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Gary Soup

Christmastime Hot Pot

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Hot pot (huo guo) is a modern Christmas Eve tradition in Shanghai, where my wife is from, and we've made it a family tradition here (not always on Christmas Eve, for logistical reasons, but close to it). We've taken to using a butane burner on the table, since no UL-approved electric hotplate will keep the stock continuously simmering when you load it up with goodies. Last year I bought a double-compartment pot which (despite the warnings from others) showed no leakage between the two compartments. Some of the stuff we throw in is:

- A variety of thin-sliced meats (beef, pork, chicken, mutton)

- Fish

- Fish balls (and sometimes pork balls)

- Shrimp in the shell

- Bean Thread

- Thin dried noodles

- Fried Tofu

- (Sometimes) whole eggs in the shell

- Leafy green stuff that I never eat

Does any one else out there do this?

What do you toss into your hot pot?

Any favorite recipes for dipping sauces? (We're always looking for new ideas.)


Edited by Gary Soup (log)

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We love hot pot, esp the szechuan style mala hotpot and sukiyaki.

At home we usually use a meat based stock and this dish is very popular in the rainy season, like November and December. Some families also have this dish (in Singapore we call it steamboat) for the most important meal in the Chinese calendar, i.e. the reunion dinner on the eve of the Chinese new year.

Some more stuff to throw into the soup:

- Cooked and shelled quail eggs

- Fresh liver, thinly sliced

- Fresh cockles , blanched briefly.

-Tofu that has been frozen and defrosted again. This "spongifies" its texture.

-Whole abalone from the can, sliced thinly and again, blanched very briefly.

-Fried tofu skin

- Wantons and other dumplings

- Fried yam slices

- Wood ear fungus

Sauces: we can go crazy here

- Fermented bean curd (Fu Yue) mashed with sugar, stock, rice wine, sesame oil +/- chilli oil. Variation: substitute with the red curd (nam yee) or use Both types.

- peanut butter/ sesame paste + sesame oil + black vinegar + sugar

- satay sauce (commercial type is acceptable)

- soya sauce + chopped chinese parsley + chopped scallions + chopped chillis

- just a raw egg lighly beaten, esp for the beef slices. not a sauce, but we use it like a sauce.

- sambal of ground chilli, garlic and roasted belacan, finished with a squeeze of lime

-garlic chilli sauce

- chopped ginger+ sesame oil

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... We've taken to using a butane burner on the table, since no UL-approved electric hotplate will keep the stock continuously simmering when you load it up with goodies. Last year I bought a double-compartment pot which (despite the warnings from others) showed no leakage between the two compartments....

I love table-top cooking so could you be kind enough to go into more detail on this burner and pot that you mention? Thanks.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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...  We've taken to using a butane burner on the table, since no UL-approved electric hotplate will keep the stock continuously simmering when you load it up with goodies.  Last year I bought a double-compartment pot which (despite the warnings from others) showed no leakage between the two compartments....

I love table-top cooking so could you be kind enough to go into more detail on this burner and pot that you mention? Thanks.

Since one picture is worth 10,000 words, here are pictures and descriptions of a burner and a pot similar to the ones we use. We don't usually shop at the Wok Shop, as they are pricier than other Asian goods store, but you can order from them if you can't find what you want locally.

The butane burner gives a nice high heat and is nearly odorless. All the ventilation you really need is to crack open a window nearby. We use a spicy broth on one side of the pot, and a mild one on the other.

Butane Burner

"yin-yan pot" (I suspect the Wok Shop made that name up).

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We love hot pot, esp the szechuan style mala hotpot and sukiyaki......

We've never used tofu skin, but will use tofu "sheet" (bai ye) cut in strips and knotted. Also "you mian jing" (fried gluten puffs), a nod to my wife's ancestral home of Wuxi.

I forgot to mention, we always use cuttlefish or squid, too, to provide a little textural variation.

There's usually only 3-5 of us at this meal so we have to restrain ourself from uisng two many ingredients at a sitting.

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Ok, Guys, Thanks alot! Now I'll have to have another party! :laugh:

Haven't had a hot pot party for about 20 years. Time just hasn't permitted a relaxed, many hours of eating kind of party.

Years ago, we used an electric deep fryer, clear chicken stock, a variety of meats, seafood, vegetables and cellophane noodles. The broth at the end was so incredibly delicious :rolleyes:

I have since acquired 2 stainless steel hot pots. Now that I have been inspired, I'll get them down from the top of the cupboards and test them out with the family.

A question: Until I get a butane burner, would a can of sterno keep the broth hot enough? I would heat the stock to boiling first before transferring to the hot pot.


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I've had huo-guo on my mind all week! My parents are coming to visit at christmas-time, and they want to bring us a butane burner like the one you showed so we can have huo-guo at my house too. Growing up, we always used an electric skillet, and it seemed to keep things boiling pretty nicely.

We add pretty much the same ingredients as already mentioned, with the exception of fish balls (could never develop a taste for that), and a couple of wacky additions: fried pork rinds (my dad's salty addiction) and occasionally sauerkraut. I also love poaching an egg in the pot. I'm interested in trying the gluten in there -- my mom makes a wonderful stew-type of dish with gluten, but we've never had it in the huo-guo before...

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Is huo guo the Mandarin pronunciation for hot-pot?

Cantonese pronunciation "da bing lo"?


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Is huo guo the Mandarin pronunciation for hot-pot?

Cantonese pronunciation "da bing lo"?

correct. cantonese just has an additional term. huo guo is used as well.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Since one picture is worth 10,000 words, here are pictures and descriptions of a burner and a pot similar to the ones we use.  We don't usually shop at the Wok Shop, as they are pricier than other Asian goods store, but you can order from them if you can't find what you want locally.

The butane burner gives a nice high heat and is nearly odorless.  All the ventilation you really need is to crack open a window nearby. We use a spicy broth on one side of the pot, and a mild one on the other.

Butane Burner

"yin-yan pot" (I suspect the Wok Shop made that name up).

Thank you so much. That's the best "explanation" I know of!


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I like shucked oysters. Also pre-cooked snow peas and bok choy sticks.

Also - I like to make these buns to use as a sandwich for the meats. You can split them open as they are oiled when they are folded.

OX TONGUE BISCUITS

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

6 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3 Tbsp. oil

1 cup water

-------------

Sesame oil for coating biscuit center

Preparation:

---Sift flour, baking powder and salt.

---Add oil and water.

---Knead till smooth.

---Cover with damp cloth and let sit 1 hour.

---Knead for 5 minutes.

---Roll into a sausage about 2 inches in diameter.

---Cut into 1 inch rounds.

---Flatten into a 4 inch long, 2 inch wide oval.

---Coat with sesame oil and fold it in half to form a 2 x 2 tongue.

Cooking:

Cut some waxed paper into squares, or oil a steamer basket.

Place the biscuits on the paper or the basket, leaving room for expansion.

Place basket about an inch (not less) over boiling water. You want an inch of space between the water and the food. You want the biscuits steamed, but not wet.

Steam for 10 minutes.

The oil allows you to open the biscuit, and place a bit of cooked, flavored meat inside. Eat like a sandwich.

(Packaged refrigerator biscuits make an excellent substitute. Stretch each biscuit into an oval as above – about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. Coat with the oil and steam as like the regular dough)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anyone know the BTUs of that butane stove? I just put some information on the Dim Sum thread about Butane stoves, but I don't know that particular one.

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Is huo guo the Mandarin pronunciation for hot-pot?

Cantonese  pronunciation "da bing lo"?

correct. cantonese just has an additional term. huo guo is used as well.

Think huo guo translates to "for wor" in Cantonese.

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Actually if you are not planning to do this often, you can use an electric rice cooker for your hot pot party. Just leave it at the "cook" setting the whole time. That's what we did when we were studying in London; every student from M'sia, S'pore, HK etc, owned a rice cooker, so for parties we would have a few pots simmering away. Great fun.

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Is huo guo the Mandarin pronunciation for hot-pot?

Cantonese  pronunciation "da bing lo"?

correct. cantonese just has an additional term. huo guo is used as well.

Think huo guo translates to "for wor" in Cantonese.

yup. different pronounciation, same words.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Actually if you are not planning to do this often, you can use an electric rice cooker for your hot pot party. Just leave it at the "cook" setting the whole time. That's what we did when we were studying in London; every student from M'sia, S'pore, HK etc, owned a rice cooker, so for parties we would have a few pots simmering away. Great fun.

Really? That's interesting. I don't have a rice cooker either - but my daughter does. Hmmm - I am just hankering after a butane cooker and am thinking it might be more versatile and useful in the long run since I don't often cook rice.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Here's the documentary evidence of our Christmas eve hotpot for 4.

xeve2003.jpg

What we threw in, clockwise from bottom, was:

Beef

Sea Scallops

Mushrooms

Spinach

Shrimp

Mutton (out of sight behind stove)

Beef tripe

Squid

Bean Thread

Fried Tofu

Fish balls

The dungeness crab and accompanying crab dip were prepared separately. "My" side of the pot used a commercial Sichuan hot pot soup base; Mrs. Soup insisted on starting with plain water on "her" side.

The bottle in the background was my "pairing": Anchor Brewing Company 2003 Christmas Ale (first of several, BTW).

For hardware geeks (is that you, Jo-Mel?), the stove is an Iwatani B-9, a cheapo unit, about $35 in Chinatown. Don't know the BTU output, but it does the job for a pot that size. The divided pot, according to my research on the web, is standard for "Sichuan style" hotpot and yes, really is referred to as a "yin-yang" pot.

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My parents used to make an all seafood hot pot, shrimp, fillet of fresh fish, and lots of blue crab.

The crab makes the broth very tasty!!!

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Here's the documentary evidence of our Christmas eve hotpot for 4.

WOW! Just makes me hanker even more for a butane table-top burner... after I get a digital camera which Santa seems to have overlooked!


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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My parents used to make an all seafood hot pot, shrimp, fillet of fresh fish, and lots of blue crab.

The crab makes the broth very tasty!!!

My most memorable broth from a hotpot was one with oysters. It was not an all-fish hotpot. but rather a mix of everything, including raw oysters. I thought the lamb might dominate the other flavors, but it didn't. The oysters didn't dominate, either, but it was there --- and that broth was wonderful!

I've never used blue crab. Were they whole?

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Gary et al:

With the meat for hot pot...did you marinate at all before using?

Or silken?

I would think the "silken method" would cloud the broth?

I haven't had the opportunity to find a butane stove yet...so will use my hot pots with sterno...

Superstore got a fresh shipment of pickerel fillets today...so we will have that in place of the fish balls... :biggrin:


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Gary et al:

With the meat for hot pot...did you marinate at all before using?

Or silken?

I would think the "silken method" would cloud the broth?

I haven't had the opportunity to find a butane stove yet...so will use my hot pots with sterno...

Superstore got a fresh shipment of pickerel fillets today...so we will have that in place of the fish balls...  :biggrin:

No prep at all, other than washing and slicing (where appropriate) to the right thickness. You can use a seasoned broth, and will have one of more dips for the cooked ingredients.

I'm wondering if you can get a high enough flame with sterno. You can bring your broth to a boil on your kitchen stove, but once you throw in some cold ingredients you will need a good flame to bring it back to a boil.

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I just brought my hot pots down from the shelf...and they are different from yours, Gary. Yours is one big "bowl"...Both of mine have a "chimney" up the middle so the broth would be in a "moat" around the chimney. Would this make a difference with the heat distribution?

Tonkichi mentioned using a rice cooker. Would this provide more heat? I DO plan on bringing the broth to a boil before transferring to the hot pot. With 2 pots, we might be able to use one, then let it heat up again as we use the other pot?

Guess I should work this out before tomorrow evening! :laugh:

Maybe I can use the propane torch I got for my creme brulee to heat things up! :wacko:


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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My parents used to make an all seafood hot pot, shrimp, fillet of fresh fish, and lots of blue crab.

The crab makes the broth very tasty!!!

I think seafood hot pot is a Cantonese specialty. My first worthwhile hot pot experience was a seafood hot pot at Xinya (Sun Ya), a venerable Cantonese restaurant in Shanghai, about 12 years ago. The shrimps that jumped off the platter and tried to make a run for it were the first to get tossed into the drink :wink: . Unfortunately, it wasn't Hairy Crab Season. There used to be a place in San Francisco which would provide a whole Dungeness crab for each pot, and another one that included geoduck (no abalone, though).

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I just brought my hot pots down from the shelf...and they are different from yours, Gary.  Yours is one big "bowl"...Both of mine have a "chimney" up the middle so the broth would be in a "moat" around the chimney. Would this make a difference with the heat distribution? 

Tonkichi mentioned using a rice cooker. Would this provide more heat? I DO plan on bringing the broth to a boil before transferring to the hot pot. With 2 pots, we might be able to use one, then let it heat up again as we use the other pot?

Guess I should work this out before tomorrow evening!  :laugh:

Maybe I can use the propane torch I got for my creme brulee to heat things up!  :wacko:

I've never used the "Mongolian" style pots, so I don't know how the thermodynamics work. I think I've actually seen them sold with canned heat-type burners. The "moat" is pretty shallow, and perhaps the chimney portion helps to provide a continuous source of heat.

A rice cooker might work, as they are designed to bring water to a boil. If the auto-shutoff is based on temperature rather than time, it might be able to maintain a boil indefinitely.


Edited by Gary Soup (log)

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Thanks for your input, Gary.

Maybe I can keep my extra broth hot in the rice cooker.


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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