Hot pot has an improvisational quality that makes it great for all kinds of groups: fussy eaters, vegetarians, fish-phobics, spice lovers, and more can all be accommodated. When Zhuqing Li makes her hot pot, she uses some or all of these ingredients. Adjust the variety to suit your tastes and circumstances. Fish balls, shrimp balls, fish cake, tofu skin, and other Asian ingredients are at Asian markets. To make a Passover version, use beef, chicken, vegetables, and matzo balls (you'll find a recipe on Page 17), and skip the dipping sauce.
|1/4||pound beef tenderloin or sirloin (half-frozen), sliced paper-thin|
|1/4||pound pork loin (half-frozen), sliced paper-thin|
|1/4||pound boneless chicken breast (half-frozen), sliced paper-thin|
|1/4||pound shrimp, peeled|
|6||frozen fish balls|
|6||frozen shrimp balls|
|6||frozen fried fish cakes|
|2||ounces tofu skin|
|6||frozen Chinese dumplings|
|Matzo ball batter, shaped into 3/4-inch balls|
|1||bunch watercress, coarsely chopped|
|1/4||pound shiitake or oyster mushrooms|
|1/2||pound soft or silken tofu, cut in bite-size pieces|
|1/2||pound rice noodles or sweet-potato noodles|
|1||cup soy sauce|
|1||teaspoon sesame oil|
|1||tablespoon rice vinegar|
|2||cloves garlic, crushed|
|Pinch of sugar|
|2||quarts water or chicken stock|
2. In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, and sugar. Stir well. Divide the mixture among 6 small bowls or custard cups.
3. In a saucepan, bring the water or stock to a boil. Transfer the boiling liquid to a large wok and set it on the stove or another heat source. All diners should have easy access to the wok; the wok should not wobble.
4. Give each diner a bowl and chopsticks to swish ingredients in the boiling water until they are cooked. The most flavorful items (meat and fish) should go in first, then the tofu, vegetables, and matzo balls (let the balls simmer for 20 minutes or until tender). If not using noodles, when the matzo balls are ready, give each diner 1 or 2 balls. Ladle the broth over them. If using noodles, add them at the end. When they are ready, divide the broth, matzo balls, and noodles among the diners.
Adapted from Zhuqing Li