All Din Tai Fung fans know how good their Spicy Wontons are. Here’s my copycat! Wontons served in a spicy, savoury, homemade chilli sauce. Easy. Fast. OBSESSED.
Din Tai Fung’s famous Spicy Wontons!
Ahhh, wontons. I love those bite size dumplings with irresistible slippery flappy bits. I love them in soup form. One of my ultimate 10 minutes convenience meals.
But my favourite way is with a spicy chilli oil sauce. Specifically, the Din Tai Fung version, a global dumpling chain that declares itself makers of the best dumplings in the world (and many people agree!)
The Din Tai Fung chilli sauce for wontons is less oily, less vinegary and slightly less spicy than standard Chinese dumpling houses. Because of this, they are generous with the amount of sauce so you can eat each slippery, plump, juicy wonton with a spoonful of the sauce without blowing your head off with a chilli explosion.
Any other Din Tai Fung devotees reading this who can vouch for how good they are?? I LOVE ‘EM!
The spicy chilli sauce
The key, unsurprisingly, to the awesomeness that is the Din Tai Fung Spicy Wontons is their secret chilli sauce. Team RecipeTin is mighty proud that we cracked the code!
While easy recipes will use just chilli oil and maybe some chilli paste or chilli crisp, the reason Din Tai Fung’s sauce is so tasty it because it’s flavoured with garlic, spices and sauces. It’s also got a lovely savouriness to it, with more flavour than what you can get from just using salt or soy sauce.
I won’t say ours is a dead ringer but it’s very, very close. Actually, Team RecipeTin prefers ours to Din Tai Fung’s because it’s got fresher flavours, it’s less oily, and it’s not as sweet. Intentionally!
What you need to make the chilli sauce
Chinese chicken stock powder – The secret ingredient! It’s the tastier salt. It’s got a cleaner, less artificial flavour than Western chickens stock powders. In fact, when I run out of liquid chicken stock/broth, I use Chinese stock powder mixed with water, over western chicken stock powders.
I use Knorr brand, yellow can with a green lid. Get it at any Asian grocery store here in Australia, it’s so common, and good value, a little bit goes far. Substitute with any regular chicken stock powder, or crumbled bouillon cube.
Chilli oil – Any Chinese brand red chilli oil (check the label). Chili oils vary in spiciness between Asian countries, so best to stick with Chinese as in my experience, they are relatively consistent in spiciness between brands.
Alternatives – Chilli crisp will also work here but obviously adds lots more crispy “bits” into the sauce and less oil! For a non spicy option, substitute some or all with sesame oil (toasted, the brown oil, not yellow un-toasted). Obviously no longer spicy, but a lovely sesame-forward flavour!
Sichuan pepper – Whiteish pepper powder that has a “cold” spiciness to it, used in famous dishes like Kung Pao chicken. I use pre-ground for convenience here because it’s a small amount, just 1/4 teaspoon. Kudos to anyone who makes their own: toast, grind, sift, measure!
Chinese Five Spice Powder – Blend of (you guessed it!) five spices that is sold at regular grocery stores, in the dried spices aisle.
Chilli flakes (red pepper flakes) – Takes the sauce to “pretty spicy” range but very enjoyable for people who love spicy Asian food. Omit, or stir in at the end bit by bit, for less spicy.
Soy sauce – Use either light or all purpose soy sauce. But not dark soy sauce – flavour is too strong and the colour is too intense! More on which soy sauce to use when here.
Garlic – Fresh (don’t talk to me about jarred!), finely minced with a knife or use a garlic crusher.
Rice vinegar – For a touch of tang, to balance out the other flavours. Substitute with any clear vinegar, or Chinese black vinegar.
Sugar – Just a small touch to mimic the flavour of the Din Tai Fung chilli sauce. Though ours is less sweet than theirs, I actually find the Din Tai Fung one a little too sweet.
You can use any wontons you want, homemade or store bought! Though there’s a hierarchy, unsurpsingly. 🙂 Homemade wontons trumps Asian store frozen wontons trump regular grocery store wontons.
There is no shame in buying wontons. Frozen are pretty good these days! The classic is pork and prawns/shrimp (this is the filling in my wontons recipe). But feel free to use any type of wonton.
How to make Din Tai Fung’s Spicy Wontons
Ready to see how easy it is to make? Here we go!
Sauce flavourings – Put the spices and garlic into a metal or heat-proof bowl (garlic, red chilli flakes, Sichuan pepper, five spice powder, sugar and stock powder).
Heat oils – Heat the chilli oil and vegetable oil in a small pan until hot.
Sizzle! Pour the hot oil over the garlic etc. Enjoy the sizzle! But don’t worry, it’s not scary, it doesn’t spit. Then give it a quick mix.
Mix in soy and liquids – Next, whisk in the soy sauce, vinegar and a little hot water which we use to dilute the otherwise very intense flavoured sauce. Too intense to slop up spoonfuls with the wontons!
And that’s it! Just set aside until ready to use. It’s fine if it cools down, the heat from the wontons will reheat it.
Cook your homemade or store-bought wontons in boiling water. You will know when they’re done because they will rise to the surface (they sink to the bottom when raw). Freshly made non-frozen wontons will cook in 4 minutes and frozen ones will cook in 6 to 8 minutes. Don’t thaw, just plonk them in frozen!
Sauce them! Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked wontons directly from the water into a serving bowl. Then pour over the chilli sauce, sprinkle with a little green onion (if you want) and EAT!
(PS If you’re brave, add an extra drizzle of chilli oil. I like to be brave. 🙂 )
Scooping up a good spoonful of the sauce with every wonton is essential here. In fact, as mentioned earlier, the sauce is intentionally designed as such. Just shovel the whole spoonful in and eat in one mouthful!
This really is very similar to the Din Tai Fung spicy wontons. Though, as noted above, less sweet and less oily. Both good things!
Big shout out to my brother and our Chef JB for doing the legwork to crack the code! You’d be surprised how many iterations it took before we were all in agreement it was as good / better than Din Tai Fung’s. It’s not a hard recipe to make, but getting the ratios just right and figuring out the flavourings was a challenge. The Chinese stock powder was the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle. 🙂
Spicy Asian Food Lovers, rejoice! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Spicy Wontons – Din Tai Fung!
Chilli oil sauce for wontons:
- 2 garlic cloves , very finely minced
- 1 tsp caster / superfine sugar (sub regular sugar)
- 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (red pepper flakes), OPTIONAL, for spicy food lovers (Note 2)
- 1/4 tsp sichuan pepper powder (Note 3)
- 1/4 tsp Chinese five spice powder (Note 4)
- 1/2 tsp Chinese chicken stock powder , or regular western stock powder (Note 5)
- 2 tbsp Chinese chilli oil (⚠️ Note 5), adj for spiciness (sub with sesame oil)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (sub canola, peanut or other natural oil)
- 2 1/2 tsp light soy sauce , or all-purpose soy (Note 6)
- 1 tsp rice vinegar (sub other clean vinegar)
- 2 1/2 tbsp hot water (just tap is fine)
Chilli oil sauce for wontons:
- Mix spices – Put the garlic, sugar, chilli flakes, sichuan pepper, five spices and stock powder in a medium mixing bowl.
- Heat oil – Heat the chilli oil and vegetable oil in a small frying pan over medium heat until hot. Pour over garlic mixture. Enjoy the sizzle! (Don't worry, it doesn't spit)
- Add sauces: – Whisk in soy sauce, rice vinegar and hot water. The oil will remain a little separated on top. Set aside while you make wontons.
- Cook wontons – Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add wontons and cook until they float: 4 minutes for freshly made, 6 to 8 minutes from frozen.
- Assemble – Transfer to serving dish using a slotted spoon. Pour over sauce, add an extra drizzle of chilli oil (if you dare!), sprinkle with green onion. Serve immediately!
1. Homemade wontons trump Asian store frozen wontons, trump regular grocery store wontons. If I don’t have homemade wontons in the freezer, it makes me insecure so I’ll do an emergency run to the Asian store. Classic wonton filling is pork and prawns/shrimp (this is the filling in my wontons recipe). But feel free to use any type of wonton! 2. Chilli flakes – Takes the sauce to “pretty spicy” range but very enjoyable for people who love spicy Asian food. Omit, or stir in at the end bit by bit, for less spicy. 3. Sichuan pepper – Whitish pepper powder that has a “cold” spiciness to it, used in famous dishes like Kung Pan chicken. I use pre-ground for convenience here because it’s a small amount. Kudos to anyone who makes their own: toast, grind, sift, measure. 4. Chinese Five Spice Powder – blend of (you guessed it!) five spices that is sold at regular grocery stores, in the dried spices aisle. 5. Chinese chicken stock powder (photo in post) – Slightly cleaner, less artificial flavour than Western chickens stock powders. I use Knorr brand, yellow can with a green lid. Read in post for more info, I am a fan! It’s my go-to sub for liquid stock. 6. Chilli oil – Stick to a Chinese brand to be safe (unless you have one you know) as chili oils vary in spiciness between Asian countries. In my experience, Chinese chilli oils are relatively consistent in spiciness. Chilli crisp will also work here but obviously adds lots more crispy “bits” into the sauce and less oil! LESS SPICY OPTION: sub some or all with sesame oil (toasted, the brown oil, not yellow un-toasted). Obviously no longer spicy, but a lovely sesame-forward flavour! 7. Soy sauce – Use either light or all purpose soy sauce. But not dark soy sauce – flavour is too strong and the colour is too intense! More on which soy sauce to use when here. 8. Leftovers – Like all dumplings, wontons are best served freshly made but will last 3 days in the fridge. Microwave reheating is best, so they stay nice and juicy. Nutrition per wonton, assuming 12 wontons and all the sauce is consumed.
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