The sauce is made primarily of:
*Several varieties of chili peppers
Variations also exist that also include shacha sauce, , and ginger. These ingredients are then combined with a large amount of oil and slowly simmered for approximately 10 minutes. The result is then jarred and used.
Due to the effort required in making the sauce, many sell prepared mala sauce, which is available in glass jars and plastic containers.
The clear history of ''mala'' sauce is still unknown, but it is widely believed that people in Sichuan province, one of the poorest provinces in Chinese history, invented strong-tasting ''mala'' sauce to cover up rotten meats. ''Mala'' has quickly become the main characteristic of Sichuan cuisine and has an important role in Chinese cuisine.
It is still unknown when the Sichuanese invented this sauce. Some unreliable news reports suggested ''mala'' was invented in the early 20th century. It was also reported that some restaurants serve ''mala'' with poppy, and make it more addictive to customers.
Taiwan and Inner Mongolia also have their varieties of Mala sauce.
* Mala hot pot
* Mala bunch : Snack food, a bunch of vegetable made in Mala soup
* Mouth-watering chicken : Cold chicken served in ''mala'' sauce.
* : Ox's scalp, tongue, abdomen, sometimes also lung, served with oily ''mala'' sauce
In popular culture
The adjective ''málà'' is also used in Mandarin slang to mean 'sexy', much like the word 'hot' in English. The Mandarin title of the animated series Kim Possible is ''Málà Nǚhái'' .