Sunday, March 15, 2009
Chinese Hot Pot Dinner
I am SO full from tonight's dinner . When I eat as much as I did tonight, even though it was mostly vegetables, I feel like a pig - fat and sleepy. Therefore, this will be a quick one.
My cousins came over for dinner with most of the ingredients for our hot pot dinner. I'm pretty sure that hotpot originated in the northern parts of China and is usually eaten during the cold winter months for obvious reasons. It looks like a ton of food but in actual fact, most of it is vegetables. It is very healthy in that no cooking oil is needed. All you need is a boiling pot of chicken broth (or any type of broth) with a portable burner (sold at most major Chinese grocery stores with the cans of butane gas fuel, and you're in business. When we have more than 6 people dining, we would have two pots going. It's nice because everyone sits around the table and chats while waiting for your food to cook. The food cooks very quickly since everything is either sliced thinly or in small bite-size pieces. Every diner is given a pair of chopsticks and a miniature mesh net to dunk and fetch your food, a plate and a bowl with a concoction of sauces such as soy sauce, garlic, chili sauce, hoisin sauce, etc. Tonight, the variety of foods was great. Sometimes we actually have more to choose from, believe it or not. After everyone is done cooking, the soup will be very flavorful and delicious to drink.
On the menu tonight was:
rainbow trout (usually we have salmon)
a combo of beef, shrimp and fish balls
yam noodles (the cute little bundles)
fried gluten balls
thousand year old egg (remember this egg in "Survivor"? It's not really a thousand years old - it's the way it's preserved that gives it this coloring)
white Chinese radish
For dessert, we had black sesame soup, one of my mom's specialties that I keep in the deep freezer in case of a craving, with black sesame paste rice balls (not sure of the name and these were bought). She grinds up black sesame seeds and rice that has been soaked overnight. Then more water is added to desired viscosity and stick brown sugar candy Unfortunately, I haven't learned the proportions yet. The store bought ready-to-serve just does not measure up to the homemade version.