Soup Base for Mala Hot Pot (Mala Huo Guo)

New stock estimated to arrive late August

Modern hot pot palace Huang Cheng Lao Ma is one of Chengdu's most famous hot pot restaurants and brands, which says a lot considering the number of mala hot pot places in the city. (It holds a special place in my heart as the first place I ever had hot pot, in 2007.) The chain has its own line of soup bases, which make having hot pot at home a quick and easy reality for family meals or entertaining (assuming you have an electric hot pot or a portable burner for the table). This base is a spicy but not overwhelming combo of ma (Sichuan pepper) and la (chili pepper and Pixian chili bean sauce), plus assorted spices, in a rapeseed (non-GMO canola) oil base.

Note that there are no English instructions on the packaging, but you just add 5-6 cups water or chicken broth to the base to make the soup. For a large hot pot with two compartments, this package will make only enough for a half-pot, and you can fill the other half of the pot with a mild bone broth, as they often do in Sichuan. 

The package also suggests that you can use this tasty sauce as a stir-fry sauce for anything you like, and why not?

Producer: Huangcheng Laoma Foods Ltd., Pixian County, Sichuan
Size: 200 grams (7 ounces); makes 1 hot pot
Ingredients: Rapeseed oil (non-GMO canola), chili, Pixian chili bean paste, Sichuan pepper, cassia, star anise, cumin, spice, cooking wine, salt, yeast extract, monosodium glutamate, potassium sorbate