This is one of my all time favorite one-pot-meals and definitely a go-to dish when there’s a time crunch. It’s something you can get on the table in less than half a hour, likely 20 minutes. Not only is it fast and easy, it’s incredibly delicious. The broth has a spicy, slightly sweet, salty flavor with nuances resembling teriyaki sauce. Okay, let’s just say it’s addictingly delicious. And that my friends, is why variations of this hotpot have been in my repertoire for over a decade and it’s still something I enjoy eating today.
Kids actually like it too, though — IMPORTANT here — sans the chile-garlic sauce. That would likely kill their sensitive palates — it’s way too spicy for them. I, on the other hand, love this spicy Southeast Asian condiment. In it’s simplest form it’s just a mix of chile peppers and salt. A more complex sambal may contain ingredients such as onion, lime juice, lemongrass, a bit of sugar, garlic, oil and/or vinegar. All good. There are many varieties but the one we come across the most is “Sambal Oelek” (“Oelek” referring to the mortar and pestle used to create sambal in Indonesian kitchens). If you love spicy, pick some up, you’ll love it!
PS) Don’t let sunny spring weather shy you away from trying this. It’s great any time of the year!
Spicy Asian Hotpot
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
200 g fresh king trumpet/oyster, sliced (alternatively, oyster mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced)
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar (I recommend GEPA organic raw cane sugar Mascobado)
4 cups vegetable broth, or chicken broth (1 litre)
1/4 cup soy sauce (60 ml)
2 teaspoons sambal oelok (chile-garlic sauce), or to taste (found at Asian food markets)
350-400 g baby bok choy, trimmed
2 x 200 g packages udon noodles (found at Asian food markets)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
(Optional: add 300-400g leftover chicken from a roast, shredded or a package of firm tofu, cubed)
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan oven over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly soft, 3-4 minutes.
2. Stir in the brown sugar, broth, soy sauce and chile-garlic sauce; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the udon noodles, pushing them down into the broth, then add the baby bok choy. Cover and simmer until greens are wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat, stir in cilantro and serve. Enjoy!