Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Restorative

I almost made it through winter without a cold.  But I seem to have caught two of them on top of each other.  Or maybe it's the joy of the changing seasons bringing me two gifts..a cold and bad allergies.  Either way, a little restorative was in order.
A Chinese Hot Pot dinner answered the call.  Sit at the table in front of a simmering pot of water or chicken broth and let the steam and the purity of the food soothe you.  You will need either a portable burner with a pot or an electric hot pot.  Nowadays, you can readily find either of these at any Asian store.  When I was a kid, I remember my parents using a portable Coleman camping propane stove.   You can choose really anything you like for your hot pot.  The meats are very thinly sliced so they cook almost immediately.  In the pot, I boiled water, then added some nappa cabbage, tofu and fish cake since these items take a bit longer.  Only add a bit at a time as the goal here is to eat it as soon as it's cooked.  The rest of the items should be cooked as you eat them.  I got sliced Kurobuta pork, beef shortplate, and some Gulf white shrimp.  For the kids, I sometimes put out some won tons as well.
Then there's the sauce you dip everything in.  Growing up, I remember making up your own concoction.  A variety of condiments were put on the table and each person was her own mixologist.  My dad always put a raw egg in his.  My mom liked sa cha jiang.  For my family, I mix up one communal sauce of soy, peanut butter, a little vinegar, sesame oil, green onions and ginger.  Then additional options on the table are chili oil, chili paste, and cilantro.  
The best part of the meal is the broth you are left with at the end.  Add in some chinese bean thread and scoop up a bowl of satisfaction.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds delicious. Reminds me of the fondues we had as kids, the broths ones especially. It must be soup season, because yesterday I had fantastic miso Ramen at great Japanese place downtown, Kintaro. When you order you can specify the amount of fat you want and how fatty you want the pork. I know how Chris would order. Perhaps see you guys at the end of the month.

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