Hot pot is a style of cooking that originated in Mongolia, China. Due to Japanese influence, we now have the popular sukiyaki and shabu-shabu. It consists of a simmering pot of stock at the center of the dining table; ingredients are gathered round the simmering pot, and thinly sliced beef sirloin or pork belly, noodles, seafoods and leafy vegetables are cooked at the table, and eaten with a dipping sauce during wintertime. Nowadays, people come up with their own home versions of hot pot as this is usually very expensive when served at restaurants. I know of my co-worker who served some delicious hot pot at her house, and I watched a video online on how a young lady showed us the correct way of preparing a Taiwanese hot pot. It is kind of tedious as we need to bake some of the ingredients first as a base for the flavorful broth. I went to a butcher and asked for Australian Wagyu beef but the owner said that it has to be ordered in advance so I ordered some sirloin instead. Check out the numerous ingredients below…
2 lbs. meaty beef bone or oxtail
1 lb. meaty pork bone
1 lb. meaty lamb bone
2 inch slices of ginger
1 long Daikon (sliced into 2 inch cubes)
1 huge carrot (quartered)
2 celery ribs (sliced into 2 inch)
1 tsp. black peppercorns (coarsely pounded)
3 tomatoes (quartered)
1 whole head garlic
1 cup of shitake mushrooms (sliced)
1 huge red onion (quartered)
few pieces of star anise (optional but my preference)
frozen fish balls
frozen crab squares
thinly sliced pork belly or thinly sliced beef short ribs
1 lb. of Australian Wagyu beef or thinly sliced beef Sirloin
1 lb. huge shrimps (heads and peels intact)
Vermicelli or any cellophane noodles
Napa cabbage or Sweet King Bokchoy
A bunch of watercress
a bundle of scallions
A tray of quail eggs (my idea and wash each egg very carefully)
Taiwanese tempura (like a fish cake)
Hot Pot Bean Curd Sheet (gives your hotpot bowl the added crunch)
Bull Head hot and spicy barbecue sauce
1. Wash well the 3 kinds of meaty bones, trim off the fat and season with coarse sea salt, drain on a colander and layer on a huge baking pan and add the onions, daikons, and carrots and crack some pepper from the peppermill then bake at pre-heated oven at 450º for 3 minutes then roast for 1 hour or until the bones are roasted well and caramelized.
2. Next, gather everything: roasted bones/meat and vegetables as celery, bay leaves, bottom of Napa cabbage, tomatoes, garlic, shitake mushrooms and peppercorns and star anise into a pot. Cover the pot with enough water covering the ingredients (make sure that you rinse the baking dish and get the caramelized tidbits and add to the pot). Leave top on but keep ajar and simmer for 6-24 hours. I did mine for only 6 hours. After an hour of simmering, pick up the flavorful, tender meat, set aside then return all the bones back to the pot.
3. Drain everything in a colander. Taste the broth first before seasoning generously with handful of salt. Drain the soggy vegetables and put the drained soup in a crockpot in the middle of the dining table and set on high for 5-6 hours. Start assembling all the added ingredients for the hot pot like the following: fresh spinach, thin sliced of raw sirloin beef, sliced mushrooms, hot pot bean curd sheet, vermicelli, cellophane or rice noodles, fish balls, crab balls, Napa cabbage or sweet king bokchoy, thinly sliced pork belly, watercress, quail eggs, cilantro, scallions, Australian Wagyu beef, Enoki mushrooms, fried tofu, shrimps with heads, any type of seafood and taro squares. The add-ons are endless as long as the soup is continuously boiling; it is a good idea to continue boiling the soup in a crock-pot instead of a burning flame in the middle of the dining table as we know about some people’s mishaps before.
4. You may add different condiments as sweet chilli sauce, shrimp paste or fish sauce, but if you want the recipe for the sesame peanut sauce, I have it also for you but you need this Bull Head, hot and spicy barbecue sauce that you can buy from any Chinese supermarket……
RECIPE/INGREDIENTS for SESAME PEANUT SAUCE:
quarter of a cup of sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. honey
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. fresh ginger
juice of 1 lime or lemon
1 Tbsp. Chile flakes or less
Add all the ingredients in a food processor but lastly add the peanut butter gradually and the cilantro sprigs.
RECIPE/ INGREDIENTS for the ALTERNATE SIMPLE SAUCE:
2 raw eggs
some chopped yellow onions
quarter of a cup of Bullhead barbecue sauce
Crack and beat 2 raw eggs, add chopped yellow onions, sliced scallions and quarter of a cup of Bullhead barbecue sauce. Mix them well together. Afraid of eating raw egg, we just mix a tablespoon of this Bull Head Barbecue Sauce with sliced scallions and a tablespoon of finely chopped red onion and still amazingly spicy good. If you want a vegetarian version, you can make it by eliminating all the meat and use substitution then use a variety of vegetables and the Bull Head Barbecue sauce has a vegetarian option too, so easy to find in any Chinese supermarket.
Some really great hot pot on my birthday, and thanks to all my co-workers, families, relatives, classmates and friends who greeted me on my birthday. You can follow me now on Twitter and Instagram! Hooray!