Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chinese Hot Pot!

The weather has been colder lately, and something so comforting about hot pot! Also, the Asian market had the hot pot set-up on sale (yay!)

There is no wrong way to do hot pot, and no set recipe...you can do it with as fancy a broth as you want, or as simple as salted water...totally up to you! Of course, the fancier broth makes a yummier soup at the end :-)

We got the hot pot pot that has the center divider. This is good if you are doing it with mixed company, and some like spicy & some do not (like when my mama joins us!)

This time around Tyson made a base of pork Tonkotsu broth (it cooks so long it turns 'milky') YUM!
Then on the spicy side we did a Sichuan spicy packet, and on the mild side we did a miso / tahini broth.

Once the broth is made, you can dip almost anything into it...be creative! I will put a list of what we used this time, but don't be limited by us. If you like a veggie or a protein...get it!

Here is what you need for the Tonkotsu broth:
pork soup bones (neck or back - we got back bones because they were a little cheaper)
6 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 pork belly (optional)
1 beef tendon (optional)
16 cups water 
1/2 cup sake

Broth seasonings:
Mild:
Miso, soy sauce, or salt to taste
1 Tablespoon tahini

Spicy:
Szechuan hot pot packet

Hot pot dipping items (anything goes! This is just what we used)
1lb clams
1lb fish balls 
1 package pre-sliced lamb
1 package pre-sliced beef
1 bag frozen won tons
1 package baby bok choy
1 bunch thai basil
1 bunch fish mint 

(we discovered this strange aromatic 'fish mint' at the Asian market. We didn't know what it was, but it was bunched in with the other mints. It has an earthy sort of fresh smell - some on the internet said it smells like fish...or like feet. I didn't notice any unpleasantness, but maybe ours was really fresh...it has a strong semi-citrusy flavor...some like it, some hate it...regular mint might be a safer choice, but I think we mostly enjoyed it.)


First you make the broth. This tonkotsu broth takes pretty much all day, so if you don't want to do that much work, you can just do chicken / beef / pork stock. If you want that glorious milky broth this is what you do:

first heat up your pan with 2 tablespoons oil in it. Then brown your meats.

Once your meats are browned, remove them and set aside. Add ginger and garlic to pan and deglaze with your sake and return your meat to the pan adding in the tendon & the pork belly.

 Pour in your water. Bring everything to a boil and the reduce to a simmer. cover & cook for 6ish hours. (check on your broth after about 20 minutes and remove the 'scum' from the top - this in your only chance to do this. if you wait, it will break down & settle in your broth...not a bad thing, but the broth is nicer if you get it out)
When your broth is done, ladle 1/2 into each side of your hot pot & season each side accordingly. Set your pot to simmer so your dipping delights will cook.

Enjoy!

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