Feeding a Crowd

Japanese Hot Pot

The great thing about hot pot is that it's a very flexible dish that can be as simple or complex as you'd like, and can feed many people or just yourself- all while being a very simple and relatively inexpensive dish to make. I ate this a lot while visiting my aunt's place in Japan, where around her long work hours she had little time and energy to make much, so hot pot was very often her default meal. While I do think it's best eaten with other people, I found hot pot to be a nice meal to make when I came back to college, cooking and eating alone.

This is the recipe that my mother made as she attempted to recreate what my aunt did from memory, after we had a post-Japan trip conversation of really missing the taste of hot pot.
Ponzu (in a bottle)
Napa Cabbage
Chicken thighs
Shiitake mushrooms
Maroni noodles (or udon noodles)

I decided not to put amounts, because it really depends on how much you're making! When making personally though, I just get one of everything and put in however much I think I want to eat- usually it ends up being a quarter of everything, so the ingredients will last me several meals. And of course, you can add in or take out whatever you'd like!

1. Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and boil on medium high for about 10 minutes or until cooked through.
2. Cut the stems off the mushrooms and throw them into the pot to cook with the chicken at about 6 to 8 minutes remaining.
3. Drain, rinse, and cut the tofu into small squares, and throw them into the pot with about five minutes remaining.
4. Chop the napa cabbage and into bite-sized pieces and throw them into the pot alongside the tofu (the sturdier parts of the leaf will take a little longer to cook).
5. Throw in the maroni noodles with about 2 minutes- do this much earlier if you're using udon noodles, about the same time as the mushrooms.
6. To eat, pour some ponzu into a bowl and gather around the pot, taking what you'd like to eat and letting it soak into the ponzu for a few seconds before enjoying.

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