knock back your head a little when you inhale its aroma.
The bottle on the RIGHT is a Chinese cooking wine. It adds a distinctive flavor to whatever you put it in. I use it as a buffering agent to balance with the vinegar. Both together help to thin the soy flavor and make the dip more delicious. Both of these items are in this particular dipping sauce recipe, but in the past, I have made it with just the rice vinegar. Without the wine you get more of the "edgy" flavor and aroma of the vinegar.
However, the critical ingredient is Fresh Ginger. I have tried it with the powdered, ground ginger that you can get in the spice aisle. It's better than nothing, but not much. Get some of the fresh stuff, you will not regret it.
OK... So let get busy!
bottled dipping sauce
(2) - 3 inch pieces of Fresh Ginger Root
1 or 2 stalks of scallion
Chinese cooking wine
Over your waste bowl or garbage disposal, scrape the brown "bark" off of the pieces of ginger root with the back (dull side) of your chef knife. There's no need to use a peeler because it takes off too much of the good stuff. The bark come off very easily.
Diagonally slice the scallions into 1/4" pieces and put them into a bowl
Thinly slice the peeled ginger lengthwise, and then stack the slices and slice it again into little "toothpicks". Chop the toothpicks into thirds and then put them into the bowl
Mash the ginger with a fork or spoon to squeeze out a bit of the pungent juice
Pour some of the bottled sauce over the ginger but leave the bowl about half full. At this point it would be a good idea to dip your pinkie in and taste it. For me, the flavor of soy sauce is overpoweringly strong. It has potential, but it's too much for me.
Pour in about 2 tablespoons of the cooking wine
A little at a time, pour rice vinegar into the bowl, mix it around and taste it again. At some point, you will start to see the soy flavor has become nicely balanced by the vinegar and wine. If you add too much vinegar, add more wine. If you over do both, add more bottled sauce.
Pour your mixture into individual dipping bowls to serve it with your freshly made Pan-Fried Pot Stickers. CLICK HERE to see how to make them.
So, Until the Next Time ... So Long from Bob's Diner
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