When I still lived in Singapore, Chinese New Year was the time of the year that I looked forward to the most. I usually booked my airplane ticket to go back home during this time 3-4 months before the new year. It’s the time of the year when I got to gather with my family and visiting relatives and friends. My mom usually prepared all the grocery and stuff a month before the new year’s eve. Prices of food tend to go up as the new year draws closer. On the eve of Chinese new year, my mom usually cooked up a storm. She could whip up 10 dishes on her own with little help from us. One of the traditions in our family is to have hot pot during the eve. I’ve always loved the idea of hot pot because this dish is especially great eaten with a large crowd. My mom always used the portable stove top powered by the butane gas cartridge. The broth was in the pot sitting on top of the stove and simmering away. You cook your own food in the hot pot filled with awesome broth. While waiting for it to cook, you can chit chat and catch up with everyone. You take a break and then go back to eat again. This is the day that I don’t worry about gaining any weight lol!
Now that I’m so far away from home, Chinese new year does make me feel very homesick. To “cure” this homesick feeling though, we also have our hot pot here in the Arctic. The weather is perfect for it. In Indonesia, we were eating with fans blowing on our face because everyone got so sweaty. Over here, we eat hot pot with cozy socks on our feet. lol! This recipe is for preparing the broth and the sesame dipping sauce. What you want to put in the hot pot is really up to you. I used prawns, mussels, calamari, sole fish fillet, scallop, bok choy, pork, beef, chicken, tofu and bean thread noodles. I guess you can call it a seafood hot pot with szechuan broth. The broth is so good you guys!!!!
Please weigh ingredients with a digital kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups as they are not very accurate especially when it comes to recipe that requires precision.
- 3-4 lb whole chicken
- 3 lbs pork bones
- 8 cups cold water
- 2 quarter size ginger - bruised
- 2 green onions - crushed with the side of the knife/cleaver, halved crosswise
- 6 whole dried chilis
- 1/4-1/2 cup garlic chili sauce - available at Asian store
- 2 oz bean thread noodles
- 1 lb beef - thinly sliced
- 14 oz firm tofu
- 2 lbs veggies: napa cabbage - bok choy
- Seafood of your choice : sole - prawns, calamari, mussels, scallop
- Place the chicken and pork bones in a large pot. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat for 5 minutes
- Drain and discard liquid. Rinse the chicken and pork bones. Drain. Return to a clean pot and add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Skim off form as it forms. Cook covered with lid for the next 2 hours
- Strain the broth and set aside. Discard the bones and save the chicken meats for other use or you can include in your hot pot as well if you want
- Combine the broth, ginger, green onion and chili in a large pot and bring over hig heat. Reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove and discard the ginger and green onions
- Keep the broth on a gentle boil/simmer on top of the portable stove or electric wok or whatever you use
- Place all the raw ingredients you will eat for the hot pot on a serving plate
- Everyone can take whatever they want and cook them in the hot broth and have a nice chat while waiting (which won't be long)