Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tofu, Napa Cabbage, Black Cod and Meatball Hot Pot

Here's a little restorative.  I can only imagine that this hot pot contains a cornucopia of vitamins and nutrition with its many ingredients all cooked and left in the pot.  All of the goodness that might be drawn out from cooking is in the broth that the items are cooked in, just like a good soup.  I used the broth left from my steamed chicken the other night, started with some tofu and Napa cabbage, and then the pot grew.



For the hot pot, I used an earthenware pot and added the following. 
Napa cabbage, cut into rectangular pieces
Soft tofu, cut into 1/2" thick squares
Dried scallops that have been soaked in water and then shredded (about 1 Tbsp)
Pork meatballs
Shrimp balls (frozen packaged, Jane Jane brand)
Fresh black cod slices
Fresh shiitake mushrooms
Chicken broth, enough to cover everything
Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down heat to simmer until cabbage is softened and meatballs are cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.  It was a wonderfully rich and flavorful soup.  I should add that though the ingredients add a lot to the flavor and richness of the soup, but it's also important to start with a good chicken broth.  For best results, use a homemade broth or combine like I did, a homemade broth with the broth I had from steaming the chicken the other night.
If you are under the weather, find someone to make this for you.  If you are well, make it for yourself and your family.  It is love in a hot pot.

For the Meatballs:
1.5 lbs ground pork
4 Shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
3 Scallions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely minced ginger
2 Garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 Cup water
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
1 egg yolk, 2 egg whites, beaten


Combine everything but the pork and stir well to combine.  Then add the pork.  A note on the ground pork.  I almost always buy mine from Uwjimaya.  They offer three different kinds.  Kurobuta Berkshire ground pork, regular ground pork, and what they call "Gourmet" or premium ground pork.  The last one has considerably less fat in it.  I like to use a combo of 1/3 Kurobuta and 2/3 premium for the meatballs because you need a little fat or else I find the meatball will not be as tender and juicy.
When combining the pork, my mom advises to stir only in one direction.  This is supposed to make the meatballs more tender as well.  I don't know the reasoning behind it, but if my mom says to do it, I do it.
Once everything is mixed together well, cover and refrigerate for several hours to allow all the flavors to meld.  
Form the meatballs into approx. 2" balls, gently pressing them together.  My mom says to toss them heavily between your hands as another way to tenderize them.  
Heat a large fry pan with just a little bit of oil.  Gently cook the outsides being careful not to brown too much.  This is just to assure they will stay together once in the hot pot.  No need to cook them through entirely at this point as they'll cook further in the hot pot.  This made enough for tonight's meal and I froze the rest to be used at a later date.

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