If you have been following me for the last week, you might note that I am getting obsessive about Sichuan food. Last night, I believe I reached a tipping point. Until then I just was not all that happy about the flavor or the heat I was getting. I knew I wanted something that would make me sweat when I ate it, but not just heat, it had to have real flavor. This dish came through in spades and I think it would be really fun to serve to guests who were intrepid enough to go for the burn. I can’t wait to serve it to James and Laura, who are much more heat freaks than I am.
You can add any ingredient you like to the hot pot. Many suggestions are included in the recipe. I had some left-over Shiitake mushrooms and Asian meatballs so I threw them in along with some more green onion.
I was only making enough for myself so the recipe is written accordingly, you can scale it up for as many people as you like.
|Author: Jim Kirkley
Serves: 1 (Scale it up for the number of people you are serving)
Sichuan Hot Pot
FOR THE SOUP BASE
2 tablespoons, oil
6 slices, ginger
6 cloves, garlic – peeled and sliced
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 tablespoon, Sichuan peppercorns
9 whole, dried red chilies – stems removed
2 tablespoons, chili garlic paste
2 tablespoons, soy sauce
2 scallions – chopped
3 cups, chicken stock
FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
Chili oil or paste
Chinese black vinegar or rice vinegar
Sesame paste or peanut butter
TO EAT WITH YOUR HOT POT
Thinly shaved beef or lamb
Assorted fish balls (you can buy these pre-made at Asian grocery stores)
Thinly sliced fish fillets (tender white fish like tilapia or sea bass work well for this)
firm tofu – sliced
Wood ear mushrooms
Glass noodles (mung bean vermicelli)
Prepared frozen dumplings or wontons
Chinese rice cakes
Green leaf lettuce
For the soup base:
- In a wok over medium heat, add the oil and the ginger. Cook the ginger for about a minute until caramelized, making sure it doesn’t burn. Add garlic, cinnamon stick, and star anise. Cook for another 2 minutes, until very fragrant.
- Add the Sichuan peppercorns, dried chilies (whole), scallions, and chili garlic paste. Cook for another 2 minutes, and then add the chicken stock and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. At this point turn it off and “let it steep” so that the red chilies and other flavors would “infuse” the broth. Taste and add more soy sauce if needed. Bring once again to a boil and transfer to the pot you’ll be using for your hot pot meal. You want the pot to be relatively wide and at least 6 inches deep.
- To make the dipping sauce, simply combine whatever mix of ingredients you like.
- To assemble the hotpot, simply plug in your hot plate, place the prepared pot of broth on top, and bring to a low boil or simmer. Place all of your prepared ingredients around it, have everyone mix up their own dipping sauces, and dive in. Each person just takes whatever they want, adds it to the pot, waits for it to cook, and then dips it into their sauce. As the water evaporates as you’re cooking, add boiling water to the pot as needed. You can also serve rice with hot pot, but it’s not mandatory.
This recipe is scaled for one person. Multiply it by as many people as you wish to serve.