For the local Beijing people winter is the best season to “shuàn guō zi”, which means to eat hot pot. The term “shuàn guō zi” is the way locals of Beijing, Tianjin and other northern cities in China refer to eating hot pot. With so many different hot pot styles in China, Beijing’s hot pot still remains one of the most famous because of its “shuàn yáng ròu” which is instantly boiled mutton.
In comparison to the other Chinese hot pot, Beijing’s hot pot is the most simple in terms of soup and ingredients. However, the simplicity of the hot pot should not be underestimated in terms of preparation skills. The coal burning copper pot, fresh soup and specially prepared herbs and sauces and a well controlled degree of fire are all essential for the hot pot. This type of preparation has been used since the Qing Royal Feast of the Qing Dynasty.
The mutton used for hot pot is sliced very thinly so that it can be “instantly boiled”. It is said that the flavor of the mutton depends on the “boiling technique” herbs and sauces. Traditionally boiled mutton uses 7 ingredients for seasoning and flavoring these are: sesame sauce, chives, fermented bean curd, shrimp oil, cooking wine, soy sauce, chili oil, coriander and chopped scallions. The ingredients are mixed together to form a dipping sauce which complements the mutton.
Eating the traditional Beijing Hot Pot there is a sequence as what ingredients should be first cooked. The soup of the hot pot is made using dried shrimps, dried longan, shiitake mushrooms, chinese onions, goji berries, ginger and seaweed. Tallow should be added to the soup which gives it more flavoring, and then mutton should be added to boil. Once the meat is nearly finished Chinese cabbage, vermicelli and tofu can be added to absorb the flavors of the meat. Finally you can finish off the delicious hot pot with sesame rolls.