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Chongqing Hot Pot

The city of Chongqing, located in the fertile Chinese province of Sichuan, enjoys a reputation for its outstanding gastronomy. One of the specialties is a hot pot—diners cook their choice of ingredients in a flavorful, bubbling stock and then dip the food into seasonings such as chili oil. Here, the dish is prepared in a fondue pot, which makes it easy to keep the cooking liquid hot.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast,
      very thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. beef tenderloin, very thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 oz. assorted dried mushrooms, soaked in hot
     water for 25 minutes
  • 1/4 small head napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 oz. bean thread noodles, soaked in
     cold water to cover for 10 minutes, drained
     and cut into 4-inch lengths
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • Chili oil (optional)
  • Freshly ground Sichuan pepper (optional)

For the hot pot:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 Tbs. rice wine
  • 3 Tbs. black bean-garlic sauce
  • 2 Tbs. light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • Hot bean sauce, to taste (optional)

Directions:

Arrange the chicken, beef and shrimp on a serving platter. Drain the mushrooms and remove and discard the stems. Squeeze out the excess water and arrange on a platter with the cabbage, noodles and bean sprouts. Place the chili oil and Sichuan pepper in small dipping bowls.

To prepare the hot pot, in a large fondue pot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the rice wine, black bean-garlic sauce, soy sauce, salt and hot bean sauce. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, skimming off any froth that accumulates on the surface.

Using pot holders, carefully place the fondue pot with the hot broth on the stand and keep warm according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Instruct guests to skewer their own selection of meats and shrimp, 1 or 2 pieces at a time, onto fondue forks, then cook in the hot stock. Guests may want to dip the cooked food in the chili oil or Sichuan pepper before eating. (Be sure to remove the food from the hot fork before eating.) When all the meat and shrimp have been cooked and eaten, add the mushrooms, cabbage, noodles and bean sprouts to the stock and heat through. Ladle into bowls and eat as a soup.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring China, by Jacki Passmore (Oxmoor House, 2003).