The Holiday season is upon us, and while it's always a blessing to reunite with family and friends around the table, for those of us tasked with hosting duties, this can often be a stressful time.
Whenever we host big groups of friends at home, we like to look to the Chinese-perfected art of communal dining for inspiration. Perhaps there's a reason why hot pot is such a popular past time in Sichuan- not only is it healthy and delicious, there's also something about the act of cooking your own food together over a steaming cauldron of hearty broth that makes the experience that much tastier. Plus it's a cinch to prepare at home.
Here's everything you need to host a very Sichuan Friendsgiving.
Hot Pot Equipment:
Simple Sichuan Hot Pot Base:
50g Dried Chilis
2 tbsp Sichuan Pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup Fermented Fava Bean Paste
6 tbsp Sichuan Chili Crisp
2L Beef/Chicken Stock or dashi, home-made or store-bought
1 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Sugar
Spices to taste: feel free to add star anise, cassia bark, cardamom pods to taste
1. Chop the chilis into 1/2 inch lengths, heat 2-3 tbsp of oil in a wok over medium heat and stir-fry dried chilis until they turn a brilliant red, remove from wok before they burn.
2. Heat remaining oil in wok over medium heat, add Fermented Fava Bean paste and Sichuan Chili Crisp, fry until oil is red and paste is fragrant, add fried chilis, sichuan pepper, 1L of stock, salt and sugar and bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
3. Now you are ready to cook. Put this pot on the portable stove in the middle of the table and bring to boil when ready to add ingredients in. Add more stock as necessary as the stock evaporates.
Ingredients to cook (these are just some ideas but let your imagination run wild!):
- thinly sliced meats: chicken, pork, beef (you can buy these pre-sliced at Asian grocery stores)
- shelled shrimp, sliced fish, and pretty much any other seafood
- tofu (again, go to Asian grocery stores and get them in all shapes and forms, our favorite is tofu skin, or fried into balls)
- meatballs, fish balls (find these at your local Asian grocery store)
- all kinds of mushrooms, but we love enoki and shiitake
- hard-boiled quail eggs
- rice cakes, thinly sliced
- potatoes, thinly sliced, sweet potatoes work great too
- lotus root, thinly sliced
- vermicelli or sweet potato noodles
- napa cabbage leaves, spinach, any other leafy greens
- broccoli and cauliflower florets
- winter melon
- bamboo shoots, thinly sliced
Sauce (because you can't have hot pot without good dipping sauce):
Our go-to consists of Sichuan Chili Crisp with a vinaigrette of equal parts Chinese black vinegar and soy sauce, plenty of fresh garlic, thinly sliced shallots, chopped cilantro, and dash of sesame oil. You can also add white sesame paste or tahini for an extra rich kick.
Enjoy! Remember to take pics and tag us on Instagram @flybyjing :)