Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DIY Hot Pot

The first time I really ever had hot pot was when I had moved to Chengdu back in 2006.  I had the pleasure of being treated out to authentic Sichuan Hot Pot.  As I looked down into yin yang looking pot, I wondered why one side was filled with boiling red oil and one side was filled with a clear type of soup.  

The tempting smell that quaffed from the boiling red oil side was more attractive and enticing for myself to try.  Low and behold, I found myself choking on my first bite because the spice was so intense.  But, the highlight of my eating experience in China was undoubtedly the hot pot. 

Hot pot is one of those meals where you can really socialize.  Everyone is cooking their own foods, there is a pace to eating, drinking and talking…it's just a wonderful time.  

In today's post, I thought I would share what we prepare for our own hot pot.


Japanese Golden Mushrooms


Lettuce (we usually get three types of lettuce, whatever we can find at the wet market)


Beef (sometimes Lamb) stripes

Jiao zi (dumplings)
Some of our hot pot foods are frozen and some are fresh.  I clean all of the vegetables and put them into their own little containers and just leave it on our table.  The frozen foods don't have to be thawed out because they'll just have the opportunity to sit longer in the hot pot soup!

In Hong Kong, we have a lot of hot pot soups to choose from.  One of the basic, inexpensive brands are the soup packets from Lee Kum Kee.  There are several options (pork based soup, seafood based soup, Sichuan spicy soup, etc).  We decided on the Satay soup base because we wanted to have some dipping sauce for our hot pot tonight.

With the soup bases, we usually fill up our hot pot (pictured below) with water, bring the water to a boil, and dunk two packets into the pot.  We then boil it and the soup is read.  It isn't much of a science, but we like the soup to be really flavorful rather than diluted, so we opt for adding two packets for about 2 liters of water than a solo packet.

Once the soup is ready, we usually add in a handful of tomatoes, pumpkin, mushrooms, and the lettuce to just simmer in the soup.  While we wait for it to cook, we break out our rice bowls and fill it with soy sauce and minced garlic (sometimes hot peppers from the market to make it spicy).

I just realized that I usually pick up the Lee Kum Kee brand!  Who knew I was that loyal of a customer!

And that's basically it.  

I thought it would be a great thing to share with you all…if you have not had hot pot before.  It basically is a big pot (we have an electric one) that we fill with soup.  Then we fill it up with vegetables and meats (and we even had these tofu puffs) and, once the food is cooked, we dip it into our dipping sauce and enjoy!

Since it is winter, it is especially a great treat to make hot pot at home.  Though I wish the photos could do it more justice, it truly is delicious!!!!!!