Winter Hotpot

Till now, I am puzzled with the term "steamboat" being commonly used in Singapore, for what is prevalently known as hotpot - 火锅. As the name suggests, hotpot usually consists of a boiling-then-simmering pot of stock centered at the dining table, while fresh ingredients (e.g. thinly sliced meat, vegetables, mushrooms, seafood, fishballs etc.) are cooked right in the pot at the table, and then dished out at the sides by each individual, becoming food to be consumed and enjoyed at the very instant they are cooked. It is also a popular Chinese New year reunion meal option.

Here in the US, hotpots are usually associated with winter - as you imagine, the steaming pot of soup stock with food, conjures images of uprising steam, warm food and piping-hot soup that soothe the body from the inside to the outside.

This is the first time having hotpot at home using our portable induction cooker! Other than this "equipment", you also need a pot (with a magnetic base in order for it to work with any induction cooker) which in our case comes the creative use of our WOK.

Then of course, getting ready the ingredients and food items.

Examples of hotpot food items:
(1) Vegetables - Napa Cabbage and Tong Ho are the most popular, and happened to be our choice for the day too!
(2) Proteins - your choice and preference. We chose thinly sliced shabu-style Kobe beef, prawns, fresh mushroom and fishballs
(3) Carbs - optional. Typically, it can be steamed rice or mung bean vermicelli (cellophane/glass noodles)
(4) Stock base can be chicken stock or vegetarian stock, also based on preference.

The only pot of the correct size and reasonable depth (sufficiently deep to contain the soup stock yet shallow enough to make it easier to dish out cooked ingredients) that we have is the WOK at home, and luckily we tested it to be magnetic in order for it to work out on the induction cooker. Note: A quick test to know if your stainless steel wok is fit for induction cooking is to place a magnet at the bottom of the wok and check if it "sticks".

Fill the pot with stock and set it to boil. When boiling, turn down the heat to simmer and start adding the food items into the stock to cook.

Now it is time to slowly enjoy the food, and the heat!

This year, we will not be spending Chinese New Year in Singapore, so it is going to be a quiet Chinese New Year, for a change.

Here is wishing those who are celebrating Chinese New Year -


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