Crocodile Dumplings with Szechuan Numbing Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Head Chef Fendi at Charlie's of Darwin

This is one of the more complex recipes here at Garden Street, but we just couldn't pass up the opportunity to share such a cracking recipe from Charlie's of Darwin. It's Darwin in a nutshell! If fresh crododile isn't available at your local grocer, substitute for chicken or pork mince. A perfect spicy accompaniment to a refreshing Darwin G&T or two!

Head Chef Fendi Bong from Charlie's of Darwin

Serves 6–7

For the filling:
- 500g crocodile tail meat (or substitute pork or chicken mince)
- 1 shallot
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 lemongrass stalks
- 100g celery ribs
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- salt to taste
- wanton wrappers

For Szechuan Numbing Sauce:
- 2 shallots, minced finely
- 6 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 thumbs ginger, grated
- 4 spring onions, white part minced
- 2 Tbs szechuan pepper, pounded
- 1 Tbs shichimi togarashi 
- 2 Tbs gochugaru 
- 4 Tbs black vinegar
- 6 Tbs soy sauce
- 2 Tbs dark soy sauce
- 50g palm sugar
- ½ cup sesame oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil + extra for frying

Mince crocodile with 3 cloves of garlic, and set aside.

Blend lemongrass in a thermomix or food processor until it turns into a fine floss. Blend shallots, additional garlic, and celery in blender until fine but not pureé.

Cook together in a medium hot pan until soft and fragrant. Cool completely before combining crocodile mince and white pepper, mixing well.

Using a wonton wrapper, lay 1/2 tbsp of filling in the center of the pastry.

Fold over into a triangle shape (or shape of choice). Glue the edges by dipping a finger into clean water and spread around the tip of the wonton pastry. Pinch to close any gaps, keeping the mince in the center to create a nice little bag. Lightly dust dumpling with plain flour to prevent sticking.

Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan. Sauté shallots, garlic, ginger, and spring onion until soft.

Add szechuan pepper, shichimi, palm sugar and gochugaru pepper, continue cooking and keep stirring until combined.

Deglaze pan with black vinegar and soy sauce, giving everything a shake. Continue cooking until palm sugar is completely dissolved.

Turn off heat, and add sesame oil and vegetable oil. Season to taste.

In a large pot of boiling water, add dumplings and cook for about 3 minutes or until they float.

Remove the dumplings, shaking well to remove excess water. Add to a large mixing bowl with szechuan numbing sauce, and toss gently to coat well.

Transfer to a serving bowl and top with your garnish of choice*. Enjoy!

*Garnish with cucumber ribbons, toasted sesame seeds, Davidson Plum, fried shallots, spring onion and coriander.


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