Happy Anniversary to Us~~ The Mala Project turns three years old this month, and I am celebrating by thinking of all the dishes YOU have made from our recipes over that time. I would never have stuck with this time-consuming sideline if not for your genuine enthusiasm and support for the effort. It started out as a labor of love, and you have made it even more so. So, a couple of weeks ago I invited readers to send me photos of dishes they’ve made using Mala Project recipes and/or...
Read about our adventures sourcing premium Sichuan pepper and about the tortured path of Sichuan’s defining spice from Chinese farm to America table over the past 50 years in an article I wrote for the award-winning Roads & Kingdoms and Slate.
“Sichuan pepper was banned outright for 37 years, then forced to endure unnecessary heat treatment for a dozen more—making it difficult for kung pao chicken, mapo doufu, and other Sichuan classics to wield their full numbing power for nearly 50 years in the U.S. And this whole time, there was ‘negligible risk’?”
We are Taylor and Fong Chong, and The Mala Market is a marketplace of ideas, recipes and ingredients for cooking Sichuan food. You’ve landed on our blog, which was previously called The Mala Project.
Sichuan málà—numbing and spicy—is our shared, mother-daughter obsession, though as in Sichuan itself, you’ll find plenty of non-spicy food here. (See our About page for details on the things that led us to this obsession: travel, cookbooks, journalism, and older-child, intercultural adoption.)
We’ve learned through the years that the secret to making food that tastes like it would in China is using the same ingredients that are used in China.
The Mala Market is designed to help American cooks do just that, providing premium and hard-to-find Sichuan spices and sauces as well as a curated selection of Chinese pantry items and Chinese cooking starter kits. Though it has a new name, our blog will continue to publish recipes and food-and-travel writing from Sichuan.
We hope you’ll find both the ingredients and instruction helpful, and, as always, we look forward to hearing from you in the blog comments, on social media or via email through the little envelope icon on the main Mala Market page.