Pork Belly Soft-Tofu Hot Pot
1/4 cup solidified rendered beef fat or lard
2 tbsp. Korean crushed hot red pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 scallions, trimmed and minced
3 oz. pork belly, cut into 1/2" cubes
3 cups rich beef broth
1 sheet laver or nori
(dried seaweed in thin sheets), optional
1 18-oz. container silken tofu
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
1. Heat a medium stone pot or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add beef fat, crushed red pepper, garlic, and half the scallions, and cook, stirring frequently, until fat melts and garlic and scallions are fragrant, 1–3 minutes. Add pork belly, and fry, stirring frequently, until just cooked through without browning, about 3 minutes. Carefully add broth, and boil vigorously until slightly thickened, 20–30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut several wide strips from the laver, if using, and set aside. (Save remaining laver for another use.) Drain silken tofu, and add to pot (silken tofu is very soft and will break into large pieces). Bring broth back to a boil, and cook until tofu has warmed through and breaks into smaller pieces, about 10 minutes. Add remaining scallions, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in sesame oil, and garnish hot pot with reserved laver strips, if using.
3. To serve, carefully bring boiling hot pot to the table, break egg into hot pot, and allow to poach for a few minutes before eating. Serve with bowls of hot steamed rice, if you like.
SERVES 2 – 4