As the world says nín hǎo to the Year of the Monkey with Chinese New Year celebrations, now is the perfect time to invite luck and prosperity into your own home by sharing a joyful meal with your nearest and dearest. Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is the country’s largest holiday, serving as a weeklong occasion both to honor departed ancestors and to gather friends and family around the table for auspicious dishes. Embracing that spirit of togetherness,
sleek Red Bowl restaurant features convivial, traditional hot pot dining—where guests cook their own meat, dumplings, vegetables and wontons in a simmering pot of fragrant broth—and shares one of its most popular recipes here. “[The] experience honors the holiday’s ancient traditions and the age-old Chinese tradition of sharing, while also creating a wonderful opportunity for the family to gather round and celebrate the holiday together,” says Marc Brugger, the hotel’s managing director.
Hot Pot with Tomato Base by Qing Zhu, chef at Red Bowl at the Rosewood Beijing
Ingredients for the broth
2 large chicken drumsticks
Konbu (dried seaweed), optional
½ cup Chinese yellow wine (can substitute sake)
1 cup leeks, sliced
1 cup celery, peeled and sliced 1 tbsp. fresh garlic, peeled and crushed ½ cup fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced 1/3 cup soy sauce
1 gallon water 2 cups red onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 tbsp. sunflower oil 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
6 cups good canned plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 tbsp. white sugar
Wash the chicken drumsticks under running water and place them in a large soup pot. Wash the Konbu with the Chinese yellow wine and put into the pot with the chicken. Add leeks, celery, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce and cover with the water. Place the pot over medium heat and slowly bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and let simmer for two hours. From time to time, skim the impurities off the broth with a large spoon. After 2-3 hours the broth should be nice and rich; strain it through a fine mesh strainer. The stock base is ready.
In another medium-size pot or Dutch oven, slowly fry the onion in the sunflower oil until golden brown. Add all the tomatoes and the sugar and stir for ten minutes. Add the strained broth into the tomato base and simmer over low heat, mixing frequently for 30 minutes; salt and pepper to taste. With a stick blender or food processor, blend the soup and pass through a sieve until smooth; it should not be too thick nor too thin.
Accompaniments for Cooking
½ lb. fresh Shimeji or Shiitake mushroom 8 oz. fresh Abalone mushroom, sliced 8 oz. Chinese lettuce or Chinese spinach 8 oz. kai lan or Choy Sum vegetables 1 lb. ribeye thinly sliced, or purchased frozen and ready sliced 1 lb. fresh lamb leg, thinly sliced 4 oz. Chinese cabbage leaves Crispy wonton skins (2-3 pieces per person) 6 whole wheat baked sesame buns ½ package Chinese rice noodles 6 fresh corn cobs, cut into thick rings 6 oz. frozen fish balls (available at Chinese grocery)
In a mixing bowl, mix sesame paste well with enough water to emulsify; should be thick enough to coat dipped items. Add garlic and 2-3 pieces of fermented bean curd and mix together well. Place the sauce into small individual serving dishes. Top each dish with some of the sliced spring onion and cilantro. You can add some chili oil on top of the sauce to taste.
Final Cooking and Serving of the Hot Pot
Place the pot with the tomato base soup on a hot pot burner (induction burner capable of boiling water or portable gas burner) in the middle of the dining table. Arrange the hot pot accompaniments on serving plates or small trays and place them around the pot in the middle of the table. Place the small dishes of dipping sauce in front of each guest. Guests may immerse and cook their choice of ingredients, anything from mushrooms to ribeye to rice noodles, in the soup directly with the use of chopsticks or small baskets; once cooked, the ingredients are dipped into the sauce and enjoyed. Hot pot is generally best served with nice, cold beer.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler