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Recipezaar has (as of July 2009) 29 hotpot recipes, but all but one of these are not the Chinese style hotpot. The exception (Mongolian Hotpot With Chicken and Shrimp #327359) is listed as Mongolian style hotpot. This recipe, and several that will follow, are authentic Sichuan. The source is Fuschia Dunlop's Land of Plenty, which focuses on Sichuan cuisine. One of her other books, The Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, discusses the Hunanese version of hotpot cuisine, which appears to be more similar to the Mongolian than is the Sichuanese. I haven't had this specific recipe, but I have had Sichuan hotpot at several Chengdu and NYC Chinatown Sichuan restaurants ... an absolutely wonderful meal. Fuschia spent several years in Chengdu as a student at Sichuan's most notable cooking school ...IMHO her books are among the most authentic and best sources in English for Sichuanese and Hunanese recipes. The basic process is as follows; Prepare the broth (this recipe) or broths (plain, spicy, vegetarian, etc.). Prepare raw ingredients which will be dipped by each individual guest. Each guest will remove his/her ingredient when cooked to their preference, then dipped in a dipping sauce (there may be 4-12 sauces for the party) and eaten. When all are done with the dipping ingredients, the broth, now flavored from all the dipping ingredients, is served as a soup/broth. Enjoy!! This is heavenly ... like a fondue but so much better!!
- 1⁄4 cup fermented black beans
- 1⁄3 cup shaoxing wine (substitute ( medium dry sherry)
- 3 inches fresh ginger, unpeeled
- 1⁄4 cup dried hot red chili pepper (Sichuanese preferred)
- 1⁄2 cup peanut oil (substitute ( vegetable oil, any high smoke point oil)
- 2⁄3 cup dripping (original recipe (beef or lard)
- 1⁄2 cup szechuan hot bean sauce
- 3 quarts beef stock
- 1 tablespoon rock sugar
- 1⁄3 cup sichuanese fermented glutinous rice wine (optional)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt (really, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon szechwan pepper, whole
- Make a paste out of the black beans and 1 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine, using either a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
- Wash the ginger and cut it into slices about the thickness of a coin.
- Using a scissors, snip the chiles into 1 inch sections and remove the seeds.
- Heat 3 tbs of the oil in a wok over a medium flame so it's hot but not smoking.
- Stir fry the chiles to flavor the oil; you want the oil to sizzle around the chiles, making them crisp and fragrant, but NOT burning; using a slotted spoon remove them and set aside.
- Rinse out and dry the wok, the put on a simmer/low heat.
- Add the rest of the oil and the beef drippings.
- Once the drippings have melted completely, turn up the heat to medium.
- When the oils just begin to smoke (around 250-300 degreesF), add the chile bean paste and stir fry until the oil is rich and fragrant (60-90 seconds).
- The paste should NOT burn; if necessary either move the wok off the heat or turn the heat down to let the paste sizzle in the oil.
- When the oil has reddened, add the black bean mash and the ginger.
- Stir fry until they also are fragrant.
- Add about 1 1/2 quarts of the beef stock and bring to a boil.
- When the liquid reaches a boil, add the rock sugar, the rest of the Shaoxing wine, and (optional) the glutinous rice wine.
- Salt to taste.
- Add the chiles and the Sichuan pepper (adjust the quantity depending on how "hot and numbing" you want it) leave the broth to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- You are now ready to use this to dip ingredients to cook.
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- You will add the rest of the chicken stock to top up the hotpot as the meal progresses.