Korean Meat and Vegetable Hot Pot
Chongol, Korea's version of sukiyaki, is a one-pot meal, traditionally prepared over a burner at the table. Any number of ingredients can be added to the simmering deep and wide pan of cooking broth: this is Halmoni's version, a most substantial and festive array which includes strips of meat, a variety of vegetables, bean curd, and konnyaku, the rather bland but chewy curd which is a feature of the Korean kitchen. As such, chongol is an always popular and rather theatrical party favourite. But chongol is the sort of dish where you can utilize whatever is at hand, to make it as grand or as simple as you like.
1/4 pint rice wine or dry cooking sherry
1/4 pint soy sauce
1/2 pint beef broth or chicken broth or water
2 heaped tablespoons sugar
1 pound sirloin steak, cut against the grain into thin strips
3 stalks celery, cut into diagonal strips
2 carrots, peeled and cut into diagonal slices
1 large tin bamboo shoot (in one piece), sliced into large matchsticks (squeeze out any excess moisture)
1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced (if not available substitute 10-15 dried Chinese mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and soaked for 1-2 hours or until soft, then sliced)
About 15 spring onions, cut into 2 inch long pieces
1/2 Chinese cabbage, cut into 1 inch wide pieces
2 small white onions, peeled, halved, and cut into thin slices lengthwise
1 pound spinach
2 cakes bean curd, cut in half horizontally, then sliced
1 cake konnakyu,.cut into thin slices
Chongol should be prepared in a large flat pan set over a burner at the table, if possible. Otherwise, cook then transfer to a bowl and serve immediately. It will be necessary to cook this amount in 2 or 3 batches, so divide the ingredients accordingly. In a large pan or pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil, and stir-fry the sliced steak for a few minutes to brown. Next add the hard vegetables to the pan, celery, bamboo, carrots, sliced onions, and dried mushrooms (if not using fresh). Add a few ladles of the cooking broth, bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Next add the spring onions, mushrooms, spinach, and cabbage and cook for further 2-3 minutes, adding more cooking broth as necessary necessary. Finally add the konnyaku and bean curd and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Stir well to coat with sauce and serve immediately.
Continue cooking in batches until all the ingredients are finished.
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