As the rain and cooler weather is upon us, a nice hot meal always sounds like a great idea. Not only does it warm our insides, but the steam coming from the pot always warms the dining room.
“Nabe” in Japanese means “hot pot,” and it also means you put everything in the pot.
Japanese Hot Pot
Place in a “donabe” pot on top of a table top stove or in a deep electric skillet: 4 cups dashi (made by adding 1 gallon water, 1 piece dashi kombu, 2 inch by 6 inches. After the dashi broth has heated, add: 4 tablespoons sake, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons mirin 1 teaspoon salt. Lower heat to simmer, add: 8 hard-shell clams, scrubbed 2 salmon steaks, skin and bones remove, and cut into 2-inch lengths, 1 cup Chinese cabbage, cut into 2 inch lengths, 1 green onion, cleaned and cut into 1 inch lengths 1 carrot, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch rounds, 8 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, 1 enoki mushroom bundle, 1 cup shungiku or chrysanthemum greens, washed and cut into 2 inch lengths. After broth comes to a boil, the meal is ready to eat. Have four small ladles for each person and let them serve themselves into bowls.
Taiwanese Hot Pot
The Taiwanese hot pot starts with a clear broth made from pork or chicken as a base.
In a pot over a table top stove or a deep electric skillet, add: 6 cups chicken or pork broth (made by boiling bones in water for at least one hour). Have nicely displayed on platters: 2 pounds of a variety of thinly sliced meats such as chicken, pork, beef, or lamb, enough for four people, 1 cup fish balls or fish cake, 1/2 cup medium shrimp, shells removed, deveined, 1 cup sliced, cleaned squid, 1 block firm tofu, sliced in cubes, 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, 1 cup sliced lotus root, 6 ounces noodles, udon, egg noodles, long rice or rice noodles
Each person adds to the communal pot and is in charge of their own ingredients.
Have on hand the following condiments: soy sauce, minced garlic, chili sauce, diced cilantro, chopped green onions and raw eggs to add to simmering broth.
KOREAN HOT POT
The Koreans beef hot pot is called “sogogi shabu shabu.” The broth looks quite red and potent. The chili pepper heat from the broth will really get you sweating!
Place in hot pot: 8 cups water, 2 pieces kelp (dashi kombu), 15 pieces dried anchovies, 1 green onion, 4 dried chili peppers, 3 tablespoons rice wine.
In a small bowl, mix together: 3 tablespoons red chili pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons Korean chili paste, 2 tablespoons Korean soy sauce, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Add to broth and allow to dissolve. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and filter broth through a fine sieve. Wash and slice vegetables and place on platter: 1 cup Chinese cabbage, cut into 2-inch lengths, 1 cup Chinese broccoli, 1 cup bok choy 1 onion, sliced 2 cups mung bean sprouts, 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced in half, 8 ounces Korean noodles. In a separate bowl, prepare dipping sauce: 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 4 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, Wasabi to taste.
Place sauce in four small bowls. Let each person add whatever they want. As the ingredients cook, remove and dip in sauce.
The Sichuan hot pot must taste extra good in the cold, snowy weather of that region of China.
Make stock and simmer for several hours: 2 pounds beef, pork or chicken bones, 3 slices ginger, 1/2-inch thick coins, 2 green onions, cleaned and cut into 2 inch pieces, 3 bay leaves, 1 gallon water. Before serving add: 3 tablespoons Sichuan spicy bean paste, 4 slices ginger, 1/2-inch thick coins 1/2 cup cooking wine 1 tablespoon Chinese black beans, 1 tablespoon rock sugar 3 star anise, 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, 1 black cardamom, 4 green cardamom, 1 piece cinnamon stick, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 3 slices liquorice or licorice root.
Small Bites: The liquorice or licorice is related to anise, star anise and fennel. It has a sweet taste and has been used for centuries by the Chinese to treat tuberculosis. It is said to have harmonizing effects on the body. Interesting note for those who love licorice candy. Excessive amounts of it can be toxic to the liver and could cause hypertension.
Do not use a tabletop charcoal grill or a gas grill indoors. They are intended for outdoor use only, where there is enough ventilation. Carbon monoxide poisoning, which is odorless and colorless, is a very dangerous possibility. Apparently, where the winter weather is bitter and with no heating, people have brought in their outdoor grills to warm up, with dire consequences. Carbon monoxide poisoning has caused some states to enact laws that all homes must have a detector to warn residents of danger.