It was blustery out yesterday and after picking rose petals in the afternoon to make rose syrup, we went up to my folks’ place for dinner. My dad had prepared what he calls “hot pot soup” the day before and had it sitting in the fridge overnight. The broth was so rich, it looked like murky Jell-o. That’s how you know it’s good.
My dad was lamenting that he’d put the pork in too early and although the broth was extremely flavorful, the meat itself was rather tasteless. I suggested I make some Chinese-style wontons filled with shrimp and pork. The two dishes combined splendidly and we were left patting our bellies and snacking on mushrooms from the near-empty pot.
Fusion Thai Hot Pot/Chinese Pork Dim Sum Soup
The essential ingredient for this fusion soup is rich chicken stock. I make my own by saving my Costco rotisserie chicken carcasses. Every time we eat one of these $5 birds, I’ll remove the meat and skin, then take pliers to all the bones. I crush the bones all over with the pliers and stick them in a Ziploc and freeze them. After I’ve collected about three carcasses I slow cook them in a stock pot with water, chopped onion, carrot and celery, a bouquet garnis, a bayleaf and some pepper corns. I’ll do this on a Sunday and let it simmer for 6-10 hours. Then strain out all the non-liquid bits and there you have the most delicious, rich chicken stock ever. I’ll ladle it into jars, let cool and freeze for later use.
This soup takes many steps to prepare, but it is worth it. It’s flavorful and filling.
- 6-8 oz lemon grass, cut into 2” lengths. Warn guests that the cooked lemon grass should be set aside and not eaten. It is added for flavor only.
- One large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 quarts rich chicken broth
- 2 Anaheim chilies, preferably charred over an open gas flame and skinned, then cut into 1” x ½” rectangles
- 6-8 oz. shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- ¼ – ½ c. neutral oil, such as peanut oil.
- ½ c. rice vinegar
- ¼ c. soy sauce
- 4-6 hot Thai chili peppers, coarsely chopped.
- Chopped cilantro
- One bunch of green onions, finely chopped.
- ½ lb boneless pork loin, cut into wok-sized strips (best cut when semi-frozen).
- 15-20 handmade Chinese pork dumplings. May substitute commercial mini pork dim sum dumplings.
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste and — do not panic! — 1 tbsp MSG.
- Marinate the pork strips in a mixture of fish sauce, soy sauce, a little of the rice vinegar, salt, sugar and black pepper. Toss frequently over an hour or more.
- Sauté onion, lemon grass, mushrooms and Anaheim chilies in neutral oil until soft.
- Add sautéed and drained vegetables to saucepan containing the chicken stock. Add the Thai hot chilies. Add the remainder if the rice vinegar. Bring to a boil then simmer over low medium heat for at least 30 minutes to extract the flavors from the vegetables. and chilies.
- While the broth is simmering, stir fry the pork strips, in a neutral oil, a few at a time, until lightly browned, then add them to the broth. Simmer another 30 minutes.
- Prepare the dumplings, boil in salted water for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.
- Add the cooked dumplings to the broth, heat to serving temperature, add salt, ground black pepper and MSG to taste. You might add more rice vinegar for the desired degree of sourness.
- Serve immediately, with chopped cilantro and chopped green onions available for individual garnishing.