Hot Pot – what better way to stuff your face with a whole bunch of food while hanging out with people you like? Cook, eat, drink and chill around the dinner table without having to yell across the kitchen to your guests.
I don’t have a special hot pot cooker or portable propane burner or anything like that. What I do have is a rice cooker and an extension cord and since I was going for a low-key hangout here, this worked perfectly.
I grabbed some bowls, dipping sauce, chopsticks, a small strainer and a whole big platter of goodies to get cooking.
For the hot pot broth in the rice cooker, I used some instant kombu dashi powder, a veggie boullion cube, some white miso paste, minced garlic, and a few shakes of furikake for good measure.
For the dipping sauce I just mixed together some stuff I had in the fridge – soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil.
If you ask me, this makes the perfect “crappy dinner party” (not that this was crappy, but it was definitely low-key). Cook whatever you feel like, with whatever you have laying around, and chill around the table with your favourite people without trying to impress anyone.
Now, technically this did break one of the crappy dinner party rules as I had been wanting to go to the Asian grocery store in China town to pick up a healthy supply of instant noodles and other goodies, so that’s what me and my friend did during the first part of the day. But sometimes even just going to the grocery store or running errands can be a fun thing to do when you’re with the right people. And I got to pick up some tasty new things to try!
Here we have: gluten balls (yes, the package just read gluten and that’s pretty much what it is…. just pure delicious gluten), enoki, shimeji, shiitake and wood ear mushrooms, two kinds of chinese cabbage and veggie filled dumplings, baby bok choi, baby potatoes, carrot slices, bean sprouts and udon noodles.
Once the rice cooker starts boiling, start throwing stuff in! Add whatever you want to eat, wait for it to cook and then pull it out when it’s done. Keep the lid on when you’re not adding or grabbing stuff so it doesn’t cool off too much. This worked perfectly for us.
Of course, you’ll want to put stuff that takes the longest to cook in first. We added the baby potatoes first before anything else, and they were the last thing to come out of the pot.
Don’t underestimate how frickin tasty that gluten is, either. Try some for yourself. It was sooo tasty, kind of soft but chewy and just dripping with the salty broth. Yum.
Munch on spicy kimchi, sip your beer and chat while things are cooking away.
Yum! Pull some stuff out of the pot and into your bowl and dip in whatever sauce you like. My usual method is to just put some sauce in the bottom of my bowl and let it get all over everything.
What a fun night! If you have a rice cooker why don’t you try cooking this way for dinner one night? Let me know how it turns out.