Depends on what you use
About this Recipe
Ever had a Chinese Hot Pot at home? Maybe you know it under the name Fire Pot (Huo Guo) or Chinese Fondue? If not you don’t know what you’ve been missing. I am positively addicted to it and by now it just belongs to a perfect winter for me, the same way Hot Chocolat does.
Chinese Hot Pot is, easily explained, like Fondue, just with soup and a lot more Veggies and Meat ( or Tofu if you rather go vegeterian). You prep all the ingredients, heat up the soup and call your friends over to have Dinner. It is fun, warms you up and is (relatively) healthy. In the end everyone sits around the pot and eats together.
- Soup Base
- Leafy Greens ( Salats, Pak Choi, Water Spinach, Spinach, Cabbage)
- Meat ( Chicken, Beef, Pork, Mutton)
- Tofu ( Preferably firm or pre-fried)
- Mushrooms (Shitake Mushrooms are great)
- Fishballs, Seaweed or Shrimps, if you like
- Noodles ( Ramen, Egg Noodles, Udon)
- Soja Sauce
- Sesame Oil
- Peanut Sauce (My must have – perfect Dipping Sauce from the Asian Store)
- Whatever you feel like throwing into a soup ( f.e. Sprouts, Carrots, Eggs, Corn, ect.)
Soup Base: You can get these in any Chinese Store, I recommend the brands : Haidilao, Little Sheep, Laoganma and Sanwu Chongqing. So far I have not gone wrong with them. You can choose from Mushroom flavor, Chili, Sichuan, Mild. So I am sure you will find one you like. If you want to make one yourself, I can highly recommend this page, they got some great Hot Pot Base Recipes.
Meats: Best choose fatty bits and pieces, they give the most flavor. To slice it thinly, freeze it first. If it is fresh, usually 2 hours in the freezer should do. After that its much easier to slice. The aim is to go as thin as possible. You can usually buy Pre-Sliced Meat in many Asian Stores if you want to make your life easier.
Noodles: Whichever one you choose, they should be fast cooking
Peanut Sauce : This is not Peanutbutter, it is a Chinese Style Dipping Sauce, but if you can’t find it, any Asian Peanut Sauce will be ok. It is often mixed with Soysauce and other spices and is an absolute must have for me when we do Hot Pot.
Step by Step Instructions
What you should have before we start
Before we start cooking our Chinese Hot Pot at home, you need to have a Hot Pot. You can often buy these in Asian Stores. If you don’t want to you can use a normal Pot with a Lid and maybe a camping cooker, candles or fuel paste to keep the soup boiling. Because it’s essential that the soup is constantly simmering.
Ps. This is a lot more fun if you use chopsticks to fish the ingredients out of the soup bowl.
First rinse and clean the leafy vegetables. Pat try and leave the leaves whole. Do not cut them into small pieces. They will crumble together when tossed into the soup anyway. Just cut the big leaves in half, if you feel it is necessary. Set them aside into a bowl or arrange them on a plate.
Slice the mushrooms into bitesized portions, if you got the dried kind, best soak them overnight before you use them. Cut the Tofu if it’s needed. The fried Tofu often already comes in cubes. Cut any other vegetable you have into bitesized portions. Golden rule, they should fit into your mouth.
The only exeptions are the potatoes. You need to slice these thinly, maybe 2-4mm big. The thicker they are the longer they will need, but also the less likely they will break into pieces. Again arrage everything next to each other on a plate or bowl.
Cut the ginger, garlic, chillies and coriander finely and arrange them all next to each other on a plate. These will be used for your dipping sauce. Put them next to the Soja Sauce, Vinegar, Peanut Sauce and Sesame Oil on the table. Maybe if you have the space you can make a little sauce station.
Boil your soup base in a pot on the oven according to the instructions.
While the Soup is being cooked, slice the meat thinly, get the fishy ingredients out of the fridge and arrange everything on plates or bowls.
Now you pour the soup into the Hot Pot and lighten the heat source ( whichever one you’ve choosen). I like to use Fuel Paste. Call everyone to sit around the Hot Pot. Everyone should have a small bowl in front of them, into which they now can mix their individual dipping sauce. Everything goes. I love garlic, peanut sauce, chilli and coriander, with a dash of vinegar.
Next up toss whatever you want to eat into the Hot Pot. Be careful don’t put in to much, otherwise it won’t cook properly. If you put too much stuff inside, just put the lid on and wait for the Soup to simmer again.
The thin meat will usually be cooked in seconds. Potatoes need a long time, so we usually drop them in at the beginning and let them cook for 10-15 min. The greens cook quickly too. And the cool thing is, the longer the Hot Pot cooks, the more flavor it gets from all the ingredients you toss in.
Everyone fishes for food and dips it into their sauces.
Noodles and eggs are usually for the end of the meal. They are supposed to fill you up. To cook the egg, it is easiest to use a soup laddle. Crack it and let it slide into the laddle and carefully submerge the laddle into the soup, but just so far that the egg can’t escape into the rest of the bowl. When noodles and eggs are done, fish them into your bowl, add some soup and voila. The perfect finish with yummy noodle soup and inside still silky egg.
Just remeber it’s Fondue Style, so yes you are all going to eat out of the same pot.You add the ingredients ( not everything at once, but a bit from there and a bit from here), whatever your in the mood for and then when it’s cooked you dip it into your sauce and eat it. Then you can add different things.
Mind your manners and don’t steal all the good pieces without giving others a chance.
Now you are ready to have your first Chinese Hot Pot at home. Enjoy and Bon Appetite 😉 (As you can see on the right side there are actually Self-Heating Single Hot Pots sometimes available in the stores, which I love as well. They are just not very environmental friendly)
And if you have any questions left, just drop me a comment. I’ll be happy to help.
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