We at Plato Putas adore our Mammas. We love how they filled our childhood with more activities than we can remember (swimming, skating, dance, gymnastics, soccer, baseball), instituted family day on Sundays, wiped our disgusting snotty boogers when the weather was cold and packed our lunches every day. Realistically, the list is endless. But one of the main reasons we love our Mammas is because they always love us back with a heartfelt home-cooked meal. Last time we honoured Mamma Riyait, and today we continue our homage to moms everywhere. The Double P’s will enter the homes of Mammas to stir up some of the good stuff, unlock family secrets and share the best recipes you won’t find in a cookbook.

Our second featured mother is Nellie Wong. Hailing from Canton (aka Guangzhou), China, Mamma Wong moved to Toronto in 1965 and is the proud mom of two kids. Her Mongolian Hot Pot (aka Chinese Fondue) is one of my favourite reasons to head home for a Sunday dinner. It’s basically meat, seafood, vegetables, noodles and other goodies cooked in a hot broth. On this occasion (my bro’s b-day), she put together a seafood-specific feast.

Okay kids, get out your pen and paper, it’s note-taking time. Mamma Wong warms up the winter by showing us how to prepare your very own Seafood Hot Pot.

Step 1: Set the table Hot pot requires totally different equipment than your typical meal. The most important item is an electronic hot pot placed in the middle of the table. Ours plugs into the wall with a dial to adjust the temperature to keep the soup at a low, rolling boil. Each person gets a bowl, small plate, Chinese soup spoon, plus a dipping dish to make their own soy and hot sauce mixture. In terms of utensils, each person needs chopsticks and a wire basket.

Step 2: Prepare the Seafood Platters My mom gets all the ingredients for hot pot from a Chinese grocery store like TNT in Toronto. She marinates the shrimp, salmon, sea bass and scallops overnight with green onions. Then she lays it all out with Chinese vegetables, lotus root, mushrooms, stuffed tofu, asparagus and rice noodles. If you’re making a meat version, thinly sliced raw chicken, lamb, beef and pork work nicely.

Step 3: Pour Broth into Hot Pot My mom always gets my dad to do this task. Sometimes she’ll use a chicken bouillon cube to make a quick broth but on this day she had some fish stock already prepared.

Step 4: Submerge Your Food Use your wire basket to scoop up whatever tasty morsels you want and place it gently into the hot soup to cook. To avoid your food being teefed (usually by my brother), cage it under your wire basket. Beware of people (like my brother) who like to go “fishing” and wrangle up other people’s cooked food. Seafood items usually only take a minute or two to cook. Meats like chicken will obviously need longer.

Step 5: Scoop Up Your Treasures This was my first basket bounty. The great thing about Hot Pot is that it forces you to eat slowly, since you only cook and eat one basketful at a time. It becomes a lengthy and leisurely meal that’s just as much about the company around the pot as the things that come out of it. At the end of your meal, don’t forget to drink the broth. The soup will be flavoured by everything that was cooked in it, and believe me, it’s in contention for the best part of the meal.

Step 6: Add a Side of Seafood My brother also requested crab for his birthday so mom boiled up three of these critters and made an accompanying dipping sauce of lime juice, cilantro, soy sauce and fish sauce.

When all is said and done, enjoy the love Mamma put into the meal, and don’t forget to kiss the cook.

Think your Mamma has what it takes to be featured on Plato Putas? Send us a note, introduce your Ma and tell us why her infamous dish rocks your world.

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