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Sweet and Sour Ground Lamb Dumplings

On a visit to Shanghai, China a few years ago, my husband Aaron and I took a food tour where we were introduced to Western Chinese cuisine from places like Xi’an, a cuisine that heavily features lamb in its dishes. The combination of Chinese and Muslim cuisines influenced this recipe where I combine classic Asian dumplings with a sweet and sour seasoned lamb filling. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Keyword boiled dumpling, dumpling, ground lamb, lamb, wonton
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4


For the dumplings:

  • pounds ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons shaoxing wine*
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon roasted ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 36 (3½") wonton wrappers

For serving:

  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper
  • ¼ cup Chinese black vinegar
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Handful cilantro leaves


For the dumplings:

  • In a medium mixing bowl combine the lamb, shaoxing wine, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, green onions, coriander, Sichuan pepper, white pepper and eggs with hands until completely combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Fill a small bowl with water. Working one wrapper at a time, place 1 teaspoon of filling in the center, brush the edges with the water, and fold the wrapper in half, forming a triangle. Next, overlap the opposite corners, brushing with water to seal together. Repeat with the remaining wrappers until all of the lamb mixture has been used.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Working in batches, add the wontons and cook, until firm and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Continue until all of the wontons have been cooked.

For serving:

  • Combine the canola and red pepper in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until the oil is fragrant and the oil turns a pale red but the red pepper flakes are not burnt, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat then strain the red pepper flakes from the oil and discard. Store the chili oil in an airtight container until ready to use.
  • Add dumplings to a bowl and serve topped with chili oil, Chinese black vinegar, green onion and cilantro.


*Note: Shaoxing rice wine is a sweet wine that can be found at most liquor stores. If it is not available then substitute the rice wine with sake or sherry.