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Hot Pot Remake
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Hot Pot Remake

Before any trip, I do a lot of research to find vegan restaurants and markets in my destination city.  On our trip to California a few months back, we tried a menagerie of delicious vegan cuisines throughout southern California.  One of the stand out meals for us was at an Asian restaurant in the the Los Angeles (Alhambra) area called Loving Hut (heh, yeah, it’s a funny name).  It’s an odd atmosphere, but they have a robust menu of all sorts of delights.  Many of the vegan foods I tried in CA were soy-heavy – and I tend not to eat a lot of soy in my regular diet – but it was different than the norm.  We got a vegan Thai Hot Pot: essentially a huge bowl of wonderfully flavorful broth and an equally huge plate of fresh raw vegetables and mushrooms to add to said broth.   You get a bowl of noodles and you ladle the broth onto the noodles – voila!  delicious and easy.

Hot Pot - 62:365 

 The version in California had some “soy shrimp” in it … I am not a huge imitation meat fan, but it was interesting to try all the same.  The meal was scrumptious and Kris and I were completely satiated.

…FAST FORWARD…

This dang hot pot is *still* on my mind.  I want to try to recreate that amazing taste.  So, I did some searching and found this recipe on the internet.  I could tell that this was not going to be exactly it, so I basically used it as a framework and added my own little perks.

 

Soba Noodles

 Soba noodles – wrapper tag states: “Say NO to GMOs”

Raw Ingredients 

Cabbage, scallions, bok choy – some of the choice greens for my version!

Sauteed Veggies 

Sauteed the cabbage, straw mushrooms, and bok choy stems with sesame oil and crushed red pepper flakes

Hot Pot Ready! 

Added carrots, tofu, chunked water chestnuts, and some mung bean sprouts, and poured the broth over the lightly cooked soba noodles.

While it was quite good, it wasn’t exactly the same blend and taste that we had in California – so I am going to give this one another try.  I wanted more spice – maybe some more rice vinegar or some miso paste? – and it was missing the lemongrass-y flavor that the other one had.  So, I need to “Thai” it up a bit more for next time! :)

It is definitely one of those fun meals that can be shared communily.  It was only Kris and I, so we didn’t pull out the fondue pot, but this would be a fun way to turn this meal into a course for a dinner party. 

 

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24 Responses

  1. YW

    I have always been intimidated by cooking Thai food. I really don’t know much about it, and don’t have local access to ingredients. One day, I want to really sit down and do some research. And your Hot Bowl looks super delish!

  2. Leslie

    Wow, you seriously inspire me to improve my eating habits. You turned me on to that vegan cupcakes book and today I’m picking up the new cookie version from the library. :)

  3. Jackie

    My two daughter are from China. Our youngest is from the Qinghai Province and when we were there we had the BEST hotpot ever. They had all kinds of bases–hot, mild and vegetarian–and the most awesome add-ins. We’ve been experimenting at home, much to the amusement of the owner’s of our local Chinese grocery. It is snowing and blowing today in Iowa and now you’ve made me really hungry for China!

  4. Chandler

    Well, even if it wasn’t quite up to your standards, it looks fantastic. And bok choy is just about the most divine vegetable ever. And I love that label on the soba noodles!!

  5. Kala

    That looks delicious!

  6. Clumsy Knitter

    Mmm…that looks delicious! I may have to try making some, too.

    On another note, a Loving Hut just opened up in my neighborhood in San Diego a couple months ago but I have never gone in! The name…I just can’t get over the name! Before it opened, I thought it was going to be some kind of “massage parlor” or something! LOL But I may give it a try now, after your little plug. :)

  7. Kim

    I love fake meats. But I can’t imagine a fake shrimp. Were they able to get the ‘crunch’ of shrimp? hmmmm…

    I wonder if it’s not tamarind that’s missing in your dish? Thai food has a strangely sweet/sour thing going on with the soups that’s irresistable. I think it comes, in part, from tamarind paste, which I bet you could find in your coop or asian market.

  8. Mimi

    Looks yummy!

  9. Mercuria

    I spot enoki mushrooms in the picture of the original hot pot–I love them! You can get them canned, but the fresh ones are much, much better. There are Asian grocery stores all over the area, so you should be able to find them fairly easily. Also, if you’re not using Korean cabbage (the flat heads, not the round heads), try that–it’s one of my favorite crunchy things!

  10. elizabeth

    I don’t know if it’s still there, but back in my veggie days (the entirety of the ’90s), I used to eat at a veg restaurant called The Nam whenever I was in Vancouver. It’s worth your while to google it and see if it’s still around, because it was super yummy.

  11. elizabeth

    Sorry, I just googled myself (should have done that before commenting, I suppose), but it’s actually the Naam (www.thenaam.com) and is open 24 hours! Check it out.

  12. Stacey

    I still think back to this noodle/stir fry dish I had in NYC nearly 10 years ago. So good. Funny how tastes like that stay with you. Anyway…

    I was just thinking the otehr day about your trip out here. My sister wants to try Peruvian food and I told her you went to a place out in Orange County. (It *was* Peruvian, right?!) What was the name of it?

  13. Abby

    @Jackie: I did a summer study abroad program a few years ago in the Qinghai province and I, too, at a lot of amazing hot pot food! When I read this post, that’s the first thing I thought about, and I started craving that Qinghai hotpot, and it surprised me so much to see you mention the same place where I lived for a summer! It’s not exactly a common place for people to have heard of!
    And Lauren, thanks for sharing the recipe. I think I’ll try it out and see what it tastes like. :-)

  14. Angela

    When you are in Vancouver for the Games, you might want to check out the Landmark Hot Pot House. We haven’t been there in forever, but it looks like it is still in business: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/181066/restaurant/South-Cambie-Street/Landmark-Hot-Pot-House-Vancouver

  15. lillybits

    The Naam is good, but I way prefer Foundation at 2301 Main Street in Vancouver. (Sorry, no website.) Email me if you want other Vancouver recommendations! Food or otherwise. :-)

  16. cici

    Yours looks delicious♥ Ya know, with every try it will get better! I think with more” thai” will do the trick♥

  17. elkbio

    Saw this on Flickr first and it looks amazing…thanks for the recipe and for showing us your modifications…may need to try it. And making it ‘more Thai’ would be a positive thing! :)

  18. Heather

    Yum – that looks wonderful. I’ve recently been turned on to Thai foods, and I’m loving sampling and trying different things. Do you have the name of a good restaurant near you? My sister and I are always on the lookout for a good dinner spot on our way to spinning at Cloverhill!

    :O)

  19. Jenna

    We have a place here that used to be called something like Vegan Garden, but then it changed its name to Loving Hut. Although I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go in there with the new name, your good review along with some others I read may sway me. If I get this dish, i’ll think of you as I eat it! Thanks for sharing your recipe. xoxo

  20. jackie

    hey lolly, here’s an unsolicited suggestion: maybe you need to focus on the broth itself and make your vegetable broth a little more asian in flavor. perhaps try simmering it with some star anise, ginger, lemongrass, etc, before you even start. you know what i mean? the secret may be in the base. not that i have a clue what exact flavor you’re going for–just a thought. :)

  21. Paige

    Imitation shrimp? That sounds so very odd. I’ve only had one good imitation meat product, and it was chicken. But I figure, everything tastes like chicken… so that’s kinda cheating.

  22. emy

    Looks yummy!

    To *thai* it, add a few dashes of fish sauce (not sure if there’s a vegetarian version), some cut lemongrass, sweet basil and cut chillies when you are almost done so that they add fragrance to the soup. If you are not into peppery chilli-hot, just fish them out when you find the taste acceptable or it’ll really spice up the pot as they continue to soak in the broth.

    Squeeze a small lime or two to add to the tangy-ness.

    And of course, chilli powder — pepper chilli flakes just don’t cut it.

    Let me know if these works!

  23. Josiane

    It may not have been quite what you were looking for, but your version looks delicious nonetheless. And I bet you’ll get closer next time!

  24. Marietta (rawyoginimari)

    sorry this tip is coming so late, but I’ve been in Thailand and haven’t been reading so much – definitely focus on developing the broth. Kafir lime leaves, galangal ginger and lemongrass are staples of any thai broth, plus sugar (eep!) I’d try all of those but maybe a bit of stevia instead of sugar. oh and fish sauce does have a veg alternative – it’s called mushroom sauce, but I’m not 100% sure if you can get it back in the States!

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