Whenever it was my chance to request a special dinner as a kid (pretty much just birthdays and… well, birthdays, I think!), I always rotated between two dishes: Mongolian or cheese fondue. Something about the interactive nature of these two meals must have spoken to my soul in those days.
Nonetheless, I still have a fondness for both meals, but find Mongolian ever so much easier to whip up (all that stirring and tempering with fondue!), as long as you have a few key tools…
When Mum and Dad passed, I insisted on getting to keep Mum’s original “Mongolian Hot Pot” and the skimmers that came with it, though you could just as easily do this with a large pot on a burner on the kitchen table…
Gather all the ingredients – this is the fun part! Include anything that would make a tasty soup… snow peas, water chestnuts, shrimp, chicken, bean sprouts, green onion, baby corn, ramen noodles, anything that sparks your fancy! I always make sure to include soy sauce and sesame oil on the table as well.
To get going, heat up four (at least) cups of water or chicken broth in the pot on the table, and add the spice packets from the ramen. Let it come to boiling, stir it a bit, then everyone grabs a bowl and throws in some ingredients! It helps to decide how many “rounds” you’ll do in order to stretch your ingredients. 😉
Give everything a stir, then put on the lid on and have “light conversation” (as my father would say) until everything is cooked through. Everyone dives in with their skimmer and fills their bowl, then you cook the next round while you eat your helping! There are very divided camps on whether you can include some of the broth in each round, or if you MUST wait until the end to drink the leftover broth which is infused with all that cooked goodness. Fights have begun this way in our family. 😉
Top with some crunchy chow mein noodles, and enjoy!
What’s your favorite childhood “fancy” meal you remember?