Cold Fall Nights Call for Spicy Hot Soup!
By Meg Claire
Chinese Hot Pot soups are a thousand year old tradition. Typically, it’s a fondue-type idea: frozen meats are sliced carpaccio-style and dipped into a pot of hot broth to cook. Truly, you don’t miss the meat at all in this vegan adaptation. Tons of vegetables and tofu feed a broth started with the classic French mirepoix base. The aromatics of onion, carrot and celery give the broth a richness you don’t expect with a veggie broth soup.
Ladle the soup over a cup of cooked brown rice for a more abundant meal. The leftovers are almost better the second day, but try to keep the rice separate until serving.
I use a Le Creuset pot for this recipe because it’s the closest thing I have to the Chinese traditional clay pot vessel. Use the heaviest soup pot you have, ideally something enameled cast iron.
Chinese Hot Pot
Serves 6 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion diced
1 large carrot, halved lengthwise then sliced into ½” pieces
1 celery stalk, sliced into ½” pieces
6oz. can of sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, smashed
8-10oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 ½ cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
½ pound tofu, cut into large dice
2oz. snow peas, trimmed and halved
3 scallions, only green parts sliced into 2” segments
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil or Chinese hot oil
Heat the olive oil in your best soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger, cook until fragrant, about 40 seconds. Add the carrot, celery, water chestnuts, mushrooms and red pepper flakes. Sir occasionally and sweat the mushrooms, about 8 minutes. Add the stock and tamari. Simmer for ten minutes.
Add the tofu, snow peas and scallions. Cook until the snow peas are crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Drizzle on the sesame or hot oil. Stir and serve immediately.