Tom Yum Seafood Hot Pot (Lau Thai Do Bien)

Hot pot is super satisfying to eat during the cold months and most of all, the cooking is done by your guests, leaving you with plenty of time to visit and be merry with your company. You can pretty much include any protein you want, from seafood to chicken and don't forget some leafy veggies. It's a fun way to serve a large group of friends this weekend, but be sure to have a couple of "hot pots", one for each end of the table so your guests won't have to fight over the goods. 

hot pot tom yum

RECIPE for 6-8 servings

1 quart of chicken stock
1/2 cup of tom yum paste

Items to be cooked in hot pot:
1 handful of large button mushroom, quartered
2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 stems of elephant ear vegetable ("Bac Ha"), cut into 1/2 inch rounds (can be substituted by celery stems)
5-6 leaves of napa cabbage, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 handful of sawtooth herb ("Ngo Gai"), cut into 1-inch portions
1 handful of okras, cut to halves
1 lb of each: shrimp, green mussels, surf clams, fish balls, etc.
4 bundles of the dried clear noodle, soak in warm water and drain
2-3 handfuls of cooked vermicelli, optional

Place stock into a hot pot (sold at your local Asian market) and add in the tom yum paste. Be sure to mix the paste so all is dissolved in to the broth. Once broth is slightly boiling, guests should add in the veggies and proteins as they eat. Fish out the items as they cook and do not over cook the proteins or they will not taste as good. For the noodle part, only the clear noodle needs to cook in the broth for a few seconds before eating. Enjoy!