While Sichuan food is best known for its mala flavor—the combination of Sichuan pepper and chili pepper—the cuisine has dozens of other flavor profiles and ingredients that make it unique and memorable. This premium pantry collection features the fermented vinegar, bean sauces and pickles that give Sichuan cuisine its depth, funk and umami.
The Umami Collection is meant to be an add-on to either our Starter Mala Collection or Super Mala Collection and provide the other indispensable ingredients for Sichuan cooking. With these two kits—plus a basic Chinese pantry of light soy sauce and Shaoxing wine (or golden sherry)—you can make dozens of Sichuan classics.
The only overlap in the Mala and Umami collections is the Pixian doubanjiang, or chili bean paste, as it is the soul of Sichuan food and appears in many dishes. (The Mala collections have handmade, 3-year douban, while this collection has the 1-year version.)
The other fermented products include sweet wheat paste and preserved black soybeans (douchi), which are used in dishes such as twice-cooked pork, and sesame paste, used in noodles and cold dishes. While not from Sichuan, Zhenjiang black vinegar is perfect for the sour note in many Sichuan dishes, including yu xiang eggplant and gong bao chicken.
Preserved vegetables and pickles also play a large role in Sichuan cuisine. This kit includes both suimiyacai preserved mustard stem, which is integral to dan dan noodles and dry-fried green beans, and zhacai, used in soups and congee.
This collection also includes three beautifully printed Mala Market recipe cards to get you started (with no overlap from the Mala collections).
See individual products on this site for more description of each one, including provenance and ingredients.
If this is a gift, know that we do not include a packing list or any pricing info. The collection is packaged with festive red crinkle paper and a beautifully printed product storage and usage card.