Summer Hot Pot with Pork and Shrimp Dumplings

You can't say you haven't been warned ... I mentioned in my last post I was on a Donna Hay kick. Her recipes are full of fresh ingredients and TONS of flavor, and that's ultimately what I crave; flavor.  Last post featured a flavor-packed meatless meal but you'll note that today, while we're still using super fresh, whole ingredients, we've thrown in little packages of pork and prawn perfection.

My goal, when I am eating meat, is to look for sustainable, humanely raised products. It's difficult to do this in the remote area where I live. We have one grocery store and a Wal-Mart Super Center that I refuse to purchase groceries from, or much of anything for that matter, if I can help it.

Never said I wasn't a snob. I like to think I'm just "choosy."

Traveling as often as I do, I make a point to pick up products I can support as often as I can. I realize that's not always possible for everyone all the time ... but making the effort when you can makes a difference. My sister lamented last weekend on her Facebook page, "Committing to buy all the food you consume from local farmers markets sometimes makes for a very soggy shopping day. I'm about drowned!" She lives in Seattle and while she has access to freshly farmed food nearly every day of the year, it doesn't come without it's hardships. Do what you can to make your world a better place :)

This hot pot recipe is very much like a Japanese Sukiyaki which is a dish of meat and fresh vegetables prepared and served in the Japanese hot pot style. It's one of my favorite Japanese dishes - outside of sushi, of course! While traditional Sukiyaki broth is made up of soy sauce, sake and sugar, this recipe instead calls for Shaoxing wine which is a Chinese cooking wine. I have found Sukiyaki broth to be a bit sweet for my taste, so I was willing to go with the Shaoxing here (you can use cooking sherry in a pinch). You're still adding some sugar to this dish, but the quantity is much less than for a traditional Sukiyaki broth. Please keep in mind, this is in my limited experience. I've eaten Sukiyaki several times but have only made it myself once. I'm still learning!

As with most of my posts, I'm including Donna Hay's recipe exactly as she wrote it. I may stray here and there with ingredients and/or techniques (which I'll always share with you), but I feel that since I am sharing someone else's well thought out creations, you should be able to try them in their entirety as they're meant to be cooked. We all do our own "riffing" when it comes to cooking, but as a "newbie" cook, I always go strictly by the book the first time around, then I start tweaking.

Additionally, odd-ball ingredients aren't always handy for me, so in that regard I try to use what I have available and on-hand. This dish really lends itself to creativity, so I hope you'll share with me if you work something into this dish that makes it even more magical.

So here we go, summer hot pot!

Summer Hot Pot with Pork and Prawn Dumpling

Recipe by Donna Hay - serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

3 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and shredded

4 oz shiitake mushrooms, halved (I used twice this much and used baby bellas which I had on hand)

1 cup Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing)

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 teaspoons caster (fine) sugar

4 and 1/4 cups water

3 baby bok choy, halved

4 oz enoki mushrooms, trimmed

baby (micro) shisho leaves (I did not have these, so I used basil)

chopped fresh red chilli to serve

Prawn and Pork Dumplings:

1 green onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

1 long red chilli, chopped

1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and roughly chopped

1/2 pound ground pork

sea salt flakes

1 teaspoon caster (fine) sugar

Directions

To make the prawn and pork dumplings (meatballs), place the green onion, garlic, ginger and chilli in a small food processor and process until a coarse paste forms. Place the paste in a bowl with the shrimp, pork, salt and sugar and mix well to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Using wet hands, roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes or until light golden. Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden. Add the cooking wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, add the dumplings and cook 5-6 minutes. Add the bok choy and enoki mushrooms and cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked through. Top with the thin shiso leaves and chilli to serve.