Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sichuan mala

Sìchu?ān málà, more commonly referred to as mala sauce, is a very popular Chinese oily and spicy sauce that was originated in the Sichuan Province of central China and used extensively in their . It has become one of the most common seasonings in Chinese cuisine, gaining popularity anywhere where there are large populations of Chinese. The term ''málà'' is a combination of two Chinese characters: "numbing" and "hot " , referring to the feeling in the mouth after eating the sauce. The sauce is used in a wide variety of cooking methods from stir-fry, stews, and soup, to being used in hot pot or as a dipping sauce. In the Sichuan and Yunnan provinces mala powder is used liberally on snacks and street foods, such as stinky tofu, , and barbecued meats and vegetables.


The sauce is made primarily of:
*Several varieties of chili peppers
*Sichuan peppercorns
*Vegetable oil

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'' .

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