Hot Pot at home, and jackfruit too!

One of our favorite meals is to have our own “Hot Pot” night.  We’re fortunate to live in an area filled with lots of varying cultures who bring with them restaurants and new food experiences to share.  One of our favorites (particularly because it can be made Paleo so easily AND is a lot of fun) is to do what’s called Hot Pot.  But it can get costly when your littles ask for endless servings of shellfish, so we started doing it at home.  It’s become tradition when our friends James & Brady visit, because they love hot pot as much as we do.

We wrote about how to do hot pot once already, but that post was from before this blog was even called Paleo Parents and those pictures don’t do the experience justice so James & Brady graciously agreed to let us take some pictures when they came over for a Hot Pot dinner with us this week.  In case the concept seems complicated, I’ll break it down for you – but, I guarantee you this meal was the most easy and entertaining meal we’ve had all week – the kids were so occupied the adults actually got to have conversation.*

Hot Pot

  1. 1 Quart Broth (we used homemade beef, but any good quality broth of your choosing is OK) + 2-4 Cups water to refill as broth concentrates and cooks down
    Optional: Add flavorings to your broth – we like to add spring onions, thai curry paste and red pepper to ours but to each is own
  2. Uncooked meats of your choosing
    Our favorites are thinly sliced beef, clams, mussels, and quail eggs
  3. Vegetables of your choosing, cut into pieces that will allow them to cook more quickly
    Our favorites are spinach, carrots, cabbage, snow peas, sugar snap peas, and okra
  4. An electric skillet or other vessel to keep liquid at a high enough temperature to boil
  5. A handful of dropping and fetching devices (Chinese spider, silicon slotted spoons, tongs, whatever you have!)

Simply let the poaching liquid come to a boil and cook the food.  Eat veggies when soft, eat shellfish about 1 minute after they open and eat the meat once it’s no longer red (pink or brown, whatever your preference). Let the pot empty between rounds (fish out all the pieces of meat or vegetables that sink to the bottom) and let liquid come back to a boil, then start all over again with the next combination of foods the kids want to try.

The boys all loved dinner, as usual.  It was a loud meal filled with excitement, standing in our chairs and general glee.  If only they could cook dinner for us every night! Word of warning though: I wouldn’t let your kids get too hungry before this dinner, because there is a bit of patience involved as you cook a few of each, wait for them to cook, let the water reboil and then start again.  But, there’s nothing better than hearing a couple of 3 year-olds argue over who gets the next available clam.

While at the Asian food market to pick-up clams, James and Brady picked-up a fruit none of us had ever tried before: Jackfruit. It’s a treat for us to find new food! James and Brady’s mom came armed with tons of information about the jackfruit.  When she started talking about having watched YouTube videos in order to figure out how to prepare it I started to get a little worried.  But, the kids LOVED it’s tropical, super sweet flavor so I guess it was worth the 20 minutes of giggles Liz and I had in the kitchen trying to figure the darn thing out.

Fair warning, it takes effort to get the little yellow flavor nuggets out.  There’s no way we would’ve ever had a bowl full if the kids had helped us – they would have eaten each piece as we fished it out!  Also, the fruit pieces are housed in a STICKY non-edible pod with what appear to be fruit tentacles.  I’m quite sure nature does not want you to find the edible flavor nuggets in the fruit, because of all the effort it took – but, Liz tackled it like a champ.

She sliced the fruit into sections that allowed for two rows of the pods; we dug in with our fingers and a spoon to extract them on each side of the slice, popped out the seeds (we’re saving them for roasting, supposedly they’re high in protein and yummy), then took the sticky, slimy outer skin off and – voila, jackfruit nuggets (which themselves are not sticky).  I think the best description of the flavor, that I could think of, would be Juicy-Fruit gum.  Depending on our creativity we may invest in our own jackfruit and see what recipes form… in the meantime, I’m still trying to get nature’s goo off my hands.

*Please keep an eye on your kids and make sure to thoroughly explain that the pan and boiling water is hot.  Our kids are great about “slowly, careful, gentle” put food into pot – but it’ll take some practice with adult supervision to get them in the rhythm at first.

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  • Yum! I grew up eating jack fruit. Glad ya’ll enjoyed it. 🙂

  • Yum! I grew up eating jack fruit. Glad ya’ll enjoyed it. 🙂

    • It was a lot of fun, just didn’t know there was any food found in nature that required a tutorial by video 😉

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  • Jonathan

    New to your site, and thought I’d make my first comment on this post. Hot pot can be so delicious. My son and I also love it. We primarily use shrimp, fish, and mussels – he only likes clams if they’re fried. My son was born in VietNam (I adopted him when he was 4.5 months old), and jack fruit grows wild there. Some of them get huge – like 30 or 40 pounds. We sometimes buy it frozen, but fresh is best…try food service gloves next time to save your hands from the sticky monster! Some other fruits you might love from the area are mangosteen, rambutan, and dragon fruit (thanh long).
    A fun experiment is to take those giant seeds and plant them just about a half inch below the surface of some potting mixture, keep it moist and warm and they’ll sprout in a couple weeks into a fun little tree that’ll live until it frosts. We start one every May here in Ohio.

    • Thanks for the tips. Planting it seems like an interesting experiment. I think we’ll try that next year!

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  • Molly

    If you oil your hands it doesn’t stick. Had it in Tanzania, the locals would even oil their lips before eating it to prevent it sticking!!

  • T G Lam

    I’m so happy you posted this (even though I’m a couple of years behind). I love hotpot and all the variations thereof. This has inspired me to make hotpot at home (as well as try out jackfruit)!