Have a Hot Pot Party

A Mongolian hot pot party is such fun that, even if you aren’t Mongolian, you might want to purchase the necessary equipment and throw one. For the hostess, there are advantages to this cooking method: Most of the heavy prep work is done in advance; the guests can actually cook their own food, if you like, and there’s undeniable entertainment value to the format.

Everyone sits companionably around a special metal cooking vessel in which a flavorful broth is bubbling, laughing and chatting as they briefly dunk and retrieve tissue-thin slices of beef or lamb, greens and mushrooms, or watch as their host or hostess does the cooking for them. There are condiments on the table so guests can customize.

When everyone has had their fill and the broth is at its most delicious, a pile of rice noodles is added. Everyone gets a satisfying serving to complete the meal.

I was fortunate, since the mother of the host at the party I attended, who was visiting from Inner Mongolia China, made her divinely tender and tasty dumplings as an appetizer. If you don’t want to try making your own, you might order some from a local Asian restaurant or, perhaps, serve salad with an Asian dressing to start.

If you do an Internet search, you’ll find instructions for pulling off a hot pot party plus lots of sources for purchasing the pot itself.

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