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- [To prepare stock:] Bring the water to boil with the chicken, pork (if using) and crushed peppercorns. Simmer over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, then remove from heat and strain the stock. Set aside. This should produce about 1.5 to 2 litres of stock; if insufficient, top up with water.
- [To prepare aromatic dipping sauce:] In an electric blender, blend the chillies, shallots, lemongrass, and garlic until they form a smooth paste. Heat a little oil over medium heat and stir-fry the paste until fragrant. Add water, bring sauce to boil and remove from heat. Mix in the bottled chilli sauce, and sugar and salt to taste. Set aside.
- [To prepare food skewers:] Thread all the remaining ingredients onto the bamboo skewers as in preparing sticks of satay, so there will be sticks of beef, bread, eggs, mushrooms, etc. Make sure to leave a section of the skewer unthreaded to serve as handle. Set aside, covered with cling film, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- [To cook:] Bring the stock (or water) to boil and keep it simmering over a portable stove placed in the centre of the table. Arrange platefuls of skewered food around the hot pot. Cook by dipping into the simmering stock. Serve with the various dipping sauces.