Sweet, savory, garlicky, and not as spicy as they look, Sichuan spicy wontons (aka Hong You Chao Shou, 紅油抄手, in Mandarin) are a delicious combination of sweet soy sauce, raw garlic, roasted red chili, and a touch of vinegar to balance things out.
In the U.S., we’re in the midst of a huge explosion in the popularity of Sichuan food. Sichuan and Hunan-style restaurants are appearing in all of the major cities, and we like it! No matter where we travel in the U.S.–New Jersey, New York, Chicago, Houston, or Seattle–we always seem to find Sichuan cuisine, and these red chili oil wontons are one of the best Sichuan-style appetizers you can find.
Needless to say, we all love Sichuan and Hunan food, and all of the spice that goes with it. These wontons are truly tasty with an astoundingly great flavor. I fell in love with them the first time they made it to our table while eating out. Naturally, I decided that we needed to document a go-to recipe for ourselves, and, of course, for our faithful readers to enjoy as well!
You can follow the classic Sichuan wonton recipe in this post or also use a different wonton like the ones in our popular simple wonton soup.
Homemade roasted chili oil is an important ingredient that makes these spicy wontons special and sets them apart from most restaurant versions. Raw garlic is also an essential ingredient—so skip these for date night! Follow our recipe first and see how you like it the way we make it, and then you can adjust the amount of ingredients in the sauce to your own preferences. Some like their spicy wontons garlicky, sweeter, more vinegary, saltier, or spicier, so have it your way!
Here’s how you make these!
Start by making the chili oil. You can follow our easy homemade chili oil recipe here.
Next, add all of the wonton filling ingredients (ground pork, chopped scallions, sesame oil, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, salt, sugar, oil, water, and white pepper) to a bowl. Whip everything together by hand for 5 minutes or in a food processor for 1 minute. You want the pork to look a little bit like a paste.
To make the wontons, take a wonton wrapper, and add about a teaspoon of filling. Use your finger to coat the edges with water or egg wash (this helps the two sides seal together).
Fold the wonton in half so you have a rectangle shape. Bring together the two outer corners so they overlap slightly, add another drop of water or egg wash, and press to seal.
The two outer corners are overlapped slightly to resemble crossed hands, which is literally what the “chao shou” means in the mandarin name, Hong You Chao Shou (紅油抄手).
For more detailed wonton folding photos, instructions and different ways to wrap wontons, see Sarah’s post on How to fold wontons – a step-by-step guide.
Keep assembling until all the filling is gone, which should make you about 18 wontons. Like all wonton recipes, you can double or triple the batch, eat some, then freeze the rest for another day. Place the wontons on a baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Boil a pot of water for the wontons. While the water is coming to a boil, make the sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together (light soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, chili oil, salt to taste, sesame paste, sugar, and garlic) in a small mixing bowl.
If you like it spicy, add more of the chili peppers and not just the oil from your homemade chili oil. This recipe makes enough for 18 or 20 wontons.
Give the boiling water a good stir and drop the wontons in, being careful not to crowd them. Continue stirring so they do not stick. Adjust the heat to achieve a low boil, and cook the wontons for about 2 minutes or until the wrappers begin to look translucent. I like mine a little bit al dente, so I take them out right at 2 minutes when they float to the top.
Use a slotted spoon to drain the water and transfer the wontons to a serving bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the boiling water into your sauce, then pour the sauce over the wontons. You can see why this Sichuan spicy wontons dish is sometimes called red oil wontons!
Garnish with scallion if using and serve!
If you like it spicy, you cannot pass up this Sichuan red chili oil wonton!