Last Updated: May 8, 2020
Lately, with the extended ‘Circuit Breaker’ period, I find myself often thinking wistfully about hawker food that I miss. Sure, we can head to nearby stalls to #tapauplease, but what about my favourite Hokkien mee stall at Old Airport Road? Or my go-to carrot cake stall in Toa Payoh?
But if there’s one dish I can happily eat for lunch and dinner, it’s mala xiang guo. This fiery dish picked up in popularity in recent years, and I frequent the much-hyped Ri Ri Hong mala xiang guo stall in Chinatown. With the ‘Circuit Breaker’ measures in effect, I’m stuck at home without my favourite spicy meal, so what’s a girl to do?
Luckily, everyone’s a home cook these days, and I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks of my own. When you can’t buy it, you’ll have to cook it yourself.
I thought mala xiang guo might be a tricky dish to master, but it turns out there’s a “cheat code”—simply pick up instant mala seasoning, like Knorr Mala Liquid Seasoning, and it’s easy to whip up a hearty portion of mala xiang guo.
Let’s get started on this recipe for Easy DIY Mala Xiang Guo in 30 minutes!
Preparation time: 20 minutes; Cooking time: 10 minutes
Feeds six to eight
Step 1: Prepare all the ingredients beforehand for a smoother cooking process. Slice 3 potatoes, 2 lotus roots and the king oyster mushrooms thinly. Slice Taiwanese sausages and bamboo shoots into bite-sized pieces.
Slice luncheon meat, then cut into quarters. Cut off florets from the head of broccoli.
Wash enoki mushrooms, and slice off woody stems at the bottom of the cluster. Let frozen pork belly slices thaw.
Step 2: Blanch the “hard” vegetables—potato slices, lotus root slices, and bamboo shoots—by cooking them in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, then plunging them in an ice-water bath.
Step 3: Fire up the stove, and heat oil in the wok.
Step 4: Throw diced garlic, sliced ginger and chopped dried chilli in the wok. Fry till fragrant.
You can also consider using whole garlic cloves, if you prefer creamy and chewy roasted garlic cloves.
Step 5: Add in the potato slices and lotus root slices. Stir ingredients around so they don’t burn.
Step 6: Pour in 5 teaspoons of Knorr Mala Liquid Seasoning. Mix well.
Step 7: Add in bamboo shoots, broccoli, king oyster mushrooms and enoki mushrooms. Stir the ingredients.
Step 8: Add in pork belly slices, luncheon meat and Taiwanese sausages.
Step 9: Pour in another 5 teaspoons of Knorr Mala Liquid Seasoning. Mix well, and keep on low heat till pork belly slices are fully cooked.
Step 10: Pour roasted peanuts over the dish and mix in. Serve on its own, or with a bowl of white rice.
This was a truly huge portion of mala xiang guo; I had to split it into two batches when cooking because my wok actually wasn’t big enough.
If you’re cooking for a smaller group, I suggest halving the ingredients used. I actually ended up saving a portion for dinner as well; that’s how much food there was.
Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients; most of it can simply be anything you find in your kitchen. Greens, proteins, carbs—you name it, you can probably throw it into mala xiang guo. It’s a great way to clear the small amounts of ingredients lying around, and it makes for a hearty meal.
What really brings this dish together has to be the Knorr Mala Liquid Seasoning (S$3.20 for 1 bottle). Fiery, savoury and tongue-tingling, the seasoning tasted absolutely spot on. And it eliminates the hassle of concocting your own mala sauce, too.
Of course, mala xiang guo is a rather well-known dish. For all of you creative home cooks out there, here’s something to challenge you. I’m sure you have lots of ideas on what other mala dishes you can incorporate Knorr Mala Liquid Seasoning into.
Psst, Knorr is giving you a chance to win a Knorr Hamper (worth more than S$180)! Simply answer with your most creative mala dish, at the Knorr Mala Liquid Seasoning Contest. It’s really that easy!
Expected Damage: S$25 per portion (feeds 6 – 8 pax)
*This post was brought to you in collaboration with Knorr.