In the midst of the cold weather and the current spectacular rain storming through Northern California, it calls for a night of Hot Pot or Shabu or Fondue. A Rose by any other name...Hot Pot for the Chinese, Shabu for the Japanese, and Fondue for well, I guess the 70s. The three concepts are alike, hot boiling liquid in a pot, commune eating with utensils and splashes and drips from your neighbors.
My family rotates "theme" nights when we get together (often) such as Standing Rib Roast night, Crawfish Night, Pho Night, the list could go on...
The hot "pot" is split in half and available for two different types of broth but we stick to a miso mix enhanced with chicken broth and (lots) dried chili peppers.
The star of the meal is the sliced fatty beef sold at Asian Supermarkets, they probably have a hot pot ingredient section too. The meat is expensive at about $10 a pound, unless one owns a commercial meat slicer; I happen to own one. I buy a higher quality fatty beef rib eye in bulk at a little over $5 a pound and sliced almost paper thin. The beef is a sight for sore eyes.
The dipping sauce is what separates a good hot pot experience to unbuttoning-my- jeans-so-I-can-eat-more experience. Below is my list of ingredients to create a perfect dipping sauce:
- Minced bottled garlic
- Chopped fresh scallions
- Sesame Paste
- S&B Chili Pepper (the kind used on ramen noodles)
- Sesame oil (a dab will do ya)
I like my sauce nice and chunky with ample amounts of garlic and scallions. The sesame paste creates a thickness to adhere to the cooked meat.
One could go crazy with the side dishes, past meals included - clams, geoduck, tofu, fishballs, quail eggs, and calamari (with tentacles, of course.) However, we kept it simple and sweet on this occasion with udon noddles, napa cabbage, various mushrooms and garland chrysanthemum.(茼蒿)
Hot pot, shabu or fondue is a way to cozy up with family and friends over simple, delicious, healthy and fun food!