Sìchuān málà, more commonly referred to as mala sauce, is a very popular Chinese oily and spicy sauce that was originated in the Sichuan Province of central China and used extensively in their cuisine. It has become one of the most common seasonings in Chinese cuisine, gaining popularity anywhere where there are large populations of Chinese. The term málà is a combination of two Chinese characters: "numbing" (麻) and "hot (piquant)" (辣), referring to the feeling in the mouth after eating the sauce. The sauce is used in a wide variety of cooking methods from stir-fry, stews, and soup, to being used in hot pot or as a dipping sauce. In the Sichuan and Yunnan provinces mala powder (麻辣粉; pinyin: málàfĕn) is used liberally on snacks and street foods, such as stinky tofu, fried potatoes, and barbecued meats and vegetables.
The sauce is made primarily of:
Several varieties of chili peppers