3 restaurant-worthy dipping sauces to make for your festive hot pot meal

If you are planning a hotpot meal, spice it up by making your own restaurant-worthy dips. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

SINGAPORE - Prepping a feast at home to celebrate chap goh mei, the 15th and last day of Chinese New Year, on Feb 15?

If you are planning a hotpot meal, spice it up by making your own restaurant-worthy dips. This also means you have full control over the level of spiciness and saltiness.

For the Spicy Savoury Dip, I add sha cha jiang, also known as Chinese barbecue sauce. Look for the Taiwan-made Bull Head brand. I bought mine from sauce manufacturer Kwong Cheong Thye in Lorong 27 Geylang. It is also available online from Yue Hwa Chinese Products at $7 for a 250g bottle.

The sauce is made with soya bean oil, dried fish, garlic, ginger, shallots, sesame, coconut powder, dried shrimp, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Keep what's left over 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. It is an adaptation of the popular Thai nam jim dipping sauce that is traditionally used for seafood and is easier to prepare.

Use a blender to mix the ingredients or chop them up and toss 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.

Chilli cowards can make the non-spicy Sesame Dip, which also goes well with fiery mala hotpot.

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 paste with some of the oil that comes in the bottle, so it becomes less viscous and easier to mix with the other ingredients.

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Spicy Savoury Dip

Keep what's left over of this Spicy Savoury Dip for stir-fries or as seasoning for noodles. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO
Ingredients for the Spicy Savoury Dip. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

Ingredients

• 2 Tbs sesame paste

• 2 Tbs sha cha jiang

• 1 tsp fermented chilli beancurd

• 1 tsp dried chilli flakes

• 1/2 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 Tbs crushed peanuts

• 3g fresh coriander, coarsely chopped

• 1 stalk of spring onion (3g), sliced

• 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

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 the toasted sesame seeds.

Makes two servings


Spicy seafood dip

The Spicy Seafood Dip is an adaptation of the popular Thai nam jim dipping sauce that is traditionally used for seafood and is easier to prepare. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO
Ingredients for the Spicy Seafood Dip. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

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, red and green chilli padi, garlic and coriander. Mix well.

3. Garnish with crushed peanuts.

Makes two servings


Sesame dip

The non-spicy Sesame Dip goes well with fiery mala hotpot. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO
Ingredients for the non-spicy Sesame Dip. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

Ingredients

• 3 Tbs sesame paste

• 2 Tbs water

• 1 Tbs white rice wine vinegar

• 3 Tbs light soya sauce

• 1 tsp grated ginger (10g)

• 1 Tbs minced garlic (2 cloves)

• 1/8 tsp salt

• 3 Tbs sesame oil

• 1 stalk of fresh coriander (3g), chopped

• 1 stalk of spring onion (3g), sliced

• 1/2 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 the sesame seeds.

Makes two servings

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