Recipe for the sesame dipping sauce for Beijing style Hotpot?
I tried asking this at the cooking community on Livejournal and was met with RESOUNDING silence, so I'm turning to Chowhounds for help. I've been craving huoguo for MONTHS now, and now that I've found a hotplate and a recipe for a Sichuan-style broth (in Fuschia Dunlop's Land of Plenty) I'm ready to make it. My problem is that I'm a northern-style huoguo loyalist and really want to be able to eat my hotpot with that amazing creamy sesame dipping sauce that you always get in restaurants in Beijing, but I can't seem to find a recipe for it. Does anyone know how to make this stuff, or if it can be bought premade? Thanks!
I don't know what you're accustomed to getting in restaurants, but if you grind up about 4 teaspoons of sesame seeds (mashing/grinding them is a mortar and pestle is my favorite method) and combine that with a couple of tablespoons of sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of finely chopped garlic (mashed after chopping) , 7 teaspoons of sesame oil, and 8 - 10 teaspoons of medium dry wine (you can use sweet wine if you like - sake works well) you'll have a nice sauce. You can adjust it by tasting as you go, a bit more of this a bit less of that, to achieve the balance you like. If you like a bit of spice you can add a bit of Wasabi.
Careful with the sesame oil, it tends to get stronger over timie and if yours has been resting in the cupboard for a while; and isn't yet ransid, you may want to use less.
Keep notes as you work on it and you'll eventually come up with a personal sesame dipping sauce that you can take ownership of.
Thanks for the recipe, and for the tip about the sesame oil; I had no idea that the flavor strengthened over time. The dipping sauce I'm after is pretty specific to Beijing/northeastern China, and if you've eaten hotpot in Beijing you'll recognize it, but I'm at a loss as to how to explain it. I'm pretty sure there's something in it - maybe some kind of fermented bean paste? - that I'm not very familiar with, which is why I'm been spending so much time hunting for a recipe, in the hopes that someone knows the secret!