Hot-pot (Chinese Fondue)

As the name suggests, you will be eating with a hot pot. The concept is to keep the food warm when you eat, and to allow everyone choose what they want to eat. In a way you can think about it as a barbeque with soup. It is a good idea for when you have time for a long dinner, especially when you want to warm up the atmosphere for a cold evening. It could be a good idea for a cosy couple night too.

First thing you need to prepare is the soup base.  You can easily use a home made or store bought broth (personal suggestion is to use chicken broth). One other possibility is to just boil some protein or even just bones a couple hours before eating. To make the soup rich, tranditionally we also add dates, goji berries, dry logan fruits, dry yam, etc. Have the soup set up in a pot with a single cooking plate in the middle of the table. Everyone should have access to the pot, because here will be where everyone cooks the food.

 

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When the soup is slowly boiling, all you need to do now is to prepare whatever that you feel like eating. Everything that you can think of, you can add them to your list. Just prepare them into smaller pieces, so it does not take too long to cook them. Here are some ideas:

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sliced carrots, potatoes, beats, and tofu skin.

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chinese cabbage and fish cakes.

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different mushrooms and seaweed (mostly can be found in dry form and need to be soaked before eating). 

Some more ideas: thin slices of beef or pork (prosciutto thin, both flesh and fat), thin slices of fish (sashimi size), frozen tofu (freeze fresh tofu that you can buy in asian markets, defrost before eating), wantans, enokitake (white bushy mushrooms), leavy vegetables (spinach, different salad plants), broccoli, cauliflower, all sorts of noodles, dumplings.

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serve a full table of food varieties, and different sauces. 

When the table is served and the soup is ready (add some salt for taste) and boiling, you can call everybody to the table. Before eating, there is one last thing that we need to think about: dipping sauce. Naturally the soup base will bring some taste to the food, but it’s part of the fun to make your own sauce. Commonly used ingredients for a sauce mix include soy sauce, vinegar (the brown chinese vinegar is suggested, because it has a less pungent taste and is sweeter), dry chili sauce, fresh mince chili sauce, sweet sour sauce, tahini, peanut butter. You can of course also try other options to find out what you like the most.

Now everything is ready! So just start boiling and dipping 🙂 Just put the thing or things that you want into the boiling soup, and pick them back up once they are cooked. Different things of course have different boiling time. Exactly because of that, choose wisely when to put in what, then you will be eating constantly.

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If the soup is running out during the dinner, just add some hot water and you are good to go again. Always keep the soup just boiling. If too many stuffs are added at once, the soup will stop bubbling. But no worries, just put on a lid and wait for a minute or two until it starts bubbling again.

When dinner is over, simply add some more salt to the soup and you will get an amazing soup to drink/eat. It has gather its abundant tastes from all the nice food that you have boiled in it. Or maybe, you are already stuffed with all those yummy food and have no more space for the soup, you can just keep it and use it later for noodle soup or risotto.

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