Szechuan Ma La Steamboat 四川麻辣火锅 (Szechuan Ma La Huo Guo)

  • 5 small dried chillies (more if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil (more if using more chilies)
  • ¼ - ½ cup lard (duck fat always works.)
  • ¼ cup chillie bean paste
  • ¼ cup black bean garlic sauce
  • 8 cm (~3 in) piece of fresh ginger, peeled & cut into 2mm (1/8 in) thick slices
  • 2 litres (2 qt) chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon rock sugar 
  • 1/3 cup rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppers (optional) Szechuan pepper is spicy but noticeably it has a numbing effect on the lips and tongue.

  1. Deseed the chillies if you prefer. This reduces the heat considerably. Heat peanut oil in a small pan on medium-high heat and add chillies. Stir-fry until crisp and fragrant, making sure not to burn. Remove chillies from oil and set aside. 
  2. In a large stock pot over low heat, melt lard. Once lard has melted, turn up the heat to medium-high. When lard is hot, but not smoking, add the chillie bean paste and stir-fry for a few moments. Add black bean sauce and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant. Then pour in 1.5 litres (1½ qt) of the chicken stock. When liquid has come to a boil, add the sugar and the rice wine or sherry. The broth can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated.
  3. Add the prepared chillies and optional Szechuan peppers and simmer for about 30 minutes. Heat the remaining chicken stock and use to top-off the hot-pot when it gets low.

Suggested dipping ingredients:
  • Napa cabbage, cut in bite-size chunks
  • fresh mushrooms
  • fresh udon noodles 
  • dried rice stick noodles, soaked in warm water for a few minutes until soft, then drained
  • thinly sliced meats (the thinner the better): pork, beef and lamb

Dipping sauces:

Peanut Sauce:
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoon tomato paste
  1. Mix all ingredients together then add water until the desired consistency is achieved (it should be slightly runny).

Soy-Ginger Sauce:
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  1. Mix all ingredients together.

Soy-Mustard Sauce:
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon
  • 1 teaspoons peanut oil
  • a few drops of rice vinegar
  1. Mix all ingredients together.