Mom-golian Hot Pot

My mix between a Northern Chinese-style Mongolian Hot Pot, a Cantonese-style Chrysanthemum Pot, and a Japanese-style Shabu Shabu.

Serves 8

1 1/2lbs boneless lean lamb
1 1/2lbs boneless lean beef
1lb boneless chicken breasts
1lb raw shrimp, deveined, tails on *
6oz transparent bean thread noodles
1/2lb spinach leaves
1/2lb mushrooms, cut in half
Snow peas, red peppers, green peppers, baby corn, etc. cut into chunks
1 pkg tofu, cut into thick slabs
1/2lb Chinese cabbage
2 quarts chicken or beef stock
1-2c white wine
1T grated fresh ginger root
4T finely chopped scallions
1T minced garlic
2T finely chopped cilantro
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds, various colors (I have them in white, black and wasabi green…)

Sauces for dipping (follows)

Freeze the lamb, beef and chicken for about 1/2 hour to make slicing easier.  Using a very sharp knife or cleaver, slice the meats into very, very thin slices.  Soak the noodles in warm water for 5 minutes, then drain them and cut them into 5-inch lengths with scissors (seriously, don’t try using a knife…this is much easier).  Separate the spinach leaves from the stalks and wash them well.  Cut the Chinese cabbage into 3-inch pieces.  Lay all ingredients out onto various trays, plates, bowls, etc…keep meats separated from vegetables, and I like to keep all the various proteins in their own separate bowls, too.

Boil the stock and wine together before adding it to a chafing dish, hot pot, fondue pot, or simply a large stock pot (though with a stock pot you’ll need to keep reheating it…a chafing dish or real hot pot is best).  Add the ginger, scallions, garlic and cilantro to the chafing dish, and pour boiling stock over.  If you choose to leave out the wine, splash a little balsamic vinegar into the stock instead.

Each diner should have his/her own plate and at least two skewers.  This is possible without skewers, too…just use slotted spoons to retrieve meats and veggies from the hot pot.  However, kids with skewers tend to place the food in the pot; kids without skewers tend to throw the food in the pot.  Fair warning.

Each person selects his/her food item and cooks it to his/her liking.  I like to use two chafing dishes so that chicken can be done in one (chicken takes longer and needs to cook all the way through; beef and lamb can be eaten in a rare or medium-rare state).  I add sesame oil and sesame seeds to the chicken chafing dish.

When everyone is finished, add the noodles (and any leftover veggies) to the pot, cook for a few minutes, and ladle into soup bowls.

* Shrimp with tails: My friend Darlene (actually via her mom Toshiko) used to give me grief for not eating my shrimp tails Japanese-style. I think she likes my husband best now because he actually does eat his shrimp tails.  We leave the tails on for him, and for kid #3.  You can take them off unless Darlene is coming to your house.

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

Typical simple sauce:

1T EACH of the following:
sesame paste or peanut butter
soy sauce
 rice wine
chili bean sauce
sugar
hot water
chopped scallions/cilantro mix

However, my kids will concoct their own Secret Sauce from any number of things.  Try adding things like:

Worchestershire sauce
Hot sauce
Sesame oil
Grated ginger
Pressed garlic
Ground coriander
Hoisin sauce
Coconut powder
Rice vinegar
Wasabi

And for the kid who can’t deal with this stuff (though if given the chance to create his own sauce from the above array of ingredients, I’ll bet most kids just might skip this):

Ketchup
Ranch dressing

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