Category: Plant

Sichuan-style shao kao BBQ

Sichuan-Style Shaokao (Chinese BBQ, 烧烤)

Introducing The Mala Market Xinjiang BBQ Shaokao Spice Shaokao (烧烤, shāokǎo), or Chinese barbeque, comes in many forms. The most famous is from the far west region of Xinjiang, where Uyghur Muslims have perfected cumin-dusted lamb skewers, but other areas of the country have taken Xinjiang BBQ and made it their own. In Sichuan, there is certainly no shortage of Muslim street grillers with their meat-laden carts and crusty rounds of nang bread. But there is also a more localized style of chuan, or skewers, that features less lamb and...

Crunchy Lotus Root Salad

No Sweet Sour: Crunchy Lotus Root Salad (Liangban Cui Ou, 凉拌脆藕)

From Yunnan, With Love I am thrilled to welcome Michelle Zhao of No Sweet Sour as a new contributor to this blog. Michelle grew up in Kunming, Yunnan, and now lives in Bergen, Norway, so she is intimately familiar with one of China’s most diverse and delicious cuisines as well as with the challenges of trying to prepare regional Chinese food outside China. I’ve been following her on Instagram for some time, where every photo makes me wish I was eating what she’s eating. I think you’ll feel the same,...

Yibin Ran Mian

Yibin Ranmian, 燃面 (Burning Noodles From Yibin, Sichuan)

Noodles via Chinese Cooking Demystified I am so happy to report that I have finally conquered Yibin ranmian (燃面, ránmiàn), a noodle I’ve been longing for and one of the best noodles you have probably never heard of. I’ve been promising to develop this recipe for many years, ever since the first time I had Yibian ranmian in Chengdu. It was 2014, but I remember it like it was yesterday. We (Craig, Fongchong and I) had just eaten a full meal at a famous restaurant that we had nonetheless found...

Yu xiang zucchini

Gluten-Free Yuxiang Zucchini ft. Pickled Chili Sauce

Gluten-Free Yuxiang Sauce “Don’t mess with yuxiang!” my family warned me before I started experimenting with this gluten-free yuxiang zucchini dish. Yuxiang eggplant is one of their absolute favorite dishes, and they saw no need to change that beloved sauce even if it was being used with a different vegetable or a meat. But many of you do have a need to change this Sichuan super sauce to one that is gluten free or lower sodium, and Sichuan itself offers a solution. Yuxiang eggplant—usually translated as eggplant in garlic sauce...

Sichuan pickled peppers (pao la jiao)

Making Sichuan Pickled Peppers (Paojiao, 泡椒)

Our Pick for Pickled Peppers Many of you have asked us to source paojiao (泡椒, pàojiāo), the pickled hot peppers or pepper paste used in numerous Sichuan dishes. Some of you just want a lighter touch than doubanjiang, the funky Sichuan base sauce that is made from a combination of fermented chiles and broad beans and is the go-to for most dishes. And some of you are looking for a gluten-free alternative to doubanjiang, whose fermentation is kickstarted with wheat (as are almost all fermented Chinese sauces). Paojiao is used...

Hand-Torn Flat Cabbage With Chinese Sausage and Garlic

Hand-Torn Flat Cabbage With Chinese Sausage and Garlic

Family Day Treat February 14 may be Valentine’s Day in your house, but in our house it’s Family Day. It’s the day, in 2011, that Craig and I first met Fongchong and she became our daughter. This year we celebrate the end of her ninth year with us, and, as always on this date, we’ll cook some of her favorite foods. Forget steak, scallops or chocolate, all of which she can take or leave, what will really make her happy is a big plate of cabbage. Not just any cabbage,...

Sichuan Red-Braised Ribs and Radish

Sichuan Red-Braised Ribs and Radish (Hongshao Paigu, 红烧排骨)

Instant Pot, Or Not Tis the season for braises, soups and stews, and that’s as true for Chinese food as it is for Western cuisines. Americans tend to think of Chinese food as all stir-fries, all the time (Just try to find a braise or stew in a Panda Express!). But comfort food in Sichuan—especially in the winter, but even in the summer—almost always includes a long-braised meat of some kind, often with vegetables, in the kind of dish we’d call a stew. In fact, a popular type of homey...

Sichuan sesame noodles

Sichuan Sesame Noodles in “Strange Flavor” Sauce (Guaiweimian, 怪味面)

Sesame Paste—Not Tahini or Peanut Butter—For the Win “Strange flavor” truly is the strangest name for the super Sichuan sauce on these guaiweimian noodles. If I were naming it, it would be glorious flavor, or addictive flavor, or just best flavor, because it takes the standard sauce for Sichuan cold dishes—chili oil, Sichuan pepper, soy sauce, vinegar and garlic—and adds nutty, toasty Chinese sesame paste, hitting every note in the Sichuan flavor spectrum in one life-changing pantry sauce that can be thrown together in minutes. Despite what McDonald’s would have...

Suan La Fen (Sour and Spicy Sweet Potato Noodles) by The Mala Market

Chongqing Suanlafen (酸辣粉) Sour and Spicy Sweet Potato Noodles

Lameizi’s Noodles: A Spicy Girl Graduates Suanlafen, or sour and spicy soup with sweet potato noodles, always makes me think of Fongchong. We share a belief that spicy and sour, in that order, are the two best tastes, and nothing embodies those tastes better than suanlafen. Not only is it my daughter’s go-to soup in Sichuan restaurants, but one particular memory of her having it in her homeland always makes me smile, reminding me that my spicy girl (lameizi, as they’re known in Sichuan) knows her own mind and will always...

Gai lan with oyster sauce and fried shallots by The Mala Market

Blanched Gailan ft. Fried Shallots: Teoswa (Chaoshan) Food With Diana Zheng

Tasty Chinese You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of Just when you think you’ve schooled yourself on most—or at least many—of China’s regional cuisines, along comes one that is wildly interesting and influential but also surprisingly obscure—even in China itself. I’m talking about Teoswa cuisine from southeastern Guangdong province. After a dozen years of food study and travel to China, the sum total of what I know about Teoswa comes from 2019. That is when Netflix unleashed a documentary series on the region’s foodways and when I met Diana Zheng, who wrote...

Sichuan Fava Bean and Radish Noodle Salad

Green Salad or Noodle Salad, You Choose After Jordan Porter wrote a piece for this blog about the bounty of Chengdu markets in the spring, I got to thinking about fava beans in a new way. I mean, I often think of fava beans, or broad beans as they are also known, since they are one of the main components of Pixian doubanjiang. They are the “bean” in that chili bean paste, and therefore the umami backbone of a great deal of Sichuan food. The broad beans in doubanjiang start...

Itty Bitty Baby Bok Choy in Vinegar-Oyster Sauce

Gilded Bok Choy So I made some itty bitty baby bok choy stir-fried with loads of garlic and drizzled with Zhenjiang vinegar, oyster sauce and soy sauce for dinner not long ago. Before we pounced on it, I took a throwaway (neither styled nor lighted) photo of it and later posted it to Instagram. Whereupon, everyone else seemed to want to pounce on it. It reminded me that to most of us, even those of us who are avid meat eaters, there’s nothing more enticing than a plate of well-cooked...