Monday, February 13, 2012

Hot Pot Showdown, Part II: The Home Version

As I mentioned previously, if you want to save a decent amount of money (50%-75%), your best bet is to try hot pot at home. In this case The Fisherman had an induction heater, but a hot plate would work or even a sterno can if you’re very, very careful (and don’t have cats that happen to like playing with fire, screwballs).

Aside from that, the rest is super simple. First is the broth, which The Fisherman and his mom highly recommend Little Sheep Hot Pot Soup Base. Seriously, it’s really good. You probably won’t be able to read much of it, but there is some Engrish and that’s very fun. 

Here’s his family’s stash of Little Sheep, brought here before you could get it online, since The Fisherman’s mom is hardcore like that. 

Next, the spread. The usual suspects are present, various fish/meat balls, tofu, veggies (in this case baby bok choy) and seafood. Keep in mind this is for four people (actually three since The Fisherman’s mom was out shopping for the upcoming Lunar New Year festivities. That’s still a crazy amount of food). 

The Fisherman’s family already had this at home, so all we had to pick up was some read meat, namely beef and lamb.  

Next, the fun with the raw egg, seasoned and used to cool the very hot food that was boiled in magma broth. If this skeeves you out, then don’t do it. I tried it, I might try it sans egg next time, just to compare. 

One of many bowls of hot pot, fish balls, veg. Since you don’t want anything to overcook, sometimes there’s a pile up of stuff. And, if you get something a bit under (like a semifreddo of fish ball), just drop it back in to finish cooking. You know you’ve ingested worse things…

Then, to make things interesting, we tried it with some green bean thread noodles. These cook super fast, and are fun to eat. Problem is, they are SUPER high in carbs, like worse than wheat or rice noodles. I was about to huzzah for finding something tasty, noodley, and lower in carbs. Maybe next time, maybe next time…

 Since I’m one to play with my food, I had to fiddle with the noodles. Mmm
And for fun, I was learning how to do this origami-like paper folding (called Zhezhi it seems) with The Fisherman’s mom. 

This is mine, it’s not great, but for a first timer, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. 

So, that's Hot Pot 101. And with weather like this, hot pot would be a good idea indeed. 
Next time on Full Belly Alchemist, we'll see what adventures we went on, but haven't written about yet. Stay tuned, and mangia!

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