Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Mongolian Fire-pot

Continuing my theme of cooking-gadgets, in this post I'm going to describe the Mongolian fire-pot.

In essence, the fire-pot cooking technique is rather similar to the European method of fondue cooking.  A cooking vessel is filled with hot stock / broth and kept warm - originally with a charcoal burner, but these days more likely with an electric element. Thinly-sliced meat and vegetables are cooked in the hot broth. Once the meat and veg are consumed, the remaining broth is soaked up by cooking noodles in it. You could even use the fire-pot for heating oil, as in the Fondue Bourguinonne, though my feeling is that this might be a tad dangerous on the tabletop. Come to that, I'm not sure I would want hot charcoal on my Dining-Room table these days either. We used you live more dangerously in our youth!

This is our fire-pot.




We bought it many years ago in Hong Kong. It is made of aluminium. It is an old-fashioned one with a charcoal burner in the base, and a chimney for this in the centre. The cooking compartment has a removable lid.



 Hot charcoal is placed carefully down the chimney into the burner compartment, (using tongs). The stock is then placed into the cooking compartment, and the lid is put on to assist it to heat up. Of course you could also heat the stock in a saucepan on a traditional stove and then decant it into the fire-pot at the appropriate moment. When the stock is simmering you're ready to eat, and each diner cooks their own food by placing it in a specially-designed little wire basket implement and immersing it in the stock until it is cooked to their liking.



Perhaps best used for outdoor dining I think... We haven't used our one for many years now, but it's nice to keep as a 'curiosity'.  Does anyone have one of these in active use? I'd be interested to hear whether the electric ones are any good.

12 comments:

  1. I saw the same pot with yours a few years ago in a Chinese restaurant in Osaka. I remember I ate a mongrian-style pot dish with boiling sliced pork and vegetables in a hot-spicy soup.
    I think the wire basket is used to catch tofu without breaking the shape.

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  2. Hi Takaeko; I thought YOU would be familiar with the fire-pot technique. I'm sure it would be a good way of using your Komatsuna. Do you have one of the pots?

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  3. What a great thing I'd love one of those.

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  4. Very interesting. I have never seen one before.

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  5. Very nice, I am not very familiar with this cooking, tho I have seen them around here sometimes.
    So cool you lived in Hong Kong some years. It is a very fascinating city.

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  6. How fun, I love a cook at the table gadget. I went to a Vietnamese restaurant the other night and they had a little hot pot on a camping stove. It was all a bit wonderful, you got a plate full of meat and veggies and cooked them communally in the broth.

    I love the way that you share food with this kind of method of cooking.

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  7. Ali, you should come round to my place for dinner: I'd give you a starter of chicken satay cooked on the electric tabletop grill, a main of pork, veg and noodles done in the fire-pot and then a chocolate fondue for dessert. That would be good for sharing, eh???

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  8. Mark, with that kind of menu, I'd never leave!

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  9. We see these often in Asian restaurants around San Francisco. They're used for serving shared soups.

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  10. I bought a vintage one today that has never been used. It's copper, brass and some stainless steel. I'm puzzled as to where the coals go as mine seems to be different shaped cone than most I've seen.

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  11. I have a fire pot as per your picture, purchased many years ago in the u.k. It is still used and enjoyed by all who visit.Still use it indoors with charcoal and have plans for meal next week.

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  12. I recently purchased one of these pots at a resale shop. Had no idea what it was, nor did anyone else in the shop. Fun conversation piece.

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