Hot pot is popular in many Asian countries including China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Each country’s version differs slightly but all are comforting, satisfying and healthy. It is the perfect winter dinner and the best recipe ever… because there’s no real recipe to follow. Even better, it is a dish that requires very little prep or actual cooking time.
The one catch… you’ll need a “hot pot”. I purchased an electric pot at H Mart, and it works like a charm. Another option is to use a propane camping stove and mid-sized pot.
This is the perfect meal for families—kids will have fun adding their favorite items to the pot, watching them cook, dipping them in the sauce and devouring them seconds after they’ve finished cooking.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite hot pot items but you can add whatever you like.
- Thinly sliced beef, pork, lamb, chicken
- Seafood: shrimp, slices of fish, clams
- Fish balls
- Taro (rather than eating it I prefer to let it break down and thicken the soup)
- Shitake, enoki, oyster mushrooms
- Leafy greens: snow pea shoots, napa cabbage, bok choy, tatsoi
- Noodles: Korean sweet potato noodles are my current favorite, but udon noodles also work well
Condiments: Mix and match. The perfect sauce is one that tastes good to you!
- Soy sauce
- Pon Shabu
- Sha Cha, Tuong Sate Dac Biet
- Black vinegar
- Creamy sesame sauce (look for a light brown shabu shabu sauce at your Asian grocery store)
- Chili oil (la-yu)
- Raw egg yolk
A few basic steps to get you started:
You can either use a stock, or just make a simple soup with water, hon dashi, and a little soy sauce. Bring to a boil on the kitchen stove. Once it boils, add the noodles and cook half way.
Put the hot soup base and partially cooked noodles into your tableside cooking device. Bring the soup back to a boil, and start adding items. Frozen dumplings and fish balls will take a little longer to cook, so put them in first. Add your mushrooms, vegetables, seafood and meat. Don’t dump everything in at once; rather add the ingredients into the soup in batches. This insures that nothing gets overcooked. The thinly sliced meat is best eaten within 20-30 seconds. Once something is cooked, swirl it around in your dipping sauce and enjoy.
*Hot pot lovers, did I leave out a secret ingredient or your family’s favorite add-in? I’m curious to learn about tasty variations and to try new items, so let me know.
Oh, you’ve got to have tofu and Nira (which are kind of like Chinese chives or garlic chives, but without the blossoms).
Ooo nira… that sounds great. I’ll have to add that next time around. Daniel, what kind of tofu do you suggest? I have trouble with tofu as it always breaks apart in my broth. But maybe abura-age (fried tofu) would work well. What do you typically use?