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Make your own hot pot sauces

Here are recipes for three dips to go with your steamboat

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Hedy Khoo on 19 Jan 2020

The Straits Times

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Steamboat is a popular reunion dinner option, especially for those who do not have time to whip up a feast.

 

Dipping sauces are an integral part of the hot pot experience and we have all been spoilt by the array offered at steamboat restaurants.

 

But do you really want to jostle with the festive dining crowds or wait for hours to get into one of the hot spots?

 

Here, we show you how to make three fuss-free, restaurant-worthy dips. Making your own sauces also means you have full control over the level of spiciness and saltiness.

 

The non-spicy Sesame Dip is suitable for those who cannot take heat or who want a sauce to complement their mala spicy hot pot.

 

You can get bottled sesame seed paste at a Chinese supermarket. Pick one that is made purely from white sesame seeds. Some are labelled sesame paste but contain peanuts.

 

White rice vinegar adds a little tang to keep the sesame paste from being over-cloying.

 

Use the sesame paste with some of the oil that comes in the bottle. The viscosity of the sesame paste on its own can make it difficult for it to mix with the other ingredients.

 

For the Spicy Savoury Dip, I have opted to add sha cha jiang, which is also known as Chinese barbecue sauce. Look for the Bull Head brand of it that is made in Taiwan.

 

I bought the sha cha jiang at Kwong Cheong Thye in Lorong 27 Geylang. It is also available at Yue Hwa in Eu Tong Sen Street.

 

The sauce is made with soya bean oil, dried fish, garlic, ginger, shallots, sesame, coconut powder, dried shrimp, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Keep the leftover sauce for stir-fries or as seasoning for noodles.

 

Fermented chilli beancurd adds a complex savoury flavour to the final sauce.

 

Another spicy dipping sauce that is simpler and easier to prepare is the Spicy Seafood Dip, an adaptation of the popular Thai nam jim dipping sauce that is traditionally used for seafood.

 

The original version requires pounding the ingredients with mortar and pestle. These days, you can just use the blender.

 

If you find having to wash the blender a hassle, simply chop up all the ingredients and mix them up with a little palm sugar, lime juice and fish sauce. Thai palm sugar is recommended as it comes as a soft paste and dissolves more easily.

 

 

SPICY SAVOURY DIP

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbs sesame paste
  • 2 Tbs sha cha jiang
  • 1 tsp fermented chilli beancurd
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs light soya sauce
  • 3 red chilli padi (sliced)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger (10g)
  • 1 Tbs minced garlic (2 garlic cloves)
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp crushed peanuts
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 3g fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk of spring onion (3g), sliced

 

METHOD

 

1. In a bowl, add the sesame paste, sha cha jiang and fermented chilli beancurd. Lightly mash up the fermented chilli beancurd and mix well.

 

2. Add the dried chilli flakes, sugar, salt and light soya sauce. Mix well.

 

3. Add the chilli padi, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. Mix well.

 

4. Add the crushed peanuts, coriander and spring onion. Mix well.

 

5. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

 

Makes two servings

 

SPICY SEAFOOD DIP

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp Thai palm sugar
  • 1 Tbs lime juice (from four calamansi limes)
  • 3 Tbs Thai fish sauce 3 red chilli padi (sliced)
  • 3 green chilli padi (sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3g fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbs crushed peanuts

 

METHOD

 

1. In a bowl, add the palm sugar and lime juice. Mix well until the palm sugar is dissolved.

 

2. Add the fish sauce, both the red and green chilli padi, garlic and coriander. Mix well.

 

3. Garnish with crushed peanuts.

 

Makes two servings

 

SESAME DIP

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Tbs sesame paste
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 1 Tbs white rice wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 Tbs minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger (10g)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs sesame oil
  • 1 stalk of spring onion (3g), sliced
  • 1 stalk of fresh coriander (3g), chopped
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame seeds

 

METHOD

 

1. In a bowl, add the sesame paste, water, vinegar, light soya sauce, ginger, garlic and salt. Mix well.

 

2. Add the sesame oil, coriander and spring onion. Mix well.

 

3. Garnish with sesame seeds.

 

Makes two servings

 

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

 

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