Monday, February 1, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Mongolian Hot Pot ("Chinese Fondue") Part Deux

Prior to writing this post, I have unfortunately not had the opportunity yet to dine at a restaurant where Mongolian Hot Pot (known as "Chinese Fondue") was served - certainly my loss.  However, after reading about Hot Pot from guest Bloggers Kelly and Eric, I decided that I had to give it a try myself.  Truthfully, Mongolian Hot Pot is meant to be served to a group of diners, such as at a dinner party.  However, since it was my first try, and I was recipe testing, I decided to prepare Hot Pot for two - myself and my husband, Brad.

The first step was purchasing a hot pot.  I didn't get one of the fancy traditional hot pots, but the model I purchased at Tarzian West Housewares in Brooklyn was perfectly acceptable for making Hot Pot.  I bought the Presto Kitchen Kettle Multi-Cooker/Steamer which can function as a Hot Pot, among other things.  Apparently it can also be used for a wide variety of other tasks, from braising to deep frying, so I will be sure to use it next time I prepare my deep-fried NOLA beignets.  Thus, I selected my hot pot, which is pictured below.  It came with an internal basket, but I plan on purchasing additional small metal baskets on my next excursion to Chinatown, to use for a dinner party so each participant can have their own basked to make their hot pot fondue.  Last night, however, we made do with one basked and made one hot pot concoction that we shared.

The next step was to prepare the broth in the hot pot.  Although some diners may just use a simple beef or chicken stock, that would not do the trick for me.  I think the broth is really the most important ingredient in hot pot because it gives all the other vegetables and meats their flavor, as you want them to "soak up" the savory broth.  I was extremely pleased with the broth recipe I concocted, so I am going to share it below.  I really wanted something with a chicken broth / coconut flavor with lots of thai and asian spices, and a just a bit of heat.  I accomplished that in a very satisfying way.

Sasha's Mongolian Hot Pot Broth

7.5 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white cooking wine
2/3 cup coconut milk (leftover from the coconut meringue buttercream cake I baked on Saturday)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 T rice vinegar
1 tsp diced garlic
1 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp dried lemongrass
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

I prepared the broth in the hot pot and allowed it to simmer, much the same way I would have prepared a broth if I did it on a pot on my oven.  Like I said above, I was quite pleased with the results.

The next step was to select the ingredients that would be cooked in the hot pot - and for this step, the sky's the limit.  The possibilities are endless but I settled on the following:

london broil
fresh scallops (cut into small pieces, perhaps I should use baby scallops next time instead)
udon noodles

Next time, I will probably include some red pepper as well!  I seasoned all of the ingredients differently, using various combinations of pepper, soy sauce, scallions, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.  The tofu, broccoli and scallops were actually my favorite because they really absorbed the tasty broth extremely well.  I cooked my hot pot at about 200 degrees (my husband wanted me to turn up the heat, but I preferred to keep it down, and allow the ingredients to cook a bit more slowly).

My results were delicious - I recommend serving with just a bit of the broth, and with a homemade sauce made of soy sauce, rice vinegar, a bit of sugar, ginger and a touch of sesame oil.  I plan to get those mini-baskets very soon, and have a hot pot dinner party in the near future using my broth recipe to cook up everything and anything that I'm in the mood for.

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  1. Hey, everything is looking great on your blog. Your photography is super and your recipes are classy! Please keep it up! You are an inspiration! Best to you and your family! Thom


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