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Hot-pot, Northern Style

Soups and Congees

Hot-pot, Northern Style
1 pound sirloin steak cut into thin one by three-inch slices
1 Tablespoon thin soy sauce
3 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon and one tablespoon sesame oil, used separately
1 Chinese cabbage, cut in two-inch widths
3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into three or four slices each
3 quarts chicken stock, more if needed to add to the hotpot later
1 or 2 ounces of bean thread noodles, soaked for ten minutes, then drained, and using a scissor, cut into four-inch-length sections, then put into a serving bowl
20 Chinese black mushrooms, soaked, stems removed, then boiled for five minutes, drained, and mushrooms put in a separate serving bowl, mushroom water put into a hotpot or a large pot that can come to the table
1 pound Chinese spinach, stems removed, put on a serving plate
1 pound baby carrots or large ones cut that size, boiled for two minutes, drained and put into a serving bowl
10 raw eggs in their shells
Four small bowls set on a tray, one each for sauces such as soy sauce, chili paste, hoisin sauce, Chinese black vinegar etc.
1. Mix beef, soy sauce, half the rice wine, and one teaspoon of the sesame oil, and set this into a large shallow sering bowl or a deep platter.
2. Heat wok, add the one tablespoon of sesame oil, and stir-fry the Chinese cabbage, the garlic, and the remaining rice wine for one minute, remove and put in a hot pot or a large pot that can come to the table, or a deep electric frypan.
3. Set the hot-pot, large pot on a heater, or the electric frypan in the center of the table on top of a large metal tray. Put the platter of marinated meat and the bowls of of bean threads, Chinese mushrooms, spinach, and carrots on the table around the tray with the hot pot, not on it.
4. Pour the chicken stock into the hot pot and add heat it to just under the boiling point, reduce the heat to simmering. Add about one quarter of the Chinese cabbage mixture to the stock and put the rest into a serving bowl.
5. Give each person at the table an empty rice bowl and let them make their own sauce from the four different sauces passed around. Also give them a raw egg to use later.
6. Each person at the table put one or two slices of meat, or a like amount of mushrooms or cabbage their own individual strainer basket and put that wire basket into the almost boiling broth to cook until their own desired doneness. They then remove it and using chopsticks dip the hot meat or vegetables into their own sauce mixture and eat these foods. Then they take others and cook them the same way.
7. Partway through the cooking, they can add spinach, noodles and cabbage directly into the hot broth and take these out with their chopsticks or the wire mesh basket putting them into their own sauce bowl.
8. If the broth seems too reduced, add more, as needed.
9. At the end, raise the heat so that the soup boils, ladle some of it into people’s almost empty soup/sauce bowl. Immediately break one egg into each bowl, stir well, and then people eat this broth mixture as a soup.

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