Year of the Dragon Hot Pot (Hougou) and Steamed Potstickers {China}

One country down.  Just over 200 left to go.  You and I, reader, we are like Mitt Romney’s campaign.  We’ve got a long way to go together.

As promised, my challenge began for the Chinese New Year.  I’ve celebrated the Chinese New Year since 2006.  This year, I did a bit more research on my recipes and found out that the cashew meringue cake that I love so much is actually Filipino. Oops! (Now we’re looking forward to the day I prepare the food from the Philippines).  Still, even without the cashew meringue, lasts night’s meal was festive and relatively authentic.

I stopped at Sunshine International Market to buy some sweet treats–lychee gummy candies and peanut cakes–and some papers to decorate the table.  The lychee candies didn’t go over well with the Jordans (one Jordan being my husband, the other being our friend), but I still think they are tasty.

Before we actually got started with the food, I prepared a few cups of jasmine tea.  The container was just too alluring for me when I was shopping at the international foods market.  Thanks to my mother-in-law, I also have quite the tea infuser.


Post-tea, I started the meal with some steamed tofu potstickers.

There is no real recipe for these little guys.  I put about 1/5 of a block of firm tofu, carrot shreds, one garlic clove, a half inch piece of ginger, three chopped green onions, and soy sauce into the food processor and pulse to the desired consistency.  Once the filling is made, the fun begins!

I usually put about 1/2 teaspoon of filling in each wonton wrapper.  Moisten your fingers and run them along the outside of the wonton wrappers.  Fold corner to corner (into a triangle) and shape as desired.  From my photos, you might have guessed that I had no particular desired shape.  I certainly need to work on making these look more uniform.  Or maybe not…

And here is where I have a home-cook geek out.  I am finally the proud owner of a bamboo steamer!  It only takes 20 dollars and one trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  I’ve been wanting one of these since 2007.  I deserved it, right?

Yes, it is probably true that half the reason I really, really wanted a bamboo steamer was to take a photo like the following…

I steamed the potstickers for about 10 minutes, before transferring them to a 200 degree oven to keep them warm.  These went over pretty well.  Jordan–of the husband variety–chooses the potstickers as his favorite part of the meal.  I’d almost have to agree.  But then again…I really enjoyed the Hot Pot.

Hot Pot is basically Chinese fondue.   Our sauces consisted of a mustard/soy sauce blend (my personal favorite), shitake sesame, pepper teriyaki, and a sweet and spicy Asian bbq sauce.

Ingredients are dipped into a communal pot (called a fire pot in China) of hot vegetable broth to cook.  Items are then dipped in a variety of sauces and/or transferred into an individual bowl of broth.  We had baby bok choy, carrots, green onions, tofu blocks,  and mushrooms.  The plan was to eat Hot Pot in the traditional manner.  But then all ingredients just seemed to make their way into my individual bowl without hitting the sauces, etc.

Honestly, that worked just fine for me.  I added some of the sauces to my broth to liven it up a bit.  Once I was certain I had my fill of this, I moved on to dessert.  And the dessert in question is none other than the Amaretto Red Bean (Adzuki) Cake in last night’s teaser photo.

I’m not going to talk too much about the cake here, since I plan on providing a recipe post for the cake.  Don’t be fooled, just because there are beans in your cake does NOT mean it is healthy or sugar-free by any means…

Happy New Year!  I’ll see you tomorrow with some Indonesian.

Categories: Asian Food, Desserts, Food, Holidays, Vegetarian | Tags: | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Year of the Dragon Hot Pot (Hougou) and Steamed Potstickers {China}

  1. Mom Graesser

    Love seeing the duck in action. 😉

  2. Ellen Berg

    I love your duck tea infuser!! And the food looks so good! If you ever figure out how to make sticky rice, when you get to Thai food, please share!!

    You are so talented and how fun to do your cooking with a geographic theme:)

    • Cassandra

      I am hoping to try sticky rice when Thai food comes around! You know us geography wives, everything must be geo-themed 🙂

  3. Renee Waterhouse

    Looks good Honey! If Mitt Romney puts as much effort in his campaign as you are the Pearl Project.
    I think He’ll win.

    • Cassandra

      Haha! Loved your response! Wish I could send you some good luck red bean cake via that USPS!

  4. nice writing, very insightful. I like it a lot. I come acoss this website by yahoo search engine. I may visit your site oftenly and introduce it to my neibourghhood. Please keep it updated. Keep on the good work. – A sweet girl

    • Cassandra

      Thanks for stopping by! Hope you’ll see more that you like as I work my way through food geography.

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