Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spicy Hot Pot: Perfect for Cold Winters

It's been getting cold in Ottawa. In this brisk weather (it'll be -28 Degrees, or -18 Fahrenheit for our American friends, tonight), you need to come home to something that will warm you up. And what better way to do that than with spicy hot pot?


We had the following dinner on Boxing Day. While people hit the malls and websites, we went grocery shopping for dinner. The photo, above, was taken after the second significant snowfall in Ottawa (Dec. 27th, 2012).

To me, dumplings and wontons taste so amazing in spicy hot pot because they absorb (ub-zub, as Mom says) the flavoursome soup. We've used frozen store-bought dumplings before, which is fine, but I wanted to try to recreate the pork and shrimp wontons. The filling was mixed with fatty ground pork, minced shrimp, oyster sauce, green onions, sesame oil, sugar, and cornstarch.

And since I wanted to try making the unfamiliar filling, I just bought some wonton wrappers -- or so I thought. I wasn't paying attention at T&T and I ended up grabbing square Shanghai dumpling skins, which are thicker than wonton wrappers. Oh well, Mom and I wrapped them into wontons anyway.

The flavour was pretty close to what the frozen dumplings tasted like -- in a good way. There was enough fat in the ground pork to keep the dumplings moist and juicy. And the shrimp added another flavour and sweetness to the filling. I was happy with it. There was a lot of filling leftover, so I just froze it to use at a later time.

We also picked up random fish balls and other miscellaneous frozen things to throw into the pot. They all tasted really processed, but that wasn't surprising to us at all. The only thing I liked were the mochi-filled fish squares. I'd get them again.

We also had shrimp and hand-sliced beef (none of the machine-sliced stuff) and medium tofu.

As for the vegetal matter, there was washed napa cabbage and other veggies. The soup was made using pork bones, garlic cloves, and the Little Sheep spicy hot pot mix. We also had noodles and rice too.

The kitchen stunk, but it was one of the small prices to pay for a tasty dinner of spicy hot pot.

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