Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hot Pot or if you want to be a fancy pants.....Fondue Chinois

The Hot Pot....in action  (Fish Paste and Veggies)

This is one of the meals that evokes some really good memories.  Don't you just love it when food does that?

My earliest recollection of this meal would be hanging out at the association hall in Chinatown and enjoying this meal with my dad and all the "village uncles".  They were busy preparing the big feast to bring in the New Year.
Usually on December 26 or 27, the preparations would begin, starting with the washing of the dishes, which had been stored for a year.

After a long day of washing and cleaning they would make this meal outside over huge propane burners made from converted oil drums.  Enormous woks would hold  the boiling broth and all sorts of things would get thrown in.  To be honest, I don't recall what we ate.....usually there was a lot of choy (greens).  I just remember looking forward to this fun meal....hanging out with dad and the boys.  In fact, I think it took some convincing on my part to be allowed to join in this male ritual.

Today we enjoy this hot pot meal much more often than once a year.
We have recently purchased an induction cook top and love it....we think it's an upgrade from the butane burner. It's instantaneous!.....and it seems the house doesn't get as warm as it does with open flames from the butane burner.




Here is a sampling of the offerings for this hot pot. We were 8.  By weight I prepared about 14 lbs of protein, 2-3 lbs of assorted greens, 2 lbs of  assorted mushrooms, 50 dumplings and some assorted noodles.  This is our version of "all you can eat" hot pot.  Everyone was stuffed and we had enough for another hot pot tonight for 8 and still had lots of meat and seafood left over.

Pork Dumplings with Bak Choy and Xiao Long Bao

Beef Tenderloin, Pork Loin, Chicken

Fresh  Noodles
Usually I make my own, but these are store bought

Mussels, Prawns, Basa
Fish Paste and Fish Dumplings (no picture)

Mushrooms: Enoki, Shojemi, Oyster

Gai Lan, Green Beans, Pea Tips, Sui choy, Watercress 
Dong Gua (no picture)

At lunch today with a very famous blogger (details to follow), we were discussing all you can eat (AYCE) Hot Pot restaurants vs. Hot Pot at home.

Hands down BR and I prefer this meal at home.....although it is quite a lot of prep work.
BR and our guests like that I marinade the meats and seafood....it's much tastier than the thinly sliced stuff at the AYCE places.  Cost wise it is also much more economical. We have tried the pre-sliced meats, but still prefer to cut our own.....more accurately.......they prefer it when I cut my own.

 The groceries for this meal cost about $100.  If we went out for AYCE avg is $25 - $30 per person, even though they advertise $19.99 per person....by the time you pay for the soup and condiments it quickly adds up to close to $30 per person!
Our $100 fed 16 people... that works out to just $6.25  per person.....good deal at this AYCE restaurant.  Bonus is there is no time limit.  Free Soup and Free Condiments!

For the broth, I made a simple chicken broth from the bones of the chicken.  Sometimes I add herbs, sometimes I don't...sometimes I make one spicy with Thai Red Curry paste, lime leaves and coconut.
Mostly now, we stick to a plain broth that gets flavored over the evening.  Folks seem to prefer making their own concoctions in their bowls.

For condiments and dipping sauces, the favorites are my spicy peanut sauce, ginger and green onion "pesto", simple soy with a tiny drizzle of sesame oil, finely julienned ginger, fresh hot peppers, cilantro and an assortment of chili sauces.


A new discovery and voted the favorite condiment of the night!

Chili Paste with Sweet Basil Leaves......so yummy, we ate the whole jar!



If you haven't tried hot pot, we highly recommend you give it a whirl.  A great way to spend an evening with good company.


5 comments:

  1. Hehehe ... guess what we had for dinner. Hot Pot at home! We went looking for the "basil chili" in T&T but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack without knowing the actual name or what it looked like. It was good. We spent about $60 ... so it was not as cheap as you did. I think it's because we bought from T&T and it's not cheap.

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  2. hey Ben.... so glad you found the Chili with Basil. Pretty good stuff, eh?. Looking forward to your post on Hot Pot at Chez Chowtimes! (OK..let's get real.....Chez Suanne). I know who does all the work in the kitchen!

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  3. THANK YOU once again! A very memorable experience; the flavours , the variety, the closeness of your fellow guests. This whole tradition and process of cooking with the other guests is the only dining experience, I have had that compares to the age old campfire. It instantly breaks down barriers and brings in the warmth and togetherness of a group of people around the warmth and security of a fire. Leave it to the long history of the Chinese to take this experience to a whole new level. Yum Yum Yum

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  4. Hi Gary!
    We are so glad that you came our little soiree and that you enjoyed yourself......remember, it's a standing invitation.

    pretty soon we might be gathering around an outdoor hearth.....are you listening garden guru...hehe :-)

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    Wok cooker

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