Malatang, another member of the Chinese hot pot, is a popular Chinese street food that consists of a spicy hot pot soup base with a variety of ingredients, such as vegetables, meats, seafood, and noodles. It is the childhood food for many Chinese young people and today, we will cover how to make Malatang at home.
that are cooked and eaten on the spot. The name "malatang" comes from the Chinese words "ma" meaning "numbing" and "la" meaning "spicy", which refers to the distinctive numbing and spicy flavor of the soup base, usually made with Sichuan peppercorns and chili peppers. It's a popular and customizable dish that can be found in many parts of China and other countries with Chinese communities.
Malatang is a more casual hot pot. It is a spicy, hot, and numbing cooked dish with a hot pot soup case.
I still remember that in my childhood, we spend most of our evenings around a bar with a large pot and various types of ingredients lined up by wood prods.
If you ever visit any cities in Sichuan province, you will see lots of Malatang restaurants on the street. Many of them begin to start their business in the afternoon and until very late at night.
Malatang vs Hot pot
Hot pot restaurants usually are larger and much more formal than Malatang. And they are some other differences, although the two are often confused by each other.
Soup base difference:
The soup base of Malatang is known for its spicy, numbing, and hot. We only have one type of soup base. While hot pots have a much larger group of choices, including spicy, non-spicy, tomato hot and sour, and mushroom soup bases.
In malatang, the ingredients are usually pre-cooked and then added to the soup base to be heated up. Then the ingredients are served in a bowl or on the skewers.
In a hot pot, the ingredients are cooked in the soup base directly by the eaters, sitting around a large pot in the center of the table.
Hot pot ingredients are ordered in portions and usually contain larger amounts.
However, malatang stores are street stores and the price is calculated by the number of wood prods.
You can also choose just one piece of mushroom, or one piece of cucumber, ending up with various ingredients at a limited price.
Malatang at home
I love to make malatang at home with very basic ingredients and seasonings because:
- I can choose whatever I want for the ingredients.
- The homemade version is healthier because we are using better ingredients and oil.
- You can make a large pot one time, making it a lovely dish for a big party.
- You can either choose to use hot pot seasonings, which fast the process, or make the soup base at home.
Common ingredients for malatang
- Meat: Thinly sliced beef, lamb, and pork are common meat ingredients in malatang. Chicken wings are my favorite so I use chicken wings and spam this time.
- Seafood: Shrimp, squid, fish balls, and other seafood are also popular
- Vegetables: cabbage, spinach, lotus root, bean sprouts, broccoli, potatoes, and carrots. Note: hard-to-cook or starchy vegetables like Dakin, potatoes, or lotus root should be blanched first before adding to the soup base.
- Tofu and tofu skin: Tofu is a common ingredient in malatang, and it can be sliced or cubed. Bean curd skin, also known as yuba, is a popular ingredient in malatang and can be sliced or rolled.
- Noodles: Noodles, such as udon or glass noodles, can be added to malatang for a heartier meal.
- Eggs: Hard-boiled eggs or quail eggs can be added to malatang for a protein boost.
- Mushrooms: shiitake, enoki, button, and oyster mushrooms are great options for malatang.
How to make malatang
Cook dried chili pepper with boiling water for a couple of minutes and then transfer out and minced well. This will pair with doubanjiang to create the Ma flavor.
In a wok or pot, load with 4 to 5 cups of oil, and add green onion, coriander, and shallots. Heat until the aromas get withered. Transfer the content out and leave the oil.
Fry 1 cup of doubanjiang in the oil with the slowest fire until the oil color turns red.
Add chopped peppers and spices (pre-soaked in water), and add sugar, salt, and light soy sauce. Let the oil mixture simmer for 15 minutes until the flavors combined well.
Add water and let's start cooking the main ingredinets. Place in longer cooking time ingredients first and then place all the others. If you using potato, lotus root, or other starchy vegetables. Remember to black them first.
How to make Malatang at home
- 3 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 cloves
- 5 g dried tangerine peel
- 2 tbsp. Sichuan peppercorns I use half green and half green
- 60 g dried chili peppers
- 4 tablespoon doubanjiang spicy bean paste
- 1 tablespoon fermented black beans
- 2 tablespoon rice wine
- 3 cups vegetable oil
- 5 cilantro stems
- 5 green onions
- 10 shallots
- 20 g rock sugar
- 600 ml water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ginger slices
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 10 slices of spam
- oyster mushrooms
- ¼ section of lotus root
- 12 chicken wings
- ¼ zucchini
- 7 button mushrooms
- 1 potatoes sliced
- ¼ cucumber cut into 5cm pieces
- 1 cup deep fried tofu or regular tofu cubes
Make the base
- Cook dried chili pepper with boiling water for a couple of minutes and then transfer out and minced well. This will pair with doubanjiang to create the Ma flaovr.
- In a wok or pot, load with 4 to 5 cups of oil, and add green onion, coriander, and shallots. Heat until the aromas get withered. Transfer the content out and leave the oil.
- Fry 1 cup of doubanjiang in the oil with the slowest fire until the oil color turns red.
- Add chopped peppers and spices (pre-soaked in water), and add sugar, salt, and light soy sauce. Let the oil mixture simmer for 15 minutes until the flavors combined well. And add in water. We finished the soup base so far.
Cook the ingredients
- Place in longer cooking time ingredients first and then place all the others. If you using potato, lotus root, or other starchy vegetables. Remember to blanch them firstly.
- Once cooked, transfer to a large bowl or pot, garnish toasted sesame seeds, green onion and coriander.