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Instant-boiled mutton, also known as Mongolian Fire Pot or dip-boil mutton, is a Chinese hot pot dish. Traditionally, Chinese people have eaten it inside the home during cold winter weather, but in recent times, instant-boiled mutton has been eaten year-round. It is also eaten in restaurants.
The dish often uses mutton from the back, rear legs, or tail of the lamb.
Instant-boiled mutton dates back to the Yuan Dynasty. At one point during a battle, the Khagan of the Mongol Empire, Kublai Khan, had a sudden craving for stewed mutton. However, the enemy's troops were approaching. To satisfy Kublai Khan's desire, a chef quickly cut off a dozen thin mutton slices and put them in boiling water. He removed them as soon as the lamb changed color and put them into a bowl with salt. Kublai Khan finished the mutton quickly and returned to the battle, which he won. At the victory banquet, Kublai Khan requested that the chef make this lamb dish again and named it instant-boiled mutton.
Cooking and eating method
When instant-boiled mutton is eaten in China, a hot-pot of boiling water is placed in the middle of the table. Tofu, Chinese cabbage, bean sprouts, and vermicelli are normally included in the hot-pot. Lamb is pre-sliced paper-thin into unbroken pieces and served on the table. Eaters pick up some pre-sliced raw lamb using chopsticks, put it in the boiling hot-pot, and remove it as soon as the lamb changes color. Each person has a small bowl to hold sauce for the cooked lamb; the sauce is normally a mixture of sesame sauce, chili oil, leeks, and more.
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In Chinese tradition, consuming lamb during the winter is used to increase body heat and protect against the cold. Eating lamb can also increase digestive enzyme activity and maintain good gastrointestinal system health, including protecting the gastric wall, repairing gastric mucosa and improving digestion by the spleen and stomach. It also plays a role in reducing the effects of aging.
Lamb is an excellent source of zinc, which plays a part in tissue growth and repair and the maintenance of the immune system. It is also a good source of iron, which has a role in the formation of red blood cells. Lamb contains several B vitamins, such as B12, a vitamin involved in the body’s metabolic reactions.
- Zhongli, Tumei. (2007). Food in China. Beijing: China Intercontinental Press. ISBN 9787508510903.