Hot Pot

DSCF5189Chinese New Year is coming up, and what’s better than hot pot with friends? Not much that I can think of, especially during these bitingly cold winter nights. I teamed up with Celina Bean for a night at her place with Albany John, Daniel B., and some of Celina’s family and friends. In total, we were about 13 people, and had two hot pots going.

Albany John and I had given our new Rosewill induction cooker a trial run with Garnish and her hubs (it was a spicy and successful run!), and I was eager to test it out again.  I am in love with this induction burner ($59.99). It comes to a boil quickly, maxes out at 450F, comes with a pot, and now Albany John and I don’t have to worry about burning our home down with any other kind of burner.

Oh my gosh, this was a delicious night. Celina went to Fin for the fish. She got so much seafood! It was great! The squid really stood out for me. It was so incredibly fresh & beautifully briny! It held up really well to the hot and mild broths we had going. I will so be going there for more of that dreamy squid.
The shrimp were also awesome. At one point I may or may not have sequestered myself away with the bowl. Okay, there are no maybes about it. I so did.

We also had a mega load of other eats: mussels, fish fillets,  oysters, sliced beef round, sliced lamb, sliced chicken, greens, Fuzhou fish balls (the kind with pork stuffed inside!), tofu, scallions galore, enoki & shiitake mushrooms… oh, it was a glorious night of eating.

Now, there are two schools of hot pot cooking. One is that you dunk some food in and fish it all out eventually with your comrades, the other is that you put in what you want, watch it, and take it out. I like a combination of the two – toss in the foods you know that can cook a while or will take a while to cook – like greens, onions, tofu, mushrooms, or any chunks of stewing meat you may have; and individually dunk and hold in thinly sliced meats and seafood so they don’t overcook. Nothing is sadder than a well-done and squiggly slice of lamb or beef meat. You wanna hold that slice of meat with your chopsticks, dunk it in the bubbling water a few times, and take it out while it’s still got some color to it. Yum!

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