Today we are making another Sichuan dish – Ma La Chuan Chuan Xiang. It is like hot pot skewers, or you can consider it a Chinese fondue. So delicious and fun to eat. So let’s get started.
Hot Pot Skewers
HOT POT FLAVOR BASE INGREDIENTS (Enough for 2 hot pots)
- 1 cup of Sichuan dried chilies
- 3 tbsp of Sichuan peppercorn
- 2 cups of 160 degrees Fahrenheit water
- 3 pieces of fresh red chilies
- 6-8 cloves of garlic
- 5-6 slices of ginger
- 1 cup of beef tallow
- 1/3 cup of corn oil
- 4-5 stalks of scallion
- 1 piece of star anise
- 1 piece of bay leaf
- 3 pieces of cloves
- 1/2 tsp of black peppercorn
- 1/2 tsp of white peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
- 1 tsp of cumin seeds
- 3 slices of kaempferia galanga also know as sand ginger
- 1 piece of black cardamom pops
- 1 piece of cinnamon stick
- 1-2 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine
- 1/4 cup of Sichuan Dou Ban Jiang
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THE HOT POT SOUP
INGREDIENTS TO COOK IN THE HOT POT SOUP
- Fried fish
- Beef slices
- Beef tripe
- Chinese chives Jiu Cai 韭菜
- Use scissors to cut the dried Sichuan chilies open. Soak 1 cup of dried chilies and 3 tbsp of Sichuan peppercorns with 160 degrees Fahrenheit water for 40 minutes. Soaking will soften the spices, so it will be easier to cut with later. Also, once the spices are rehydrated, it will have less chance to get burned in the wok.
- 40 minutes later, it should be soft and playable. If not, you can let it sit for a little longer. Let it go through a sieve. The water is spicy, It will be your choice to decide if you want to keep it or not. It is too spicy for me, so I didn’t use it.
- Put the rehydrated chilies and Sichuan peppercorns in a food processor. Follow up with a few fresh chilies, 6-8 cloves of garlic and 5-6 slices of ginger. Use the on and off mode to blend everything into a chili paste.
- Toast the following ingredients in a cast-iron skillet on low heat for a couple minutes to active all the aroma: 1 piece of star anise, 1 piece of bay leaf, 3 pieces of cloves, 1/2 tsp of black peppercorn, 1/2 tsp of white peppercorns, 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds, 1 tsp of cumin seeds, 3 slices of kaempferia galanga (also know as sand ginger), 1 piece of black cardamom pops, 1 piece of cinnamon stick.
- Blend the spices into a fine powder. Put the spice blend into a bowl. Add a 1-2 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine. If you can’t have alcohol, you can just soak it with the same amount of water, not a problem. The purpose here is to wet the spice powder because it is really fine. You don’t want it to be burn while cooking in the hot oil. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- During this time we will heat 1 cup of beef tallow and 1/3 cup of vegetable oil to balance it out. Add some scallion stalks along with the chili paste that we made, the soaked spice mix and 1/4 cup of Sichuan Dou Dan Jiang AKA fermented board beans in chili oil. Mix everything. Keep stirring on medium-low heat non-stop until most of the moisture is evaporite. This will take 15 minutes. The spices are very easy to stick to the bottom, so don’t go away and do not use high heat.
- Take out the soft scallions. And let it cool. The amount I gave is enough to make 2 of this hot pot skewer recipe. You can double or triple the base and freeze it. So next time you want to make a hot pot or hot pot skewers, you don’t need to go through all this work.
- Now, let’s talk about the skewers and ingredients. One thing that I always do is to boil the bamboo skewers for 10 minutes. This will wash off the chemical that the factory put on to against mold and mildew.
- Put the ingredients onto the skewers. Do not put too much. There is no other rule of what to do here. Just pick whatever ingredients you like. I will quickly go through what I use.
- Fish cake - It is a Korean style of food. But it is popular in china too. We call it fish tofu. It looks like tofu, it has the soft silky tofu texture but gives you the taste of fried fish. Realy delicious.
- Meatballs - When you make hot pot skewers, you got to have some meatballs. What I am using today is or fish balls fu Jian style. Check the frozen section in your local oriental store.
- I like to use thinly sliced meat to wrap some herbs and vegetables, such as cilantro, Chinese chives, scallions, fennel, basil, asparagus, spinach.
- Besides that, I also prepared some squid and beef tripe - my favorite animal organs.
- For the vegetables, I got some cabbage, mushroom, and broccoli. The hot pot base is strong and tangy, vegetables help to balance the meal.
- Get your wok ready. Add some cooking oil along with wine some garlic cloves, ginger slices, scallion stalks, 6-8 pieces of dried chilies and 2 tsp of Sichuan peppercorns. All these ingredients we already used in the base so they are optional. I use them is for the extra flavor and the presentation. The scallion and the whole chilies will float on top of the broth. That will make the hot pot look nicer. Just stir them for a couple of minutes. Add 1/2 of the hot pot flavor base that we made. Pour in some chicken stock. Cover it and bring it to a boil.
- Once it comes to a boil, add 1.5 tbsp of salt, 1.5 tbsp of sugar. Give it a quick stir and taste to adjust the flavor. I usually make it saltier than my normal taste because most of the ingredients we put on the skewers don’t have salt.
- Pour the soup into a hot pot container. Now you can enjoy it! I usually add the ingredient that needs some time to cook through such as fish cake, meatballs, mushrooms. Once it comes to a boil, you can add the ingredients that cook fast such as shrimp, squid, beef slices, tripe.
- In China, having a beer in the bar is not everybody’s main choice to hang out. Hot pot is everyone’s favorite. This is like a different version of the hot pot. You use the skewers instead of chopsticks. Much healthier and convenient. You still get the sharing experience and feel the enthusiasm of how Chinese people build their friendships.