The Mala Market | Inspiration & Ingredients for Sichuan Cooking Blog

The Mala Market

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The Mala Market is our online store offering all the premium Sichuan ingredients you need for making food that tastes like it would in China. As our customers have told us, our red and green Sichuan pepper are so fresh and potent you’ll need to adapt your recipes! We also offer a selection of dried chili peppers and chili flakes used in Sichuan and the aged doubanjiang, or chili bean paste, that is the signature taste of so many dishes. We import the spices and douban directly from the grower...

Yunnan Mixian (Rice Noodle Soup With Pork and Spicy Pickled Greens)

The Magic of Mixian~~ In my personal pantheon of noodles, Yunnan mixian ranks up there pretty high. There are two main reasons for this: rice noodles and pickles. Since my discovery of pho a couple decades ago, I’ve preferred my soups with rice noodles vs wheat, mainly because of their springy texture and lightness. But when you take a soup that does in fact resemble pho (Yunnan borders Vietnam, after all, and food traditions don’t respect borders) and add spicy pickled mustard greens to it, along with fresh greens, a...

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China’s Most Deliciously Diverse Province~~ Have you noticed that there’s a new Chinese cuisine making waves in some larger American cities? Yunnan restaurants are popping up along the coasts, giving more people a chance to try the diverse dishes of the province for the first time. Home to hundreds of distinct ethnic minority groups, the food of Yunnan is a wondrous mix of Chinese and Southeast Asian influences—which alone gives you some idea of its great appeal. Fortunately for us cooks, a dedicated Yunnan cookbook has also just been published,...

Sichuan Sauce for Grilling from The Mala Market

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A New ‘Cue~~ I’m not sure why I’d never thought before to add Pixian chili bean paste to my grilling marinade, because it’s a match made in BBQ heaven. Douban is a combination of salt, spice and umami (in the form of fermented fava beans). Meat loves salt, most people reading this love spice, and everyone loves umami, so douban ticks all the boxes. It’s a BBQ sauce like you’ve never had before, but it doesn’t hit you over the head with any of those sensations, enhancing the meat without...

Cooking With Pixian Doubanjiang: Sichuan Sauce for Stir-Fry

A Quick-Mix, Good-With-Everything Sichuan Sauce~~ After we launched a famous brand of handmade, 3-year-aged, Pixian chili bean paste into the U.S. market in August, many, many of you reported back that you love its spicy and soulful flavor. But after making the best mapo doufu you’ve ever made, and perhaps a stellar twice-cooked pork, some of you are stumped for further ways to use it. So I’m embarking on a series called Cooking With Pixian Doubanjiang that will hopefully make it easier to utilize this super versatile burst of umami....

Great Sichuan Restaurant Recipes: Liang Fen of Happy Tears (Shang Xin Liang Fen) From NYC’s Málà Project

Tears of Joy or Heartbreak?  A Controversial Jelly Noodle~~ Have you ever been to a Sichuan restaurant and seen a bowl of something that looks like big fat noodles but on closer inspection is actually jiggly strands of jelly? Ranging from translucent to opaque white or yellow, they usually glow with a chili-oil sauce and fresh and crunchy garnishes. When you manage to capture these slippery guys with your chopsticks, they slither down your throat so easily. They are an enigma, at once hot and spicy and light and cooling....

Great Sichuan Restaurant Recipes: Roasted Chili Eggplant (Liang Ban Qie Zi) From Chengdu’s Ying Garden

Green Food vs. Red Food~~ When people think of Sichuan food, they think of red. The three ingredients most identified with the cuisine—red chilies, red Sichuan peppercorns and red chili bean paste—present a united front of red in the bowl or plate when they are all in use. But what the West tends to forget is that Sichuan has some magnificent green food. Not just green leafy vegetables, which make up the majority of any full meal, but green chilies, green Sichuan pepper, green onions and fresh coriander (cilantro), which...

Chongqing Lobster (Chongqing Long Xia)

A Mala Fish Fry~~ We all know what it’s like to get inspired by a dish in a restaurant and feel you have to figure out its secrets for yourself so you can make it anytime the craving hits. My latest such obsession is Chongqing Lobster—though in this case I didn’t even eat it, but merely read about it in a review of New York’s new DaDong restaurant. But when I read this idea—Chongqing chicken where the chicken is replaced by lobster—I couldn’t get it out of my mind. How...

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The Godmother Miniseries: Potatoes~~ As many from-scratch recipes as I publish, what really drives traffic to my website is The Godmother, aka, Lao Gan Ma, whom I first wrote at length about in early 2015. People all over the world love these Guizhou-made chili oils as condiments and are also looking for ways to cook with them. So who am I to disagree? I have one very popular recipe on the site for LGM Black Bean Chicken, but I cook with both the Spicy Chili Crisp and the Chili Oil...

Sichuan Mala Hot Pot, From Scratch (Mala Huo Guo)

The Ultimate Party Food~~ There are two things to know about making Sichuan-style mala hot pot at home. First, it takes almost every item in the Sichuan pantry to make the spicy soup from scratch. And second, it also requires an electric hot pot or other heat source at the table. But I’m here to tell you it is worth the trouble to acquire everything it takes, because after you make the soup broth, the cooking is done and stress-free, since diners will take over from there. And mala hot...

Shui zhu yu (water-boiled fish) from The Mala Market

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Swimming Fire Fish~~ Shui zhu yu, translated literally as water-boiled fish, may be the most misleadingly named dish ever. Far from swimming in a sea of water, the fish fillets float in a luxurious bath of mala spicy broth. Restaurateurs in the U.S. often give it a more fitting translation, the most creative I’ve seen being “swimming fire fish.” And yet, as I previously discussed when I published a recipe for shui zhu beef, shui zhu dishes are not as explosive as they appear at first sight. Yes, the main...

Chengdu mala hot pot (mala huo guo)

How to Do Hot Pot the Sichuan Way (Mala Huo Guo) | Jordan Porter

Expect Spice, Texture and Booze~~ This week we have a dispatch from our man in Chengdu about the Sichuan hot pot experience. If at all possible you want to experience it in Chengdu or Chongqing, but he also gives some clues as to how to make mala hot pot at home. I’ll follow up soon with a recipe for the real deal. And we also have some dang-good, readymade hot pot soup bases in the Market.  By Jordan Porter—Hot pot has become the poster child for Sichuan cuisine and the...

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Change Is Good (in Life and Recipes)~~ Dear friends of The Mala Project, From now on you’ll be hearing from Fong Chong and me as The Mala Market. It was a tough decision to change the name of our blog, but we’ve heard from too many people that having two different “brands” is overly complicated. So we want to consolidate under one name, and there are at least two good reasons to go with “Market” instead of “Project”:  1) Having the same name as a restaurant in New York called...

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