I unfortunately had to work half a day on Christmas Eve this year, then drive 6 hours to my mother's in Montréal. What kept me going was knowing that I would be enjoying a great meal at the end of my drive. As I walked in to my mom's house, she was deep frying wonton's and chả giò (Vietnamese fried spring rolls) - another recipe that's on my list for 2010.
Deep fried wonton's filled mainly with ground shrimp and a bit of pork.
My mom had been asking my sister and me what we wanted for our Christmas meal. We also discussed having it at my sister's like last year's, or at her place. Finally, my sister asked if we could have hot pot. Strangely, it's a tradition at my sister's fiancé D's family to have Chinese hot pot (fondue chinoise) for Christmas dinner. However, my sister stated that it was different from how our family usually does it.
Variety of mushrooms, watercress and tofu.
I'm not sure how my mom's hot pot is different, but doing a quick recipe search for fondue chinoise seems to indicate that fondue chinoise has been quite "westernized" with ingredients like Worcestershire sauce and red wine for the broth (at least here in Québec). My mom just made a (Vietnamese flavoured) chicken broth. She also added a few pieces of taro for added flavour. She heated up before adding to the hot pot that my sister and D brought over.
Beef, shrimp and cuttlefish.
For the ingredients to be dipped in the hot broth, my mom had a variety of mushrooms (enoki mushrooms, meaty Chinese shiitake mushrooms and king oyster mushrooms), watercress, tofu, slices of beef (specifically for fondue), shrimps and cuttlefish. For the dipping sauce, my mom mixed soy sauce, sesame oil, green onion, minced ginger and a bit of sugar, and watered it down (adjust any of the ingredients to taste). She then microwaved it for 1-2 minutes so the green onions were cooked.
Eating hot pot is quite a social activity and forces people to take their time with their meals. We had fun cooking our foods and dipping each item in the sauce. You also have to know how long different items take to cook. My sister and I were making fun of D for liking his beef slices overcooked while we liked it just pink. I had trouble not overcooking the pieces of cuttlefish. At the end, I spooned out some broth and had it as soup. It was quite hearty with the flavours of everything that had been cooked in it.
Dipping sauce and cooking the ingredients.
Finally, my sister contributed to Christmas dinner by making Martha Stewart's bûche de Noël (yule log) for dessert. She had a bit of difficulty making it pretty (especially rolling the génoise - which I also watch Anna & Kristina struggle with on their Christmas special!) but it was very tasty! I especially enjoyed the chocolate mousse filling. Another great Christmas meal!
Martha Stewart's bûche de Noël.
Bubble Tea Shop, Richmond, B.C.
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