Growing up in Beijing, I lived with my parents and enjoyed great food without thinking or learning about cooking at all. That was, until I moved to Japan for graduate school.

On my third day in Hiroshima, I was walking down the aisle of a small grocery store looking for a few basic ingredients to get the cooking started. I was immediately overwhelmed by the colorful condiments and flying Japanese characters I didn’t understand.

Circling between two aisles for nearly 20 minutes without working up the courage to ask an employee for help, I thought I’d finally found light soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, and Shaoxing wine.

I hadn’t.

The items I purchased were reduced-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, and mirin (sweet rice wine), which I discovered months after I had made the purchase. If you’re not familiar with these ingredients, just imagine that you’d gone to buy mayonnaise but ended up getting Greek yogurt. Somehow that caesar dressing you made for dinner just didn’t taste right!

The result? I tried cooking sweet and sour chicken, like, a hundred times. The dish turned out quite tasty, but something was off.

It just didn’t taste like the sweet and sour that I had back in China.

I didn’t really think into it for the two years I was there. I just assumed that I needed to improve my cooking skills.

After two years I finished school and went back to China. I cooked that killer sweet and sour chicken again, to show my mom that I actually could cook!

My mom was surprised, and SO WAS I!

I was using a small, flat nonstick skillet and my mom was mocking me, saying I still didn’t know how to use a wok. Five minutes later, she was stunned to find out that my dish tasted just like one from a Chinese restaurant. I was so proud of myself because it was first time I had made my mom speechless :)

The equipment didn’t matter. My lack of experience didn’t matter. All that mattered was the ingredients and a proven recipe.

When I was using the wrong ingredients, for example, Japanese soy sauce instead of Chinese soy sauce, I just couldn’t get the taste right even when I followed a solid recipe. It didn’t even matter if I got the cooking technique right or if I used a wok.

After two years of cooking and living in a foreign country with many cooking frustrations, I discovered that I could actually cook pretty decent Chinese food when I had the right ingredients!

Want to cook Chinese food like a PRO with ZERO experience?

JUST IMAGINE

  • If you didn’t need a wok or a gas stove.
  • If you didn’t need to drive for an hour to the Asian grocery store and spend another hour cruising through thousands of bottles with labels written in alien languages.
  • If you didn’t have to spend many hours mastering cooking techniques.
  • If you didn’t have to buy dozens of cookbooks to find the answers, like searching for a needle in a haystack.
  • If you could cook Chinese food like a restaurant chef, right from the beginning.
  • What if I told you that there was a way to start cooking Chinese food like a pro today?

My name is Maggie, the owner of the award-winning Chinese cooking blog Omnivore’s Cookbook. I was born and grew up in China, and moved to the US in 2015. I turned my blog from a part-time hobby into a full-time business, with the goal of making Chinese cooking less intimidating. As of 2017 I have more than 100,000 fans who share my love of Chinese food. My recipes have been viewed over five million times in the past three years.

When I had just moved to the US, I got to know Taylor Holliday through our blogs. Taylor is a veteran journalist who runs The Mala Project, a food blog in which she shares authentic Sichuan recipes and her stories of raising an adopted Chinese daughter in the US. She is a hardcore Sichuan food lover who’s obsessed with the authenticity of ingredients, even more than I am. I told her that it’s very difficult to source great Chinese ingredients in a small city like Austin. She said she was facing the same problem living in Nashville. We hit it off immediately.

In 2016 Taylor launched her online Chinese store The Mala Market, sourcing premium Chinese ingredients to help people in the US cook Chinese food just like it would taste in China. Within a few months, her store had gotten a lot of media attention, including from Serious Eats and The Village Voice.

When Taylor mentioned her project I was so excited and got on board immediately.

Working as a team, a brand new product was born.

introducing The Chinese Cooking

Starter Kit: a tool to help you

cook real-deal Chinese food,

starting today.

What’s Included

The Chinese stir fry starter kit includes 9 essential Chinese ingredients delivered to your door, an 8-week long newsletter course, and 16 proven recipes that let you start cooking Chinese food like a pro.

The Essential Chinese Cooking Course

Week 1

Ingredient substitution 101: general rules of basic Chinese pantry ingredients, how to substitute ingredients properly and what not to change. How to properly store ingredients so they will stay good for a long time.

Recipes you will learn:

  • Chinese Chicken Salad
  • Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

Week 2

How to stir fry with vegetables in the correct order, and when to stop cooking to maintain the crunchiness and fresh green appearance.

How to cut meat, vegetables, and aromatics, and tips on how to prep food faster

Recipes you will learn:

  • Moo Shu Pork
  • Hot and Sour Soup

Week 3

How to properly prepare mise en place so (1) you don’t need a ton of counter space; (2) you won’t forget to add something.

The best practices for stir frying noodles, with minimum sticking and spilling.

Recipes you will learn:

  • Shrimp Chow Mein
  • Chinese Broccoli in Oyster Sauce

Week 4

How to stir fry with meat: create tender meat without overcooking, get crispy texture like restaurants without deep frying, and the easiest way to prepare meat for cooking.

Recipes you will learn:

  • General Tso Chicken
  • Four-ingredient Fried Cabbage


Week 5

How to create that real-deal Szechuan food that tastes like it would in China: basic homemade condiments, basic flavor bases in Szechuan cuisine, the magic ingredient that elevates your dishes from “not bad” to “heavenly fragrant with a zing”.

Recipes you will learn:

  • Homemade Chili Oil
  • Dan Dan Noodles

Week 6

The golden rules of creating the best flavor profiles between sweet, sour, spicy, and savory in a single dish, with that elusive umami.

Recipes you will learn:

  • Mapo Tofu
  • Szechuan Eggplant

Week 7

How to steam food. Tips on how to reduce Chinese cooking workflow to make faster dinners.

Recipes you will learn:

  • Homemade Black Bean Sauce
  • Steamed Fish with Black Beans

Week 8

How create a 5-dish Chinese dinner for a party without pressure. You will learn how to prep, cook, and serve everything on time so nothing goes cold.

Recipes you will learn:

  • Braised Chicken and Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Chinese Cucumber Salad

Bonus Chapter

The science of mixing and matching ingredients - learn which ingredients and sauces go well together so you can start to create your own stir fried dishes.

A Sneak Peak at The Essential Chinese

Pantry Kit

Light Soy Sauce

Not all soy sauce is created equal. Across regions and makers, it's produced differently, has different ingredients and ratios, and tastes discernibly different.

For Chinese cooking, we prefer Chinese soy sauces and, specifically, those made by Pearl River Bridge. Established in 1958, PRB is China's leading soy sauce maker. The Golden Superior Light Soy Sauce is its flagship light soy sauce, fermented for more than 100 days and extracted from the first pressing of fermented soybeans and wheat. Our light soy sauce is naturally brewed and contains no color or flavor additives.

No matter whether you’re making a beef broccoli stir fry or dim sum spring rolls, light soy sauce will add extra umami and give you that original taste.

Dark Soy Sauce

Dark soy sauce is light soy sauce to which sugar has been added after the fermentation process. It has a distinctly molasses-like taste, and is used mostly in marinades and sauces to give your food that appetizing dark hue and subtle, sweet flavor boost. Our dark soy sauce is naturally brewed and contains no color or flavor additives.

Ever wonder why restaurant style beef chow fun has that beautiful dark brown color? Dark soy sauce is your answer.

Chinkiang Vinegar (1-Year Brewed)

One of the four famous vinegars of China, Chinkiang black rice vinegar is dark, full-bodied and moderately sour with just a tinge of sweetness. Hengshun is the most famous maker and is a "China Time-Honored Brand," in production since 1840. The one-year-old version is an everyday vinegar for cooking or sauces.

Chinkiang vinegar is a key ingredient to create restaurant-style sweet-and-sour and General Tso’s sauces.

Premium Oyster Sauce

We always choose Lee Kum Kee, the company that was founded and built on its premium oyster sauce. In 1888, Lee Kum Sheung invented oyster sauce in Guangdong Province. Nowadays the Hong Kong-headquartered company makes sauces in five locations including Los Angeles, where this is one made.

This beautifully packaged Oyster Flavored Sauce is LKK’s premium offering, made from the finest oyster extracts. If you love beef chow fun or chicken chow mein as much as I do, then you must try this sauce.

Premium Sichuan Peppercorns

There's a world of difference between fresh, premium-grade Sichuan pepper and what is normally found in the U.S. The best "hua jiao" is grown in Hanyuan County of Sichuan province. Beyond that, our Chengdu buyer looks for intense aroma, high oil content and a strong numbing sensation, as well as purity, with no additives and few stems and seeds (which are not used for cooking but often appear in lower quality Sichuan peppercorns).

We’re proud to carry some of the freshest Sichuan peppercorns in the US. With them you can cook restaurant-style Mapo Tofu and Kung Pao Chicken with that unmistakeable numbing-tingling sensation.

Fermented Chili Bean Paste

Pixian chili bean paste is a fermented mix of broad beans, Chinese chili peppers, and salt. It is often called the soul of Sichuan cooking, as it is the deeply flavorful base of so many classic Sichuan dishes, including Mapo Tofu. We picked Juan Cheng Pai, which is a "China Time-Honored Brand" of chili bean paste made in Pixian County, Sichuan, since 1688. This package is first grade, and has been fermented and aged for one year. It is also certified as a Green Food by the agency in China that regulates organic and non-chemical food production.

As important as fresh Sichuan peppercorns, fermented chili bean paste is the other secret weapon to create that authentic Sichuan flavor at home.

Fermented black soybeans

Fermented black soybeans are called douchi in Chinese, but we like to call them “umami bombs”. They pack so much flavor in such a little bean! The douchi from Yangjiang County are our favorite, both in taste and texture. These are pure, salty, savory beans, with no smoky flavor as some douchi have.

They are a must-have for making your own black bean sauce that tastes 200% better than a bottled one. Trust me, you’ll want to eat the sauce straight, with a spoon, once you make it.

Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

Dried shiitake mushrooms are used throughout China to add intense umami to dishes. Small, dark and fragrant, these are grown and processed naturally in Henan Province with no additives or preservatives.

They are perfect a vegetarian replacement for oyster sauce, and are an essential ingredient in many braised dishes and stews.

Chinese Chili Flakes

Great Chinese chili flakes are hard to find outside of China. These deep-red chili flakes have just the right mix of flakes, powder and seeds from Sichuan chili peppers. So they’ll add a beautiful red color and aroma to your dish without turning it too spicy.

It is the must-have ingredient to make any spicy stir fry sauces, and the key ingredient for making chili oil, which is as important as Sriracha sauce is to American foodies.

  • A complete and fun newsletter course that lets you walk into the kitchen with confidence from day one.
  • Equip your kitchen with the essential Chinese pantry delivered to your door with one click.
  • Get all the ingredients right the first time, without communicating with an Asian grocery clerk who doesn’t understand what you’re looking for.
  • Sixteen carefully curated recipes to help you master the basic Chinese cooking skills in 8 weeks.
  • At the end of the course, you’ll be able to make a table of delicious Chinese dishes to showcase your work to your family and friends.

Get the Chinese Stir Fry Kit to start cooking better Chinese food

  • An 8-week long Basic Chinese Cooking Course via newsletter.
  • Sixteen easy-to-follow recipes that help you master some of the most popular Chinese dishes.

  • The Essential Pantry Kit, delivered to your door, including 9 premium ingredients: light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, oyster sauce, Sichuan peppercorns, fermented spicy bean paste, fermented black soybeans, Chinese chili flakes, and dried Shiitake mushrooms.

What are customers saying?

"They (Sichuan peppercorns) have super-brilliant colors, the aroma is complex and citrusy, and they totally have that dank-weed smell." Wu and Young get theirs at The Mala Market, an online store that specializes in Sichuan ingredients.

—Chef Jonathan Wu (NYC's Fung Tu) and cookbook author Grace

Young in Serious Eats

This looks wonderful. I live in the inner NY suburbs and frequently visit Flushing, Queens Chinatown, but still can’t find half of your offerings.

—Mark K

I just received my spice order. My wife works in China. The last time she came home, she brought me some HanYuan peppercorns. They were the best I've ever had...until now. I always test peppercorns the same way; put one bud in my mouth, chew on it a few times, then remove it. It's been about 10 minutes now, and my lips and tongue are still tingling.

——Steve R

Still have more questions?

Why don’t I see Shaoxing wine in this kit?

Our store cannot carry Shaoxing wine because we don’t have an expensive liquor license. If you cannot find Shaoxing wine, your next best option is to purchase a bottle of dry sherry from a grocery or liquor store.

Are these ingredients vegetarian or vegan?

All but the oyster sauce are vegan. Oyster sauce contains oyster extract, so it’s not a vegetarian or vegan product.

I’m very busy! Does learning Chinese cooking take a lot of time?

The pantry kit and the newsletter course will help you out if you’re busy! They will save you hours of browsing through thousands of recipes on the internet, not knowing which one to cook, and wandering around an Asian store without knowing which ingredients to buy.

What’s the difference between this kit and the ingredients in an Asian grocery store?

We source the freshest products from some of the most famous Chinese producers. Spices like fresh Sichuan peppercorns and premium Chinese chili flakes make a big impact on your dishes and bring your dishes closer to the original. Many Asian markets do not carry such ingredients, and if they do, it’s very likely that the spices are stale and no longer fragrant.

What if I don’t like what I get? Will you issue a refund?

We typically do not offer returns or refunds, except in the case of damaged, defective or spoiled items. However, we want you to be happy with your purchase, so if you have any concerns or are not satisfied with your products, please contact us within 30 days of receiving your order. When returns are possible, they will be in exchange for Mala Market credit..

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