19 April 2008

Huoguo Shacha 火锅沙茶 Chinese Hotpot

People enjoying Chinese firepot 火锅 at a large restaurant.

For hotpot, broth is kept simmering in a hot pot in the center of the table into which thin strips of meat and pieces of vegetables are dipped to cook and then dipped in sauces. My favorite was always sha cha sauce 沙茶酱--a dark brown, pungent, thickish dip that has a somewhat gritty mouth feel. The Chinese characters of the name mean "sand" "tea" "sauce". The sauce is made from flatfish, shrimp, soybean oil, chilis, garlic, and shallots. It is also known in southeastern China in the Min dialect as "satay." The food, after being cooked quickly in the hot broth, is whisked out on one's chopsticks and dipped in the sauce which often has had a raw egg stirred into it and then popped into the mouth and eaten.

Canned shacha sauce -->

A fancy hotpot & Shacha sauce with raw egg--below.

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