Monday, June 9, 2008
Hot Pot (Shabu Shabu) with Beef
With the induction cooker, we can cook Asian Hot Pot right on our table. Of course you do not need the induction cooker to do Hot Pot. All you need is a table top electric stove and a deep soup pan. Even an electric pan or fondue pot will do.
Asian Hot Pot is simply food cooked and served right in front of the diners on the spot - at the dining table - from a communal pot! It is quite fun to do. Each diner can select ingredients he prefers to eat and cook them in the communal pot. (or request another diner to cook it for you). Lest you be concerned with food hygiene, be assured that there are as many cooking implements used as there are as many diners. To each his own laddle, chopsticks, spoons, dipping baskets, etc.
Hot Pot is becoming a popular dish because it is easy to do, it is a healthy way of cooking, it is very flavorful, you can add in any ingredients you choose, you can make your own sauces and dips according to your own taste.
Locally, Hot Pot is called Shabu-Shabu. Technically, that is misnamed because the real Shabu-shabu is a Japanese soup dish with Konbu (Japanese seaweed) as the soup base. The Soup base often used in local restaurant is either chicken or pork broth.
For today's Hot Pot, I prepared:
1 small Napa Cabbage or Chinese cabbage, cleaned cut into 1"
1/4 K Tung-O Chinese vegetable, cleaned
lobster balls, fishballs, squid balls (all available in Asian groceries)
meatballs with mushrooms
fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 K beef tenderloin slices (sukiyaki cut)
for the dipping sauce:
chinese barbecue sauce (see the picture? this brand is by far better than the others I have tasted)
chopped bird's eye chillies
1. Prepare and clean all ingredients beforehand. Arrange on serving trays and place on the dining table. The cooker should be at the center of the table, easily accessible to all diners (or to the designated cook, if you choose this option.) Make sure the electric cords will not bother any diner.
2. Place all individual dining utensils as well as the cooking utensils on the table. Each diner should have a bowl to put in their cooked food and soup, as well as chopsticks, soup spoon, or spoon and forks, as well as a sauce plate.
3. Pour hot soup broth in the cooking pot. Wait for the broth to boil before adding any ingredients. While waiting for the soup to boil, diners can prepare their dipping sauces according to taste. Add as much chillies, garlic, soy sauce and barbecue sauce as you like.
4. When the soup boils, add in your favorite ingredient ( from the choices available, of course). It would be advisable to add in the meat first to make the broth more flavorful. This is a cook as you go dish. Once the meat is cooked, laddle up, dip in your sauce and eat. Then, you can proceed to cook the next ingredients in the soup. You go on like this until the ingredients prepared are finished, or you get full - whichever comes first :) It is also advisable to add in the noodles last. By then, the soup is already very flavorful, and the noodles will be flavorful too!
Some more tips:
It is advisable to have around 4 to 6 diners only. It is hard to organize which food is who's if there are too many diners. Plus, there will be longer cooking time. Although, eating Hot Pots is a good way for family members and friends to talk and bond.
It is advisable to have a simple broth first, so that the taste and flavor of each ingredient will not be lost.
You do not have to stick to one variety of meat. You can combine seafood (oysters, fish fillets, clams, etc) with meat( chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, etc).
Prepare a large batch of broth in the kitchen. Add this to the hotpot as needed. Because the soup in the hotpot gets lesser while cooking and eating.
Try doing Hot Pot! It is a versatile way of cooking any of your favorite ingredients.