What to Serve with dumplings: 27 Best Side Dishes for Chinese Dumplings to make a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
There are many different types of dumplings from Shui Jiao, Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) and Chinese potstickers (also known as 饺子 (jiao zi) 锅贴(guo tie) or 煎饺 (Jian Jiao)) to Japanese gyoza and Polish pierogi!
I'll be focusing on Chinese dumplings (Jiao Zi) in this post. In my opinion, they go well with almost everything but, if you need some ideas for side dishes, here they are!
How to Cook
Dumplings can be steamed, boiled (and served in soup), pan-fried and deep-fried.
The perfect Chinese side dish to serve with dumplings would depend on how you cook the dumplings. Steamed and boiled dumplings are lighter in taste- goes fantastically with quick green chili pickles- whilst pan-fried and deep-fried ones are oilier and would thus require different sides.
Tip #2: To freeze dumplings, place them on a tray with space between each piece (this is to prevent them from touching each other and sticking.) Once frozen, they can be dumped into a big bag.
It would depend on how they were originally cooked. Boiled or steamed dumplings are best reheated via steaming (gentle heating) to preserve the texture of the filling, whilst deep-fried or pan-fried dumplings can be microwaved or baked in the oven. Note that the bottom of potstickers may not be crispy after re-heating- you would need to pan-fry again (after reheating) to crisp it up.
Yes you can, even for frozen potstickers- the cooking time would range from 6-10 minutes (380F/ 193C) depending on the size of the dumplings. There's no need to defrost but remember to line the dumplings in a single row (batch cook instead of crowding the air fryer.) You will also need to turn them over about and allow the other side to cook for about 2 minutes.
Yes! It's an easy "cheat" that will help you expedite the dumpling making process.
Now for the best Chinese sides to go with your homemade Chinese dumplings!
Dumplings are often served with a sauce, such as Filipino Toyomansi.
Chinese Dumpling Sauce
Chinese dipping sauce is usually a mix of sesame oil, ginger and/ or garlic and/ or sliced spring onions, vinegar and soy. (The tartness of the vinegar should be the dominant flavour- so the side dishes should complement the tang.)
Other Chinese dumpling sauces include:
- Lao Gan Ma chili
- Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow chili oil
- Sichuan Dumpling Sauce
- Creamy Sambal mayo (goes really well with fried dumplings!)
Tip: If serving boiled or steamed dumplings, do not omit the dipping sauce, if not the taste can be a little bland!
In Chinese families, soup is served at almost every meal (even breakfast sometimes.)
It's 1 of the perfect side dishes that go with everything! (We- Chinese people- also believe that drinking the right type of soup often can help to make you look younger and more beautiful!)
Clear Vegetable Soup
You can also add the Chinese dumplings into wonton soup, like we do with wonton noodles!
Tip: Boil the dumplings before adding them into the soup, so that they don't release starch into your broth that will affect the texture.
Chinese Chicken soup
If you're making chicken noodle soup the main dish, here are some easy Chinese side dishes for chicken noodles.
Other popular Chinese soups that go well with dumplings are:
- hot and sour soup (Suan La Tang)
- egg drop soup - this usually consists of a chicken or pork broth base (you can even use the vegan wonton soup below) into which a raw egg is dropped right before the fire is turned off. (The soup should be boiling when the egg is added.)
- ABC soup
Note: I wouldn't recommend Chinese herbal soups (such as Cantonese black chicken soup) to go with dumplings as they have quite strong flavours.
Although Chinese people can eat dumplings any time of the day, potstickers are commonly served with other dim sum dishes such as:
Note: if you're thinking these would be a real pain to make, note that frozen ones are sold in most Chinese supermarkets.
If you're pan-frying the jiaozi, you may want something with less oil for a side dish, such as a refreshing cucumber or tomato salad.
This cold Chinese side dish can be bought pre-cooked in the Asian supermarket- if frozen, you'll need to defrost it and serve but it's also sold chilled (i.e. ready-to-eat.)
Most Asian jellyfish are sold cooked, so don't need cooking, but always check the packaging to be on the safe side! I like mixing it with cucumbers to bulk up the dish.
Black Fungus Salad
Also known as wood ear mushroom salad, this is 1 of my favourite Chinese appetisers but I hardly make it now. There was news that a family died after eating fungus that had been soaked overnight so, after that, I've been a little leery of making this dish! (However, I'm not sure WorldofBuzz is a credible news site...?)
Pickled cucumbers or pickled lettuce would help to digest the oily fried dumplings.
How to make
You can buy them in Asian supermarkets or make your own by mixing 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 Cup of white sugar and 1 Cup of rice vinegar, then pouring it over the julienned carrots and cucumbers. (You'll need 3-4 carrots AND cucumber in total. Optional: throw in a few slices of ginger for flavour!)
I recommend a sauteed oyster-sauce green vegetable, such as Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) or Bak Choy, instead of pasta salad or green bean salad.
If you feel guilty for eating deep fried dumplings, you could serve with steamed veg such as steamed broccoli and use the same dumpling dipping sauce for both dishes!
Personally, I wouldn't serve steamed greens with steamed/ boiled dumplings as the meal will be quite bland. However, if you have lighter tastebuds, you may like it!
You can also serve dumplings with a Cantonese favourite: sliced soy sauce chicken, char stew and siew yoke (roasted pork belly.)
If you want an easy no-fuss recipe for soy sauce chicken, click here.
Dumplings go with pretty much anything and they're not very heavy (if you don't eat too many) so a side dish of fried rice or stir-fried noodles would work very well.
Dumplings are delicious served on top of Chow Mein or Stir-fried noodles!
If you want to expand your side dishes past Chinese cuisine, try these tangy noodles that- despite the name- are not from Thailand but Singapore & Malaysia!
P.S. There's also a stir-fried mee siam version.
If you prefer abalone congee, I have a great Chinese abalone congee recipe here.
Pumpkin lovers may also be interested in these Chinese pumpkin dishes.
The secret to making great Chinese fried rice is using leftover rice- here are some great fried rice recipes using leftover rice!
Whilst some people suggest serving white rice with dumplings, Chinese people don't usually do so (unless there are other side dishes besides the rice such as stir-fried vegetables.)
Tip: If you're reducing your carb intake, try a side of cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles!
Or another of these popular Taiwanese bubble tea flavors!
Sour Plum Tea
Chinese people love to drink tea to wash down the oil of the meal. In particular, sour plum tea is drunk to help improve digestion! (I even have a jelly version of this traditional Chinese drink!)
This popular summer drink is common in all the East Asian countries: China, Japan, Korea etc- it's associated with summer as barley is believed to be cooling for one's body.
Longan Ginger Red Date Tea
Gui Hua Cha (Osmanthus Tea)
What do you like to serve with Chinese dumplings? Let me know in the comments and if you've found this list of potsticker side dishes helpful, please do share it on social media!