Chinese hot pot AT HOME
We had homemade hot pot tonight– into the savory mushroom broth went the stringy, spaghetti-like fungi, winter melon, daikon, Napa cabbage, frozen tofu (which acquires a spongy, porous consistency), pea shoots, mung bean sprouts, glass noodles, and of course, lamb for the parents.
We dipped it all in a sauce of sesame paste, red fermented tofu (dou fu ru), seafood paste, wild leek paste, soy sauce, chili oil, and cilantro. Sound gourmet? It was. If it hadn’t been for the rich, spicy sauce, the meal would have been almost monastic in character.
Hot pot is the best possible kind of food to eat in cold weather– it really warms you up from the inside, and waiting for everything to cook makes you eat more slowly. However, you never know when you’re full! You just kind of keep eating and using the raw ingredients, and when you finally run out, you just drink the soup, which by then has soaked up the flavors of what you’ve dipped in it.