All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Dinner, February 19, 2012

Starving cats and a hungry dog welcomed us with whining and complaining when we returned home from a day trip to Olympia and Tacoma for Tom's boot shopping and my Mexican and Asian grocery shopping. After a delayed dinner for the animals and a small walk for Tai, the Boykin Spaniel, it was already 6:30. We had brought back more food, which meant our fridge was going to be packed unless we ate something already there. Nabe hot pot was the easy choice. Luckily, we had fish suigyoza shuijiao dumplings I had made and frozen the day before. Shuijiao dumplings in somewhat thick flour-dough wrappers are filling by themselves, so there was no need to prepare rice. All I had to do was to cut up ingredients and put them in broth.

  • Suigyoza no pirikara-nabe / mildly spicy hot pot with shuijiao dumplings, tofu, enoki mushrooms, kinsai Chinese celery, arugula and daikon radish
  • Cucumber kimchi

I used chicken stock and kobu-dashi in combination for the broth. Shuijiao is Chinese, so chicken stock works great; I also wanted to soften the dish, and kobu-dashi should take care of that. A tiny amount of salted baby shrimp was also added for an extra layer of flavors.

To make it taste spicy yet light, hakusai napa cabbage kimchi was simply added to the soup without sauteing.

Besides shuijiao, typical ingredient choices – vegetables, tofu and mushrooms -- were added to the hot pot. Fast-cooking leafy vegetables and mushrooms were added as we ate, making sure that they did not overcook.

Nabe is a great food in cold seasons. You see the shimmering ingredients through the steam right in front of you. The aroma wafting from the clay pot stimulates your nostrils, and you hear the gently bubbling broth. You also feel the heat of the pot. It is appetizing and delicious even before you eat.

As usual, the clay pot took some time to get going, and cooking the daikon radish and frozen dumplings slowed down the process, but by 7:30 we were able to savor a truly tasty dinner.

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