One of my contributions was a fish and tofu hotpot. It was the veritable firebomb; dried chillis and Sichuan peppercorns bobbed around in the broth while it simmered merrily away, intensifying in flavour and turning a deep, troublesome red.
Cubes of tofu were slipped in for some wibbly wobbly texture and at the very last minute, chunks of coley were added to barely cook in the broth.
It was stunningly, awesomely spicy. "Eee! Arrrghh! AHHHHH!" resonated around the room as we slurped a teaspoonful of broth each. When tempered with plain white rice though, the flavours of the fish shone through, freshness added by the spring onion garnish.
Sichuan Fish & Tofu Hotpot
Serves 4 as part of a multicourse meal
1/2 a block of firm tofu
300gr white fish, cut in chunks - I used coley
500mls chicken stock
A couple handfuls of dried chillis - we used the long, finger-shaped ones and the squat bell shaped chillis
2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp salt
3 slices of ginger
2 stalks of spring onion
Add the chillis, ginger and the peppercorns to the stock and simmer for a good 40 minutes. 10 minutes before serving, add the salt and the tofu, cut into chunks. Finally, add the fish to the broth and take off the heat. Leave to stand for 10 - 15 minutes, garnish with the spring onion and serve. Instruct your guests to fish out the tofu and the coley, spooning minimal broth on lots of steamed white rice as you go.
Other dishes we made are detailed here.