It's All About the Sauce
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! Also known as the Moon Festival, it is a Chinese holiday devoted to thanks-giving (for the harvest season), family-gathering (from near and far) and moon-gazing (at the full moon appearing on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, which is today).
As with all Chinese holidays, it is also devoted to eating and drinking. Most notably, those Asians who celebrate it are eating mooncakes. This year Fongchong picked out Malaysian mooncakes that are filled with durian paste surrounding yellow egg yolks. And, yes, these particular mooncakes do smell a bit rotten. But I’m suuure they’re tasty! (Even if my sample didn't convince me so.)
I will celebrate with food made from the handmade, long-aged Pixian chili bean paste we got in last month. Do you have yours yet? Many of you do (thank you!), so here's the latest in our Cooking With Pixian Doubanjiang series. It's an easy, quick marinade for grilling and roasting that's like no other BBQ sauce you've ever had.
This recipe follows on the heels of one for a Super Sichuan Sauce for Stir-Fry, because we know that even though doubanjiang is the most essential sauce for Sichuan cooking, the backbone of many of its most famous dishes (mapo doufu, twice-cooked pork, "water-boiled" fish, dry pot, hot pot, etc.), sometimes you just want to look in your fridge, grab the douban and make a stir-fry with whatever you have on hand.
As for the grilling sauce, no, folks in Sichuan would probably not use douban in exactly this way, but, yes, you should, because it totally works! The photo above shows it on skirt steak, but this spicy-salty-umami marinade and grill sauce works just as well on pork shoulder steaks or oven-roasted chicken wings. Try it out while it's still (barely) grill season and let us know what you think.
Douban is not the only new sauce in our store, however, nor the only one that makes Sichuan cooking easier. Last month we added a Szechuan Chili Oil to The Mala Market family. It's our first U.S.-made product, but you'd never know it, because it tastes just like Sichuan.
We also expanded our housewares line with a beautiful statue of The Kitchen God. Read more below about this god who is near and dear to cooks. He traditionally plays a major part in Chinese New Year festivities, but it couldn't hurt to get a headstart and invite him into your kitchen before the holidays since he's said to up your cooking game.
Happy Moon Gazing!
🌶Taylor & Fongchong 🌶
P.S. Spice Update: Our shipment of the 2018 spice harvest did not make it onto the plane before the Moon Festival holiday, but we're hoping it will overcome all the hurdles before the whole country grinds to a halt for National Day and Golden Week at the beginning of October. We still expect our three kinds of Sichuan pepper and other spices, including new kinds of chili peppers, star anise, cassia, black cardamom from Yunnan and cumin from Xinjiang to arrive by mid-October.