How to make Chinese Hot Pot (for one or a group)Posted: September 27, 2008
This is how I make Hot Pot for one; for those days when you just can’t wait for company to come over to eat Hot Pot.
Hot Pot is the Chinese version of fondue and is so tasty it hurts. If you were doing this for company you would follow all the same steps exactly in prepping the broth but you would then put all of the ingredients into bowls raw and let the guest throw in what they want as they want it. This requires that you have a table top cooker that people can sit around. You can either get an electric Hot Pot cook set or just use a little electric burner with the pot you are cooking the broth in. So much fun with a group of friends.
These are the ingredients that I like. James prefers more meat, like little pork and beef meatballs (not pictured) that we can get at the Chinese store. Most of the ingredients you can get anywhere. The real perk of being able to go to the Chinese market is that we can get the pre-made spicy soup sauce. But if you cannot get this, you can throw in any of you favorite seasonings. Check out the Goya Spanish spices at your grocery store for some spices and hot peppers or see what is in the international section of your grocery store. There is usually a Chinese section. We also picked up the fried tofu puffs at the Chinese market. I HATE tofu, but I really like this stuff…I can’t explain why, maybe frying everything into light hollow puffs does make it better. It would also explain my never ending love for fried dough at fairs.
Basic ingredients for Hot Pot: (anything is optional or can be added, this is the stuff you like)
- Ginger root
- Lam, Beef or Pork stew bone
- Garlic clove
- Chinese Hot Pot spice package (if there is a Chinese market near you, just ask where to find this)
- Steak sliced paper thin (ask the butcher to do this for you)
- US or Chinese Cabbage
- Onion or shallots
- Various small meatballs
- Crab meat (I use imitation crab meat, it’s cheaper and the shape works)
- Optional meats include – Bacon, Shrimp, Chicken slices, or Pork slices (just make sure you have separate chop sticks to only touch any of the uncooked meat that could have salmonella)
- Any type of mushroom
- Any type of tofu
- Thin Chinese noodles
- Sauces (can include any Chinese sauces like Soy, oyster, or any of the flavored sauces) I like a hint of sweetness in all of the spice so I like to include honey in my sauce
Remember – you can feed an army with this!
Ingredients can include ANYTHING that you like; here is what I put into the base broth before the spicy packet goes in.
- Chopped up ginger root (helps meat taste flavorful and takes away any blood flavors that sometimes linger in meat soups)
- Lime (first I grated the peel then sliced the rest up and throw it all in)
- Lam, Beef or Pork stew bone
- Couple of garlic cloves – pressed or finely chopped
Let this simmer on low heat for a while (1/2 an hour to 2 hours depending on how much time you have.) This gets the water nice and filled with the flavor of everything.
Here is where things can be done a little different depending on who will be joining you. When I have guests over I add in the spice packet here and let is all simmer together for a while longer and then I scoop everything solid out and throw that away right before putting the broth in the cooker at the table and we all put in what we want to eat as we want them. Since I was cooking for just myself here I went ahead and scooped everything out, and put the cut up cabbage and onions to cook until tender in nothing but the light broth.
Once the cabbage an onions were tender I put in half a packet of the spicy sauce as well as the beef (sliced paper thin), crab sticks (cut in half) and the tofu puffs. When I have company we also have several types of mushrooms, shallots, egg noodles and several varieties of Chinese meatballs (we buy them pre-made.) If I had others over we would each have a little bowl for our food in which we would put a little bit of the soup stock and then spice to taste. You can use any Chinese sauces. I prefer a mixture of Soy Sauce and honey in mine, others like to make it even spicier or dilute the broth with water. So, I added honey and soy sauce to my bowl before I added all of the now cooked ingredients.
This is the best comfort food on a cold day, and it is really easy to make leftovers for days. Just save any left over broth (there will be lots) and the remaining uncooked ingredients for future meals. I only used about a quarter of my ingredients this time so I should have another four meals out of this, more if I include egg noodles in future meals.
If you still want to know more about how to make this for a group just Google Hot Pot, there is a lot of information out there.
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