If you don't know what to cook, cook mala xiang guo!
Mala Xiang Guo is essentially a mix of stir-fried ingredients with complex mala flavors, as a dry, kinder, tastier relative of Sichuan mala hot pot. Originated in Chongqing, it becomes so popular nowadays all over China that thousand tons of restaurants live on this dish. It is the king dish today for both group dining and home cooking. A quick look below at the images on Google demonstrates how amazing this dish looks like:
As a dry mala hot pot, mala xiang guo has no recipe for its ingredients. When eating outside at a restaurant, you choose ingredients to mix and match what you like, from mushrooms, vegetables, meats, tofu, fish balls, meat balls, seafood etc. You may also choose your spicy fire level from wimpy to nuclear. A big bowl will show up with an alarming dry pile of red chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, hidden secret spices, and everything you ordered. Like pizza, you choose the toppings you want and pay for them. In the same way, mala xiang guo is based on ingredients for restaurant to charge.
A jumble of meat, seafood, poultry and vegetables are cooked with chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns and other spices into one single large pot. This thoughtful mashup balances each ingredient's own flavor together with seasonings into one flavorful mala taste with the following distinct features
- Ingredients can be any meat, seafood, poultry and vegetables
- Flavors take the full benefits of Sichuan hot pot, Sichuan dry pot and variety of mala seasonings - blending numbing, spicy and dry fragrant in one palate-pleasing shot.
- Spiciness is controlled at little, mild, medium, high, and extreme levels.
- Cooking is done inside kitchen only - no need of annoying tossing and simmering of hot pot on dinning table
- Extra medical herbs may be blended to offer natural benefits of health-building-diet and food therapy.
Are you excited? mouth-watering? Sure you are. So how to get this dish?
Eat at restaurant. These days, many Chinese restaurants in North American offer this menu. Check the mala xiang guo map to find out where you can go.
Make it at home. There are zillion recipes to cook this dish at home, from simple to complex. In principle, home cooking includes the following steps
- Choose ingredients. Almost all stir-friable ingredients can be used, but they have to treat a little in advance as step 2 and 3 before stir fry with seasonings. Normal amount takes 2-4 oz each ingredient and 6-7 ingredients in total. Lotus root, potato and tofu are most popular choices.
- Vegetables: any vegetables which are not watering, such as celtuce stems, lotus root, bamboo shoots, mushroom, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, etc.
- dried vegetable: black fungus, tofu sheets, fried tofu, dried tofu, etc.
- meats: beacon, sausage, port belly, pork ribs, chicken wings, chicken legs, beef tendon etc.
- seafood: fish fillets, shrimps, crabs, seafood balls etc.
- Prepare ingredients. For example, you need to rinse chicken wings, cut into pieces and mix with marinade for at least 15 minutes.
- Pre-cook ingredients. There are two major ways to pre-cook the ingredients: quick deep fry or poach or both. If you want the taste more authentic, quick frying make each ingredient slightly crunchy - the dry feeling of authentic mala cooking.
- Stir-fry everything with ginger, garlic, Pixian broad bean paste, spiced oil or mala hotpot sauce.