I had a Chinese hot pot at home for the first time at my friend Christine’s house and it was so delicious and so much fun. Ever since then, my kids will as me to make one at our house because they really liked it. The simmering broth sits on the table, and each person selects what they’d like to cook in it from a big selection of ingredients.
You can get these really cool electric hot pots to go right on your table, which I want but don’t have. We have a small electric portable stove that I use instead, but it isn’t nearly as cool.
The great thing about a hot pot is that you can completely customize it to what you like, what you feel like eating, and each person chooses what they want. Each time you make one, it can be completely different.
A hot pot starts with a soup base. You can make your own, or there are tons you can buy on amazon if you search for hot pot base. I used this Sichuan hot pot base for today.
To this soup base you can add any different kind of thinly sliced meat (it cooks in the broth, so only thin sliced works here), vegetables, tofu, and noodles. I used thinly sliced steak, tofu, bok choy, shitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, zha cai (pickled mustard stems), fish cake and Korean rice cakes for ours today.
There is also dipping sauce involved, which can be one of many many variations. The one I used today I made from soy sauce, sesame oil, sacha sauce (Chinese bbq sauce), Chinese black vinegar (link in my post on the BEST sweet and sour chicken), and crispy chili oil.
Some other ideas for add ins for your hot pot – napa cabbage, spinach, mung bean sprouts, thin sliced potato, any kind of mushrooms, any thin sliced beef or pork, shrimp, fish cakes, tofu, any kind of noodles, frozen dumplings if they are small or thin ones that can cook in the broth. This is a fun dinner for your family or a group of friends. Hope you enjoy.
Chinese Hot Pot
- 1 hot pot or portable electric burner
For the hot pot:
- baby bok choy washed
- Zha cai optional
- 1 can bamboo shoots or bamboo shoots in chili oil
- 1 package shitake mushrooms
- 1 lb thinly sliced beef
- 1 package firm tofu
- 2 handfuls korean rice cakes
- 1 package soup base
For dipping sauce:
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp chinese black vinegar
- sacha to taste
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- chopped scallions
- chili oil to taste
- Follow the directions to prepare the soup using the instructions on the soup base package. Place in your hot pot or in a pot on your portable burner.
- Allow to boil gently. Obviously be careful around this liquid, especially with kids as burns are possible.
- Place all the ingredients around the broth and give each person a bowl and some chopsticks.
- Place ingredients a few at time into the broth to cook. Each person can add their own. Make sure the pot boils for 1 minute after adding raw meat or seafood to ensure food safety. Cook ingredients until ready to eat and then fish them out along with some broth.
- Serve dipping sauce on the side. You can either mix the sauce ahead of time, or allow everyone to mix their own preferred dipping sauce at the table.