Note: We sometimes substitute different brands of equal quality and value for items in this collection based on what is available and freshest. Currently, the Sichuan sweet wheat paste (tian mian jiang) shown in the photo has been replaced by a very similar sweet wheat paste made in Shandong; the fermented black soybeans are a different brand made in the same province in the same way; and the two small packets of suimiyacai have been replaced by one large one.
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 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 Umami Collection also includes the other fermented ingredients that lend Sichuan cuisine its funk and depth. Sweet wheat paste and preserved black soybeans are used in dishes such as twice-cooked pork, while sesame paste is sometimes used in noodles and cold dishes. Sichuan preserved mustard greens are integral to dan dan noodles and dry-fried green beans (yacai) and used in soups and congee (zhacai). 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.
This collection also includes three beautifully printed Mala Market recipe cards to get you started (with no overlap from the other collections).
See individual products on this site for more description of each one, including provenance and ingredients.
If you are giving this as 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.