Mongolian Hot Pot

November 2005
Mongolian Hot Pot

by 6 people

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Ask your butcher to thinly slice the beef. To do it yourself, place 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of flank steak or bottom round London broil in the freezer for an hour, then slice the meat paper-thin on the diagonal with a sharp knife.

Makes: 10 servings

Prep: 1 hr 30 mins

Ingredients
  • For the raw food buffet (choose any or all):
  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds well-marbled, well-trimmed boneless beef, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds sole fillets, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 pound shelled large shrimp, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pound large sea scallops, halved crosswise
  • 1 dozen  littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 2 cakes  firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • For the condiment bar (choose any or all):
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter, thinned with warm water to a ketchuplike consistency
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 cup finely chopped canned Sichuan preserved mustard plant (labeled preserved radish or preserved vegetable"
  • Soy sauce
  • Red wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • Sa-cha jiang (Chinese barbecue sauce)
  • 1 cup Asian chile paste, such as sambal olek
  • For the soup:
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • Boiling water, for replenishing the broth
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps halved
  • 1 7 ounce package  baby spinach
  • 4 - 8 ounces bean thread vermicelli, soaked in water until softened (about 30 minutes) and drained
  • 1 head of napa cabbage, cut crosswise into 1-inch squares
Directions
  1. Neatly arrange the raw ingredients on individual platters and place them around the table near a 6-quart electric wok. Set out the condiment-bar ingredients in small bowls with spoons. Set each place setting with 1 large soup bowl, 1 soup spoon, 1 small bowl, a pair of chopsticks and a small wire-mesh cooking basket (or slotted spoon).
  2. Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in the wok. Ask guests to mix their own dipping sauce in the small bowls provided. Then let them slip pieces of meat and fish into the broth, using the wire baskets to remove the pieces after 1 to 2 minutes (they will be opaque), eating them with chopsticks as they go. Add boiling water to the broth if the level gets low. When all of the meat and seafood is cooked, add the remaining soup ingredients to the broth and cook until heated through. Ladle the soup into the large bowls.
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