Weekend Cooking: How to hotpot

Hotpot has become a family favourite. We don’t really do hotpot that much in Singapore where it is far too hot for hotpot but the cool winters of California are great for it.

So it has become our own little tradition to do hotpot for Chinese New Year Eve (known as reunion dinner or tuanyuanfan 团圆饭) and we do hotpot on Thanksgiving too.

Hotpot is an easy meal for a crowd, provided you have enough utensils and hotpots!

And you preferably need to have access to an Asian supermarket. But if there’s none nearby, you can make do with some other ingredients.

Equipment

We use a portable gas stove and this fun dual hotpot. Those ladles with little holes in them are great for picking out just your ingredients. And we set out regular soup ladles too. Extra long chopsticks are for cooking the meat with.

But here are my typical hotpot ingredients.

Broth

I make two broths in our dual hotpot. One is a vegetable stock made with carrots, celery and whatever else I might have like corn if it’s fresh. And the other is an instant one with dashi powder (or you could make a dashi stock with bonito flakes and konbu) and miso.

Vegetables

I usually buy Napa cabbage and chop that up. Bokchoy would be great too. A more traditional leafy vegetable is tongho but it’s slightly bitter. This year I also added baby spinach that I had in my fridge.

We love the little bunashimeiji (beech mushrooms). There’s also shiitake and king trumpet mushrooms, which are all found at my local Asian supermarket.

Meat

While I do most of the hotpot shopping at the Chinese or Vietnamese supermarkets, we prefer the meat from Japanese supermarket Mitsuwa. It’s a bit of a drive but it’s definitely so much more flavourful and tender. Asian supermarkets usually have thinly sliced meat (beef or pork) for hotpot. But you could always buy a nice piece of meat, freeze it for a bit to firm it up, then slice it really thin yourself.

Seafood

Our favourites are fish tofu, fishballs and cuttlefish balls. They’re springy and fun to eat and cook really quickly. My husband and kids like imitation crabsticks which need just like 30 seconds to warm up in the broth.

Other ingredients may include dumplings, tofu puffs, vermicelli or udon, konyaku, quail eggs and more.

Don’t forget your dipping sauces like peanut sauce, chili sauce or sesame sauce. We also like the Taiwanese shacha sauce which is made from garlic, shallots, chilis, dried shrimp.

Get that gas stove going, the broth boiling, then pick your favourite foods and dunk them in! Happy hotpot-ing.

 

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Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

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It’s Monday and it’s been ages since I’ve written a post!

With Chinese New Year approaching I’ve been busy cleaning the house! I feel like I’ve been very lackadaisical about the new year this time. Usually I’ll have baked cookies by now. And put up decorations. But nope nothing yet. But at least the spring cleaning is done – the new year lasts for 15 days and technically you’re not supposed to sweep and clean during the 15 days as you don’t want to sweep the luck away!

Celebrating the new year here is so different from in Singapore. A large part is because it’s not a public holiday but also there are no relatives for us to visit! But we will do what we can, starting with a reunion dinner hotpot on the eve, which is Thursday.

Currently…

Reading:

 

Watching:

This is Us.

So I only started watching this a few weeks ago because for me at first it was all, ugh, Mandy Moore? But I was surprised by how good she was at this character. And man the number of tissues that this series requires…

I know that this series is about the Big Three and their parents, but I LOVE every single scene in which Beth stars (especially when she had that imaginary cigarette moment). Also, see The 15 Greatest Beth Pearson moments on Vulture

Listening:

Hunger by Roxane Gay.

Eating:

Oreos.

Drinking:

Coffee

Cooking:

I am crap at meal planning. So here’s in reality what happens every week. We tend to either eat out or do takeout on weekends, because I really don’t relish cooking on Saturdays. Sometimes on Sundays I get this burst of energy from somewhere and decide to make tomato soup or pizza. Something that I really want to eat, and I know that I can make better than store-bought stuff.

Anyway, so on Mondays and Tuesdays we tend to dine on weekend leftovers, mostly because the kids have activities after school – swimming on Monday, tennis on Tuesday. And by the time we get home, shower, unpack the school bag, do some homework etc, it’s kinda late, so leftovers are our mainstay. But sometimes there just aren’t much leftovers, so that’s fine too, I can do a quick dumpling noodle soup (we always have frozen dumplings and dried noodles and vegetable stock – just toss in some spinach or bok choy and there’s dinner).

Wednesdays are minimum days at the elementary school so I cook something that’s more involved like pork chops, rice and vegetables. And on Thursdays I cook something that’s quick, like fried noodles or an easy pasta with chicken and spinach, or if I can manage it, I make a pasta in the morning and then bake it off after we come back from piano class. And Thursday’s leftovers work for Friday dinners. So that tends to be our week of dinners.

Last week:

I read:

Shattered Warrior – Sharon Shinn


Sweet Tooth book one – Jeff Lemire


The Wildings – Nilanjana Roy

 

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday and we had a lazy stay at home weekend

It was one of those weekends where nothing much happened and that was ok. My kids are both still recovering from a cough and staying at home and having a rest is just what they needed.

My favourite picture from last week is definitely this one. I was grabbing some books from the holds shelves and I turn around to find the 4yo making himself comfy (if that’s possible) on a step stool with a picture book about solar systems.

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

The Resident (❤️Matt Czuchry)

Listening:< strong>< strong>Eating:<<
me homemade baguette for breakfast

Drinking:<<
rkshire Gold with milk

Cooking:<<
concrete plans of yet but I was just watching ep 8 of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and she was eating mac and cheese and I really want to eat some now…

Last week:

I read:< strong>< strong>I posted:badgeIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday and I seem to have forgotten that it’s Monday

It’s 720 am and the kids are still asleep! Or at least they’re still quiet and in bed. The 4yo has been having a bit of a runny nose and cough over the weekend so hopefully he can make it for swim class later.

We’ve had a fun weekend. On Saturday, went to Shoreline Park in Mountain View for some cycling, scootering, pedal-boating and picnicking with friends. We spent pretty much the whole day out in the park. It was just lovely!

It’s been a rather mild winter here in NorCal (well not like we have harsh winters). We had a few days before the winter break with some frost on the ground but nothing since. There’s signs of rain this week so hooray!

Currently…

Reading:

Two Serious Ladies – Jane Bowles

 

Watching:

Season 2 of The Good Place. I adore this show! It’s got a fun cast (Ted Danson! Kristen Bell!) and such a great premise (the after life). We recently picked up a new TV and it came with a coupon for Sling TV and so I finally got to watch more episodes of this fantastic show – Netflix only has the first season.

Listening:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with the kids. The Stephen Fry-narrated version of course!

Eating:

I just had some chocolate cake and toast.

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold

Cooking:

Last night we cooked up some butter-basted ribeye steak on the stove – so good!

Last week:

I read:

 

Buffy The Omnibus Vol 1 – Joss Whedon, Joe Bennett
Ghost Vol 1  – Kelly Sue DeConnick
Pop Vol 1 –  Curt Pires
Buffy Omnibus 2 – Joss Whedon (Series Creator), Dan Brereton (Script), Christopher Golden
Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes – Mary Talbot, Bryan Talbot

Jane Austen Project  –  Kathleen A Flynn

I posted:

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday and hooray the kids are back at school!

Well that was some week. I sure am glad school has started again. Luckily the kids have been playing together well enough. It also helped that they had Christmas presents to occupy them with!

One of the highlights was going to the Exploratorium in SF.

We also tried a new to us ramen place. Quite good! The one below is black garlic ramen.

And meeting up with the first grader’s classmates for a play date on a rainy Friday.

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

The Great British Bake Off on Netflix

Listening:

The One and Only Ivan – Katherine Applegate

Eating:

Noodles at a local noodle place.

Drinking:

Just lots of water

Cooking:

I’m thinking of making shepherds pie. Maybe some pork chops.

Last week:

I read:

Agnes Grey – Anne Bronte

Dollhouse: Epitaphs

I stumbled upon this while browsing the library’s comic catalogue. It’s been some years since I’ve seen the TV series and it was fun re-entering the world of Alpha and Ivy and Echo. Apparently this comic is takes place after the series and before the “Epitaphs” episode. The Active tech is going viral.

Great illustrations. I loved how the characters look just like the actors! Good storyline too. Makes me want a rewatch

Works for #readharder2018 – A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image

badgeIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday and it’s the last week of school for 2017

It just feels like December is whooshing on by so fast.

And I always feel so behind! I managed to get Christmas cards sent out (most of ours go overseas) and hopefully they will get to their recipients in time! I sent out a handmade scarf and beret to a dear friend in Japan and just yesterday made gingerbread cookies with the boys. The kitchen was a mess after but we had a great time!

Currently…

Reading:

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald

My Favorite Thing is Monsters Vol 1

Watching:

I’m thinking of having the kids watch Nightmare Before Christmas, one of my all-time favourite movies, but am wondering whether 4 is too young for that….

Listening:

Still listening to Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban with the kids. And also Tom Hanks’ Uncommon Type (not with the kids that is!)

Eating:

Gingerbread cookies

Drinking:

Water for now

Cooking:

Haven’t quite figured out this part yet for the week. I do have Brussels Sprouts to cook up and broccoli, so definitely some kind of thing where I roast them in the oven. Maybe a tray bake thing with chicken drumsticks and squash.

Last week:

I read:

Curtsies and Conspiracies – Gail Carringer

I posted:

#amonthoffaves2017 -Best Changes

A list of “Best Books lists”

badgeIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (again?)

Hey there. How was your weekend? What have you been up to?

We said a teary goodbye to my mum on Saturday morning. She had been visiting us for about two months and flew home to Singapore. We are so  lucky to have our family visiting us every year. It is a long flight and our parents are getting older so we really appreciate it.

Things are getting Christmassy here! I put up a book Christmas tree, we did a walk around the nearby neighbourhood that’s always lit up splendidly for Christmas and that last massive tree is at one of the restaurants we are at.

Currently…

Reading:

 

Watching:

The Grand Tour is back! Also we are giving Sling a try so that means I can actually watch some Food Network (although it is disappointing to see just how many shows that high-pitched Guy has)

Listening:

Eating:

Half of this Nutella walnut pastry. It’s so rich I could only have half yesterday.

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk

Cooking:

Something made last week – quiche and a key lime pie

Today I’ll cook up some Yakisoba with fish cake and leafy veg.

And some kind of baked pasta tomorrow morning as the kids have tennis class which ends only at 5 so I can easily pop it in the oven when we get back.

Last week:

I read:

Oh man this book was so good. Just so bloody good.

 

This book was quite rambling. She would talk about something and then suddenly segue into a memory of someone from a while ago and then back into that earlier conversation. She definitely seems a very impulsive person. For instance she takes a course on Montessori education but only after the course realizes that she is not a person who can work with young children!

I posted:

#amonthoffaves2017 – books worth the hype?

#amonthoffaves2017 – This is how we blog

#amonthoffaves2017 – This is how we read

badgeIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date