Mala (seasoning)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Mala sauce)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Stinky tofu with goose blood.JPG
A mala hotpot using mala sauce
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese麻辣醬
Simplified Chinese麻辣酱

Mala is the spicy and numbing flavour in Chinese cuisine, which is made from Sichuan peppercorn, chili pepper and various spices simmered with oil.

Regarded as a regional dish for Chongqing cuisine and Sichuan cuisine, it has become one of the most popular sauces in Chinese cuisine and spawned many regional variants.


The term málà is a combination of two Chinese characters: "numbing" () and "spicy (picant)" (), referring to the feeling in the mouth after eating the sauce.

The numbness is caused by Sichuan pepper, which contains 3% hydroxy-alpha-sanshool.


The precise origins of the dish are unclear, but many sources attribute its development to night markets in Chongqing that targeted pier workers in the 19th to 20th century.[1] The strong flavour and thick layer of oil helps preserve foods and removes the unpopular smells of the cheap foods, such as solidified blood, beef stomach and kidney, which were usually served to pier workers.

Despite the strong flavour by itself, various dipping sauces are often served to make the texture of cooked meat smooth and oily, and the tastes more complex. Common sauces include sesame oil with garlic, oyster oil, or doufu ru.

The sauce is used in a variety of ways, 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 (麻辣粉; pinyin: málàfĕn) is used on snacks and street foods, such as stinky tofu, fried potatoes, and barbecued meat and vegetables.


The sauce is made primarily of dried chili peppers, chili powder, douban paste, Sichuan peppercorns, clove, garlic, star anise, black cardamom, fennel, ginger, cinnamon, salt and sugar. These ingredients are simmered with beef tallow and vegetable oil for many hours, and packed into a jar. Other herbs and spices, such as sand ginger, Angelica dahurica and poppy seeds, can be added to create a unique flavour.

Traditionally, a restaurant hired a chef specializing in making this sauce; the recipes were kept secret to the chef himself. Today, prepared mala sauce can easily be found in supermarkets, and chain restaurants often produce their own sauce on a large scale, while many others still blend their own one. Like curry, there is a constant debate about the 'best' recipe and numerous variations are available on the market.


Mala sauce can be adapted in many dishes. Malashaokao (麻辣烧烤) is eaten with barbecued pork, squid, shrimp, chicken, sausage, orinji mushroom, enoki mushroom and corn with spicy sauce.[2] Chinese also use Mala sauce to cook grilled, fried or stir-fried noodles.[3] It will come in the dishes of blanched meat in soup (麻辣烫 Mala-tang) and hot pot (麻辣火锅 Mala-huo-guo).[2] Mala soup can be made from spices but in China, there are Mala cubes that can be dissolved in the hot water immediately.[4]

  • Mala hot pot (麻辣火鍋)
  • Mala duck neck (麻辣鴨脖子)
  • Mala tang (麻辣燙): vegetables and meat skewer served in a mala soup
  • Mouth-watering ("drooling") chicken (口水雞): Cold chicken served in mala sauce
  • Fuqi feipian (夫妻肺片): beef tendon, tongue, tripe, and sometimes also lung, served with oily mala sauce

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "重庆火锅历史悠久". Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b "ฮิตมาถึงไทย! "หมาล่า" อาหารจีนจากมณฑลเสฉวน กินแล้วเผ็ดชาไปทั้งปาก |". Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  3. ^ "'หม่าล่า' เผ็ดชาสไตล์จีน บนมื้ออาหารคนไทย". The Momentum. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  4. ^ "ลองรึยัง หม่าล่า เผ็ด ชา สะท้านลิ้น!! | SBA Travel". SBA Travel. 2018-01-05. Retrieved 2018-04-29.