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Ma La Xiang Guo (Hot and Numbing Fragrant Pot, or "Dry Hot Pot&#34

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During my time in China, a dish became very popular in Beijing called 麻辣香锅 or "Ma La Xiang Guo", which I translate as "hot and numbing fragrant pot". It's basically a dry version of Sichuan hot pot, in which the diner generally picks out an array of meats, vegetables, fungi, etc that they want to have in their pot, along with the degree of spiciness they can tolerate, and then the kitchen puts it all together and serves it in a big wok on the table. The flavour is incredible, and if you put together an interesting combination of ingredients to go in the pot, it can be a fantastic dish. I would love to prepare it now that I'm no longer living in China; does anyone know how to make it? Searches on the internet have been rather unhelpful, I've found.


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  • 3 years later...

I assume you mean the condiments, because one of the key features of Ma La Xiang Guo seems to be that you can choose pretty much any meat, veges, dried tofu products, etc, that you like.

Everyone will have their own preferences, and of course, you'll also need salt and oil.  But the following are the ingredients that give it it's unique flavour (in the versions I've seen in Beijing, at least). 

Main (include all these, but how much of each depends on taste)
* dried red chilli peppers
* garlic
* ginger
* star anise
* cassia bark
* bay leaves
* scallions (green/spring onion)

Secondary (all optional):
* prickly ash (aka. Chinese pepper)
* fennel
* Chinese style bean paste (there are all different kinds though, some which will be too salty or too spicy - so trial carefully)

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  • 7 months later...

It seems like the prickly ash (Sichuan peppercorns) can't be optional, or the dish is not ma.

Precisely. '麻 - má' in this context always implies Sichuan peppercorns - 花椒

There are any number of 'dry' hotpots. '麻辣香锅 má là xiāng gu' is a very general term which could mean many different dishes. My local restaurant, run by a lovely couple from Sichuan, does am excellent dry duck hotpot - 干锅鸭 - gān guō yā.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.


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