The Lunar New Year season is upon us and one of the highlights of the festival has got to be the food. Hot pot or Steamboat as it is known in Singapore, is one of the more popular traditional Chinese meals during the season. It is also very delicious! Luckily for us, hot pot is a great and easy teaching tool to learn with. Hot pot is essentially a pot of hot water or stock – this part is fiddly and adults will have to keep a close eye on the little ones – that various foods are dipped into to cook, before being consumed.
We’ve found three activities that your children can help to prepare with you. Firstly, you will need a hot pot (either gas or electric, you can pick them up from bigger supermarket chains or home appliance shops). Once you have that set up, it’s time to get cooking!
Hot pot ingredients are many and varied. Make a list at home with your child and then plan a trip to the market or supermarket to pick everything up.
Some easy ones that we would suggest are:
Green leafy vegetables like bok choy are pretty and pretty delicious too
Carrots: cut into rounds
Mushrooms: get a selection of the different types and discover the difference between the long, skinny enoki mushrooms or the shorter, rounder shitake
Meatballs: mix with soy sauce and roll minced chicken into balls
Eggs: check out what happens to raw egg when you drop it into hot water
There are lots of different ingredients that you can use for hot pot. Try them out and let us know what you cooked!
Make your own dipping sauces – let the children pick and create their own sauce.
You will need:
Minced coriander (cilantro)
Lime juice (let the kids cut and squeeze the lime themselves)
Food and cooking are some of the best and most fun ways to include Montessori learning at home. Children love being involved in cooking for the family and being able to contribute in some way. They also are more receptive to eating (or trying something new) the food they have prepared.
Engage your child by giving them a part in picking the ingredients to purchase: write the shopping list together and ask them to help you find items at the shop. This is a great, fun way to have discussions about healthy food and how it nourishes them.
Once you get home, the little sous chefs can help out in the kitchen. Let them wash, prep the vegetables and lay them out on platters. Prepare a small knife to cut carrots into rounds (supervised) and have scissors on hand to cut herbs with. Make sure there are bowls and spoons ready to mix and roll the meatballs with. While you’re working on this together, have discussions about colours, smells, tastes and textures.
Once everything is ready, turn the pot on and help them to cook their own food – and yours. Enjoy! Don’t forget to clean up together afterwards!