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.