November 2019 Part 3: New Sauces Have Arrived!

November 26, 2019

November 2019 Part 3: New Sauces Have Arrived!

A Full Pantry and a Full Heart

Hello, Friends of The Mala Market!

Just as Thanksgiving approaches, we are feeling super thankful that our online pantry is fully stocked. The wait is over for (just about) everything that we promised: The 2019 spice harvest was cleared first, and then a few days ago the FDA finally released our new sauces.

It's been a long road to get them here—starting with the fantastical soy sauce workshop pictured above that Fongchong and I visited in August in Jiangyou ("Soy Sauce"), Sichuan—but these are the products you have told us you want and we're super happy to be able to provide them. So rather than keep you waiting any longer with a long email, we'll just ask you to scroll down to see the newest members of the Mala Market product family and some great ideas for what to do with them from our partners and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

🌶Taylor & Fongchong 🌶

P.S. We will do our best to get all orders placed before Thanksgiving out to you this week, but please note that some orders may not ship until next week due to the holiday

Zhongba light soy sauce

Sichuan's Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce

Have you ever tasted traditionally made, real Chinese soy sauce? If you live outside China, the answer is very likely no. Mass-market, grocery-store brands of soy sauce are either chemically concocted or naturally brewed for a short period of time, necessitating the addition of, variously, sugar, alcohol, vinegar, caramel coloring, msg, disodium 5 ribonucleotides and preservatives to make them tasty. 

Zhongba, a famous brand in Sichuan since 1828, is naturally brewed for 360 days from a recipe of only water, soybeans, wheat, salt and mushroom. It gets an extra shot of natural glutamates from the mushroom—specifically the prized wild "mouth mushroom" of northern China—without tasting of mushroom. And it produces a soy sauce that is full-bodied, deeply red and intensely flavorful. 

We invite you to try the longest-aged Chinese soy sauce in the U.S., available exclusively at The Mala Market. We have tried to keep Zhongba's premium flagship soy sauce pictured above at a reasonable price for everyday use, while the completely handcrafted version—coming Dec. 1!—will be a special-occasion soy sauce. 

(Sorry gluten-free eaters, but all traditionally made Chinese soy sauces include wheat to jumpstart the fermentation process. We promise to continue looking for one that does not.)

Red-oil douban

Red-Oil Doubanjiang

Red-oil douban, which is young chile bean paste mixed with chili oil, has become very popular in Sichuan in recent times, due both to its fresh-red color and to its lower price point compared to pure, aged Pixian douban

In her new cookbook, The Food of Sichuan, Fuchsia Dunlop recommends "following Sichuanese practice and using young chili bean paste"  or red-oil douban for stir-fried dishes and dips and "darker Pixian paste for mapo tofu and red-braised stews."

We often just combine the two—one for bright color and one for deep taste! But they are really pretty much interchangeable in most recipes, depending on personal preference. 

Here are some recipes where red-oil douban would be divine:

Fermented black beans

Sichuan Fermented Black Beans

Everyone loves Chinese fermented black beans, which are little unami flavor bombs. While Westerners are most familiar with the Cantonese version—salty, individual, dry beans—different regions of China make douchi in different ways. Sichuan ferments the soybeans in a wet brine of salt, wheat, liquor and spices, resulting in moist, plump beans surrounded by a bit of paste. They taste purely of fermented soybean, and do not need to be rinsed or rehydrated and plumped up as the Cantonese version does. It bears repeating: Do not rinse or soak, despite what a recipe may say. 

Recipes with douchi:

Sichuan Pepper Oil (Yaomazi Teng Jiao Oil)
Sichuan Pepper Oil (Yaomazi Teng Jiao Oil)
Our Yaomazi Sichuan Pepper Oil is back in stock! It tastes of fresh green Sichuan pepper and is often preferred over peppercorns for use in sauces for its superior mouthfeel and appearance.
Complete Sichuan Pantry Collection
Complete Sichuan Pantry Collection
The ultimate gift for the Sichuan-food lover: a premium version of every ingredient needed to make most Sichuan dishes plus nine well-tested recipes to get them started.