Weird summer it’s turning out to be. After days and days of terrible heat and humidity that could keep the most diligent cook away from the kitchen, it rained. And it’s still raining.
So, soup it is. It would have been nice to enjoy a hot pot meal but the cool air screams bed weather. I just wanted something warming and go back to my writing. Good thing we had a pack of mixed seafood balls. We also had a bag of spinach. Together, they could be cooked on the stove.
Bags of mixed seafood balls for hot pot cooking are available in the frozen section of most Asian groceries. The shape and size of the contents vary. Some are shaped like shrimps, some are red-flaked spheres, some even look like tofu cubes. But they are all made from fish paste. They are fully cooked before they are frozen. All you need to do is thaw them and simmer them for a few minutes in broth.
What broth is best? It has to be something that will complement the seafood balls. I chose dashi which I simmered with a few slices of fresh ginger. After the broth had absorbed the gingery flavor, I just dropped in the mixed seafood balls.
After the balls had simmered in the broth for a few minutes, I added spinach. A few more minutes of simmering — just long enough to wilt the leaves — and the hot pot style soup was ready to be served.
Easy hot pot style soup
- 1 two-inch knob ginger peeled and sliced
- 2 8-gram packets hondashi
- 500 grams mixed seafood balls thawed
- 300 grams spinach
- salt to taste
- aonori to garnish (optional)
- Pour six cups of water into a pot.
- Add the ginger slices and heat.
- When the water begins to simmer, stir in the hondashi.
- When the broth reaches boiling point, drop in the mixed seafood balls.
- Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
- Drop in the spinach, pressing down the leaves into the liquid.
- Stir and simmer just until the spinach wilts.
- Taste the broth and add salt, if needed.
- Serve the hot pot style soup immediately. Optionally, sprinkle with aonori.