Friday, November 14, 2008

Highlight #112: Birthday feasting (Part IV) - Chongqing Hot Pot

One thing I miss the most from my childhood hometown of Chongqing is the spicy beyond words hotpot that the city is famous for. This year, with mom living in town, my birthday feasting expanded to include a homemade version of this great interactive dining experience.

Considering the husband's low tolerance for spice, we put my dual compartment pot to good use. On one side, we loaded a traditional spicy soup base made from first frying untill fragrant aromatics such as ginger, chillies, Sichuan peppercorns, and soy paste, then boiling the base with beef broth, and finally incorporating into it Chinese cooking wine and fermented soy been paste. On the mild side, we made a simple but deeply flavored chicken stock from wings.

The cooking ingredients included all the family favorites, which meant mostly vegetables. We had loads of fresh pea shoots, spinaches, bamboo shoots, and all sorts of mushrooms. To boast our protein intake, we also threw in thinly sliced fish, shrimps, and pork.

One non-traditional ingredient I adore in the hotpot is this Cantonese style fishball. Fancier than the normal variety, this particular kind hides within its slightly chewy fish paste exterior a heart of juicy stewed beef. The hint of sweetness contrasted so well with the spiciness of the soup base, I almost ate the entire supply. No one tried to stop me. Being the birthday girl came with certain privileges. :)


ed man said...

That is truly awesome.

Anonymous said...

that pot looks amazing! where can you get that? i've never seen one :)

-eoin (the diner's drive-in's and dives guy from back in february!)

Cathy said...

hi eoin,

I am surprised that you still check on this blog. How is the life on the road treating you?

The pot is from a Korean supermarket here (super H mart) and you should be able to find one like it at any Asian cookware shop.

Anonymous said...

ooh great! i'll have to pick one up. loads of asian grocers near my place

i am actually OFF the road. resigned in late may. i didn't quite get along with the host and had a very sick friend. i'm shooting some shows for hgtv and DIY network now. so normal life. sort of.

and yes i still read it! i wish i had the metabolism for your style, so instead i just read and wish.

Cathy said...

I imagine life on the road isn't really all that fun. And Guy certainly is a personality. :)

Are the HGTV shows food-related? I do watch some of the crafty stuff occasionally, but I suck big time in that department. Let's just say that I had once killed a cactus and learned that the radiator in those old new york apartments is not a friendly place for plants, especially when it’s right under a cracked open window letting in freezing air...

Anonymous said...

ha ha, none of these shows are food related, but the company that produces them for the network has been on the food net. before and is interested in getting back on. we currently just do hgtv, diy and travel channel!