Friday, June 25, 2010
Every New Year's Eve our family has a tradition of eating Chinese food. Most often, we eat "Hot Pot". This is a meal best eaten in winter months, and when you have plenty of time to eat. It's a great meal to share with guests! We do eat it other times of the year, but New Year's is our tradition. I'm going to give you the basics, but you could adapt this to your own lifestyle.
First you need to make a sauce. There are many ways you could do this, but our standard is using chinese "Char Sui" barbecue sauce. (pictured below)
The way we were taught is to pour the entire jar in to a bowl, and add one egg. Add a little soy sauce to thin out the paste. Add chopped cilantro, and a splash of sesame oil. Now, you could add other things like finely chopped garlic or ginger, or even hot chili sauce, but we pretty much just use this recipe. Give each person their own bowl with some of the sauce in it.
Next you are going to need some kind of electric skillet to put in the middle of the table. We have an electric skillet, but we also have a "hot pot" that was given to us by a friend. With our large family, and guests, we usually use both. Fill both with chicken broth, and set on high heat. Once the broth gets boiling you can turn it down a little if needed. Keep a pitcher of water on the table to refill the pots if they start to boil down. Make sure you have a lid that fits because this sometimes comes in handy when cooking.
You can use just about any kind of meat you like, but we prefer pork, chicken, and shrimp. Ask your butcher to slice the pork and chicken thinly. We own a meat slicer, so we slice it ourselves. For my family, I would plan on about 2 pounds of meat. If you have left over, you can always eat it again the next day. :)
Once again, you can use any vegetable you like but we prefer the following.
--Nappa Cabbage cut in manageable chunk size.
--Daikon radish peeled and cut in cubes
--Firm Tofu drained cut in cubes.
--Straw mushrooms (we use canned)
--Any other mushroom you like.
--Bean thread noodles (clear noodles)
As soon as the broth is simmering, add some of the meat, vegetables and extras to the broth. The radish takes a little longer to cook than the other food. When the pink is gone from the meat, or when the shrimp turns color, it is done. The vegetables cook very quickly, so don't let them get too soft. If the pot is particularly full, you might want to put the lid on to help bring the heat back up so that the food cooks quicker.
Each person can retrieve the food they like from the pot and dip it in their sauce and eat it. We use chop sticks to retrieve the food from the broth, but you could have a large serving spoon handy for those who are "chopstick challenged". :) Most Chinese like to drink the soup with the noodles at the end of the meal.
This is a pretty healthy meal, and tastes great! The most difficult part for most people is finding the sauce. But I think many grocery stores now days carry it. Give this dinner a try!