HOW TO DIY HOT POT AT HOME
It is getting cold here in Sydney, and so what better time to have hot pot than now! If you don’t know what this is, don’t you worry – I am going to show you how you can prep your own hot pot and enjoy it in the comforts of your own home.
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Kitchen Utensils Featured
You don’t need my help with the usual bowls and stuff, but you might want to get the following:
Hot pot at home without the right equipment can get dangerous. I use an electric pot specifically for hotpot to solve the issue of open flames and wobbly stove tops.
Another item you might want to get is these small wire net things to scoop your food out with ease. Again, its to prevent any accidents of slipped food splattering boiling hot soup.
You can click on the above images to get them on Amazon or check out your local Asian supermarket to see if they have any.
So, What is HotPot?
Hot pot is a food experience best shared with friends and fam. It’s where everyone comes together around a table and a central pot filled with delicious hot soup, which is used to cook a range of different ingredients; meats, vegetable, noodles, fish balls and a whole lot more.
Read on for a list of everything you’ll need for this delicious but extremely easy to prep feast.
The most important thing about hotpot is the soup base because essentially hotpot is just cooking fresh quality ingredients in a flavoured broth.
Good broth, good hotpot. Bad broth, bad hotpot.
You can make your own soup base at home if you have the time, but a nice easy cheat is to buy the soup bases available at Asian supermarkets.
I bought Haidilao’s “Broth Flavour Hot Pot Seasoning” soup base, it’s not spicy and has a nice umami flavour to it. If you want to try it out, and can’t find it at your local Asian grocers then you can check out the Amazon link below.
A good rule to follow is to choose a soup bases with stronger flavours for organ meats and red meats, while choosing a lighter one if you’re eating more seafood. It’s not a must, but soups with a strong flavour tend to overpower seafood easily.
A good sauce is essential for good hotpot. A hotpot sauce comes in many different forms. You use it to dip your cooked food in for maximum flavour.
There’s no right or wrong to hotpot dipping sauces but there are a few common ingredients most people like to use:
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Chili oil
- Chopped coriander
- Chopped spring onions
- Minced garlic
- Fried garlic
- Chili flakes
- Chopped chili paste
- Sesame sauce
- Satay sauce
You’ll find all of the above and many others at most Asian supermarkets. If you don’t have one near you then you can click on an image below to get it off Amazon.
Once you have the flavours sorted. It’s time to think about what meat you want to cook. Meat in hotpot gives the soup added flavour, which is why when you pick your soup base you should also keep in mind what type of meat you plan to eat with it.
When paired nicely, your soup will taste better the more you eat, and the stuff you eat will taste better with the soup. Nothing gets overpowered or outshone.
My go-to is fatty beef. I always get it when I have hotpot at restaurants or at home. It’s not hotpot without fatty beef slices.
Beef, pork and lamb works best when thinly sliced at the butchers. If you can’t get it at the butchers you can usually find hotpot meat in the frozen section of an Asian supermarket.
Chicken and fish work best in bite size chunks. Keep the bones in so the soup can gradually get more flavour that way!
Then we have our various meatballs. Chinese style meatballs and various processed meats for soup dishes are delicious. A good meatball, fish, beef or pork should have a bouncy bite and a strong flavour of whatever meat it is.
(I highly recommend giving fish tofu a try if you can find it near you.)
Veggies and stuff
Anyone who doesn’t like eating vegetables and doesn’t know how to cook should get their 5 a day in during hotpot.
Vegetables taste great in hotpot because it soaks up the flavours of the broth giving vegetables a meaty taste! (unless you eat your vegetables before your meat, which is why I recommend you eat your vegetables last) There’s no rules as to what type of vegetables you should have with your hotpot. However, leafy greens work best because they cook fast and soak up the soup easily. If you want to use hardy vegetables like broccoli, carrot etc, then I recommend cutting them into small pieces.
Some hardy vegetables you commonly find in hotpot is used mainly to add more flavour to the soup, such as sweetcorn on the cob and Chinese turnips. They both give a slight sweetness to the soup. Other than those, you also have mushrooms of all kinds that give a great nutty or umami flavour.
Besides vegetables, we also get tofu products and wontons. There’s a whole array of tofu products that have different textures and taste to it.
Silky tofu, fried tofu and tofu skin are common picks, but you can also find other vegetarian products such as vermicelli stuff.
Last but not least we have our carbs. You normally eat your carbs last because by then the soup base is at it’s best. You’re probably full by the time you get to carbs, but if you do have room for more…
You can use any sort of noodle you want. Egg noodles, instant noodles, udon, Shanghai wheat noodles etc, any noodle you want.
I personally like to have rice, because rice is life.
There’s no hard rules when it comes to hotpot, which I think is what makes it so popular.
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