Jacob and I moved into our new Beijing apartment less than a week ago. Because we were lacking proper equipment and flatware, we had to eat out or prepare frozen dumplings every night. (Ever eat dumplings out of a coffee mug because you didn't have plates? Ever do it post-college?)
I am happy to report that our kitchen is now getting less and less empty. After several trips to outdoor markets, department stores, and Carrefour, we have not only plates but also woks, teacups, beer mugs, and many many pairs of chopsticks. We are also the proud owners of a sleek new Joyoung induction cooker, otherwise known as a Chinese home hot pot machine.
Tonight we had our first full meal at home. It was, to be honest, very bare bones. All vegetarian, minimal sauces.. Since I'm also sadly coming down with a cold and possible fever, we cooked with a non-spicy broth. But the wonderful thing about hot pot is its inherent simplicity. Throw a bunch of raw food in a boiling broth, and watch it cook right at the dinner table.
Our minimalist hot pot meal:
1. Induction cooker with pot
2. Original flavor (原味) hot pot sauce from Little Sheep
3. Lettuce, spinach, bok choy
4. Enoki mushrooms
5. Fresh wheat noodles
6. Fresh tofu
7. A sauce made from 2 parts soy sauce, 1 part honey, 1 part sesame oil
Those are our ingredients for the simplest hotpot meal, for when you've just moved into a new home, when you feel too under-the-weather to cook, or whenever you want something just a step up from dumplings in a coffee mug.