|Beautiful Christmas Table Scape|
I got so lucky this year, and I got invited to "THE" Hot Pot Christmas dinner hosted by a couple of friends of mine. Well, actually, my pal Terry Vo
moved away, and I got to be the replacement player! As much as I miss Terry, I am sooo happy to fill in where she used to sit! (Terry, you do believe me that I miss you right!)
|Ingredients on the Ready|
This Christmas dinner was so elaborately created by a couple sets of friends of mine who know how to make Hot Pot. Hot Pot aka Shabu Shabu, is a southeast Asian family dining tradition. There is a communal pot filled with water or broth. All the ingredients are prepared by cutting them into bite sized pieces. And at the table, everyone uses the hot pot to cook what they want for their dinner. Over the course of the dinner, the broth becomes a richer broth from all the ingredients being cooked in it, and it is so tasty and nutritious at the same time.
|Homemade Special Sauces|
When I was a kid, my mother would make Hot Pot for us on occasion. She would cut up vegetables into bite sized pieces, and slice up meat really thin, and arrange the ingredients on a tray to bring to the table. Then, in an electric skillet in the middle of the table, my mom would have hot broth waiting for us. I loved this as a kid. Then, when my father passed away, my mom had to go to work, and there wasn't time anymore to prep all the ingredients for hot pot, and we never had a chance to have hot pot again. Arriving at my friends' home this Christmas season reminded me so much of those good old days when we time to sit down as a family for a shared meal, a shared hot pot.
My friends prepared so many ingredients and sauces for this event. There was a beautifully crafted beed plate, a lovely seafood plate including prawns, cuttlefish and mussels, Asian style vegetables including watercress, various choys, mushrooms and onions, and there was also a side of rice noodles. The sauces were awesome, they made a soy based sauce, and garlic and scallion sauce, a spicy fermented black bean sauce, a peanut sauce, and there is the Sriracha hot sauce too. I really love cuttlefish, and spicy fermented black bean sauce, two flavors I have not had since I was a kid, and really can't find at any restaurant in Nashville. Lucky me to be invited to this Christmas holiday dinner event and be able to taste these wonderful flavors again. I also love watercress soup, which my mother used to make for us when I was little. I too don't often eat watercress soup anymore because the other in my household doesn't love watercress nor watercress soup like I do, so I don't make it much. I have to wait until he is out of town, and there are list of foods that I make when he is out of town (like salmon roe, squid and cuttlefish, stinky preserved fish, and other stuff stinky he doesn't like), and I generally never get to the watercress soup.
|Hot Pot |
At this Christmas celebration, this hot pot meal, old friends and new were invited to partake in this heart warming family meal. We laughed a lot, we ooed and aahed at a very special gift made for a recently married couple. We admired the Christmas tree our house family so beautifully decorated. The best part about the meal was the joy and friendship we all felt, and how lucky we are to have been invited.
|My Soup Bowl|
Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year friends and loved ones. May your New Year be filled with love, joy, well-being, and prosperity! If you make any Solar New Year's resolutions on January 1, and don't succeed, you can have a do-over on February 10th which is the Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year
of the snake.