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Hot Pot at Home Essential Guide

How to have a tasty, healthy and easy Hot Pot at home?

by Shirley
Hot Pot At Home Essential Guide

Hot Pot is a traditional Chinese way of cooking food in a broth and then serving directly from the pot at the table. It is especially popular during holidays and for parties. If you are new to Hot Pot, and wondering how to make an easy, tasty, and healthy Hot Pot at home. Wonder no more, you will learn everything you need to know about having a yummy, healthy, and simple Hot Pot at home

Hot Pot At Home Essential Guide

Hot Pot Fun Facts

What is Hot Pot?

Hot Pot, or Huo Guo {火锅) in Chinese, which literally translates as Fire Pot, is an ancient way of cooking to serve at the table. Traditionally, the pot is made from brass and uses charcoal for cooking. Over time, electric stainless steel pots become the mainstream pot.

Do I need to buy a broth package for Hot Pot?

The short answer is you don’t. Store-bought broth packages usually contain artificial flavors and colors, some ingredients are even harmful to our bodies. With all the delicious meat, seafood, and vegetables you are going to cook in the pot, the soup base becomes naturally delicious in no time. This is especially true when you have a homemade yummy dipping sauce.

Hot Pot

For clean eating, all you need is to add boiling water into the hot pot, along with chopped green onion, sliced gingers, a little bit of Sichuan chili powder, and a couple of dried chili peppers. Add chili powder and dried chili peppers to your taste or spicy level.

What are the major Hot Pot {Huo Guo 火锅} Styles in China?

There are mainly three styles of Hot Pot in China, namely Sichuan Style, Beijing Style, and Cantonese Style.

Sichuan Style uses lots of oil/fat combinations and chili peppers as the broth base.

Beijing Style Hot Pot uses clear water as a broth base, and lamb is the most important food item. People in Beijing sometimes refer to Hot Pot as “Shuan Yang Rou {涮羊肉}”, which literally translates as “rinse the lamb” or shabu-shabu lamb. Sesame butter dipping sauce is an iconic Beijing-Style Hot Pot dipping sauce, which becomes my favorite.

Seafood is a popular food item for a Cantonese Style Hot Pot.

How to prepare an easy, tasty and healthy Hot Pot at Home?

First thing first is to have the healthy cooking ware

My favorite at-home Hot Pot set nowadays is an 18-10 stainless steel pot to pair with an induction cooktop burner. The quality stainless steel is much healthier cooking ware which also ensures efficient and evenly distributed heating.

Bamboo or wooden chopsticks and stainless steel strainer minis are handy utensils for Hot Pot.

The Second is to prepare a easy, yummy and healthy Hot Pot Sauce

Beijing-Style Sesame Butter Dipping Sauce made of simple whole ingredients is so flavorful and yummy. It takes less than 5 minutes to make and goes well with almost everything. Read here for a detailed guided recipe.

Sesame Butter Hotpot Dipping Sauce {Beijing Style}
Beijing-Style Sesame Butter Dipping Sauce for Hot Pot

The third is to have a balanced varieties of meat, seafood and vegetables for Hot Pot

A variety of meat, seafood, tofu, glass noodles, potatoes, daikon radish, and leafy vegetables make a balanced, tasty and nutritious Hot pot.

What kind of Meat and Seafood are good for Hot Pot?

For meat, lamb and fatty beef are the most suitable and tasty ones

Keep in mind that not all meat would be tasty for Hot Pot. For instance, chicken or pork is almost never used for hot pot.

Fatty Beef is also known as Shabu Shabu Beef in Japanese or Fei Niu {肥牛} in Chinese. Fei Niu Soup with Stringy Mushroom {肥牛金针菇汤} is a quick, easy, and tasty soup popular in China.

Beef Tripe, ham, fish fillet, and shrimp are also among the most popular and tasty food choices

Beef tripe is from the muscles wall of the beef stomach. Cut beef tripe into thin strips is best for Hot Pot.

Lean ham is one of my favorite Hot Pot food. By the way, Polish Ham works great. Slice them into relatively thin slices, but not as thin as you would use for sandwiches, and then cut into bite-size squares.

For fish, as you guessed, only certain types of fish that have tender delicious meat are suitable for Hot Pot. My favorite one is Basa Fish Fillet. They are commonly available and delicious for shabu shabu. Slice the basa fillet at an angle so that you have a consistently thin slice of bite-size squares. They are great for Sauteed Fish too.

What types of vegetables are good for Hot Pot {Shabu-Shabu}?

Tofu is extremely popular for Hot Pot, and can be in different forms

For instance, firm tofu is great. Frozen firm tofu is even better as it has formed structures like honeycomb during the freezing process. This gives the frozen tofu a satisfying bite texture and also makes it easier to absorb flavor.

Tofu skin {Fu Zhu 腐竹} is another well-liked one. Soak Tofu skin in plenty of water well in advance. Halfway through the soaking, cut into bite-size thin strips using a pair of kitchen scissors and continue to soak. Tofu skin also makes healthy and delicious Stir Fry.

Glass Noodle, Bean Thread Noodle, Potato and Daikon Radish is great for Hot Pot

Glass noodles, made from sweet potato starch and bean thread noodle, usually made from mung beans are excellent shabu-shabu food. Bean Thread Noodle is commonly known as Fensi {粉丝} in Chinese. Soak them in plenty of cold water well in advance so that they can get properly rehydrated and softened.

Ma Yi Shang Shu {Ants Climbing Up a Tree 蚂蚁上树} is a classic Sichuan-style glass noodle stir fry. Egg Dumpling FeiSi Soup with Spinach {蛋饺粉丝菠菜汤} is a traditional Huai Yang Style food.

Potatoes, Daikon Radish and Shiitake Mushrooms are wonderful for Shabu-Shabu

Peel potato and daikon radish and then cut them into medium-thin slices.

Last but not least is leafy vegetable

Green leafy vegetables such as Tong Hao and bok choy work great for Hot Pot. Soybean sprouts, mung bean sprouts, napa cabbage are also popular ones.

Tong Hao {Crown Daisy} is especially favored for the Beijing-Style Hot Pot. You can also make a quick, easy Tong Hao Soup.

Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage with Vinegar Sauce {Cu Liu Bai Cai 醋溜白菜} is a popular northern China dish, appetizingly tasty.

What are steps to take for a safe and healthy Hot Pot?

Here is a list of tips for to-do:

  • Use a designated pair of chop sticks for raw meat and seafood, different from serving chopsticks or your personal chopsticks.
  • Wait for the broth to reach a boil before adding meat or seafood.
  • Cook a small amount of food at a time. Use the designated pair of chopsticks to separate meat and fold into the broth to cook them evenly.
  • Wait for the broth to reach a boil again before removing the food from the Hot Pot to eat. Use a designated serving chopsticks or stainless steel strainer minis to fetch the cooked food.
Hot Pot At Home Essential Guide

How To Have a Tasty, Healthy and Easy Hot Pot at Home?

Yield: Hot Pot
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Hot Pot is a traditional Chinese way of cooking food in a broth and then serving directly from the pot at the table. You will learn everything you need to know about having a yummy, healthy, and simple Hot Pot at home.

Materials

For Hot Pot Broth Base:

  • Boiling water
  • 2 stems of green onion, chopped
  • 10 g ginger, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Sichuan chili pepper powder, or to the taste
  • 3 dried chili pepper

For Hot Pot Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 cup sesame butter, Chinese sesame paste or Tahini unsalted
  • 1 cup water, previously boiled room temperature water preferred
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 pc rose tofu curb
  • 1/2 tsp salt, Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 stems of cilantro, chopped

Meat Choices for Hot Pot:

  • Fatty Beef Slices
  • Lamb Slices
  • Polish Ham, sliced and cut into bite-size squares
  • Beef Tripe, cut into narrow strips
  • Basa Fillet, angle-sliced into thin bite-size slices
  • Shrimp shelled and deveined

Vegetable Choices for Hot Pot:

  • Firm Tofu
  • Frozen Firm Tofu
  • Tofu Skin
  • Glass Noodle
  • Mung Bean Thread Noodle
  • Potato
  • Daikon Radish
  • Dried Shiitake Mushroom
  • Tong Hao
  • Bok Choy
  • Soybean Sprouts
  • Mung Bean Sprouts
  • Napa Cabbage

Tools

  • 18-10 Stainless Steel Pot
  • Induction Cooktop Burner
  • Stainless Steel strainer minis
  • Wooden chopsticks
  • Chef's Knife
  • Wood Cutting Board
  • Mixing Bowl for soaking dried shiitake, tofu skin

Instructions

Make the Hot Pot Dipping Sauce:

Prepare vegetables:

  • For tofu skin, dried shiitake, glass noodle, or mung bean thread noodle, soak them in plenty of time well in advance. This way they get fully hydrated and become soft.
    Tofu Skin {Rehydrated}
    re-hydrated dried shiitake vs. dried shiitake
    rehydrated vs. dried purple sweet potato glass noodle
    FenSi Mung Bean Thread Noodles
  • Peel and cut potato or daikon radish into medium-thin slices.

Prepare Meat & Seafood:

  • For Basa fish fillet, cut at an angle and then slice into consistent thin bite-size slices. See here for a detailed tutorial.
    Basa Fillet For Hot Pot
  • For shrimp, deshell and devein the shrimp. See here for a step-by-step tutorial.
    devine the shrimp
  • For Beef Tripe, wash/rinse well and cut into thin strips.
    Beef Tripe For Hot Pot
  • For Polish ham, slice into medium-thin and then cut into bite-size squares.
    Polish Ham for Hot Pot
  • For lamb or fatty beef, usually, you buy the shabu-shabu beef or lamb directly from the store. Place them on a plate.
    Fatty Beef {Fei Niu} for Hot Pot
    Lamb for Hot Pot

Prepare the Pot:

  • Add boiling water into the pot along with the chopped green onion, ginger slices, chili powder, and dried chili peppers.
    Hot Pot
  • Cook and reach a boil again and then start to add meat, seafood, and vegetables into the pot. Use a designated pair of chopsticks for this purpose.

Serve Hot Pot Food:

  • Add 2 tbsp Hot Pot Dipping Sauce into the individual bowl.
  • Once the pot reaches a boil, remove the food using a stainless steel strainer mini or another pair of chopsticks.
  • Mix the food with the sauce and enjoy!

Notes

  • Use a mini food processor to mince garlic.
  • Use a designated pair of chopsticks for raw meat and seafood, different from serving chopsticks or your personal chopsticks.
  • Wait for the broth to reach a boil before adding meat or seafood.
  • Cook a small amount of food at a time. Use the designated pair of chopsticks to separate meat and fold them into the broth to cook them evenly.
  • Wait for the broth to reach a boil again before removing the food from the Hot Pot to eat. Use designated serving chopsticks or stainless steel strainer minis to fetch the cooked food.

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