Today’s recipe is an ode to one of my favorite things in the world: hot pot. Hence, hot pot sauce noodles!
What Is Hot Pot?
If you’ve never had a Chinese hot pot dinner before, here’s a quick explanation of what it is: a big pot of simmering broth––ranging from the mild to the face-numbingly spicy––is placed at the center of the table.
You and your friends/family order a variety of raw things, like different kinds of vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, noodles, dumplings, thinly sliced meats, and seafood, and you cook all of these delicious things in the simmering broth, digging out the tasty morsels with great gusto.
Then comes the best part. The sauce.
Everyone makes their own dipping sauce with various ingredients. Things like sesame paste, soy sauce, sacha sauce, garlic, herbs, vinegar, chili oil, etc. A hot pot sauce is a highly personal thing––you mix in a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and taste as you go to get the exact flavor you want.
In our family, everyone’s hot pot sauces vary widely! I am a sesame paste fiend, so my version is 80% sesame. My sister’s hot pot sauce has more of a Sacha base, because she loves that seafood flavor. My dad’s has a ton of raw garlic in it, and my mom loves more soy sauce in hers. W
hether you’re standing at a sauce bar in a hot pot restaurant, or you’re gathered around a bunch of bottles and jars at your family dinner table along with an electric hot pot at our house, it’s all about personal preferences.
Hot Pot Sauce, Without the Hot Pot
Of course, with the temperature currently hovering around 90 degrees here in New York, we’re not exactly jumping at the chance to sweat in front of a steaming pot of boiling soup at the moment. That said, we can still enjoy the joys of a good hot pot sauce, and that’s what this recipe is for.
One of my favorite things in hot pot is the noodles, one of the absolute best vehicles for your delicious bespoke hot pot sauce. This recipe involves mixing up your own concoction using various hot pot sauce ingredients, and then mixing in freshly boiled noodles and maybe some blanched leafy greens. If you like, you can also add meat, seafood, or tofu. What could be better?
Here’s how to make it.
Hot Pot Sauce Noodles: Recipe Instructions
Start by mixing up your sauce in a serving bowl. You can use any combination of sesame paste or peanut butter, soy sauce, sacha sauce, Chinese vinegar, chili oil, garlic, scallions, cilantro, or any other ingredients you like. The ones I’ve listed here are only a suggested guideline, but if you have a favorite chili sauce or other condiment that you’d like to add, feel free!
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add about 2 tablespoons oil to the pot, and blanch your leafy greens for 30 seconds to a minute, depending on how tender they are.
Remove the veggies from the water and transfer to your bowl. Then boil the noodles according to the package instructions and add to the bowl.
Toss everything together, and enjoy!