A bowl of Homemade soup It will warm you up on a cold evening, but if you’re looking for a comforting meal that can feed an entire group – and bring everyone together – the hot pot recipe is hard to beat.
Are you ready to try your own hot pot?
We’ve detailed everything you need to know about making this versatile and shareable dish.
What is a hotbot?
Hot Pot is a shared dining experience that includes a metal bowl full of boiling broth in the middle of the table, surrounded by a variety of raw meats, seafood and vegetables waiting to be submerged and cooked.
Hot pot originated in China and is popular throughout Asia.
It’s a versatile meal full of possibilities – there’s no set hot pot recipe, and the main ingredients can vary widely between regions.
You can put whatever you want in your hot pot and make it as hygienic as you like.
The most important component of a hot pot is the social experience. Sometimes compared to an Asian version of fondue, the hot pot is supposed to be shared with a group of friends or family instead of being eaten alone.
The History of the Hot Pot
Hot pot has been around for over 1,000 years. The split vessels used for making hot pots are believed to date back to the Three Kingdoms era (220 to 280 AD).
There are many different regional versions of hot pots, using different types of broths and meats.
For example, Sichuan hot pots are very popular and use spicy ingredients, while Cantonese hot pots use lots of fresh seafood.
What tools do you need for a hot pot?
Before you head to the grocery store to stock up on ingredients, make sure you have the right tools to assemble the hot pot.
The most important tool is the table stove so you can boil the broth and cook your food on the table. You can easily find a gas or electric stove online.
Here are some other tools you will need:
- Container: Look for a stainless steel divider, which is the traditional bowl used in a hot pot.
- Chopsticks: Everyone should have at least two pairs of chopsticks – one pair that can be used to transfer raw food into the broth, and one that can be used to eat.
- Strainers with Handles: Small colander spoons are essential for removing cooked food without taking all of the broth with you!
- Additional gas refills (if using a gas stove): Hot pots aren’t meant to be fast, which means the stove may run out of gas at least once during the evening. Keep extra packaging on hand so you can start things over again.
- Bowls and plates: Small, shallow bowls and plates are a must, along with spoons for anyone who has trouble eating with chopsticks.
6 essential hot pot ingredients
When it comes to putting together the perfect hot pot, the more food, the better. It’s also easy to make a healthy hot pot.
“A hot pot that contains vegetables, a protein source, starchy foods (such as pasta), and other flavor enhancers (high in macronutrients and antioxidants) would be an example of a balanced meal,” says Lisa Hugh, MSHS, RD. CLT, Founder & CEO, One component grocery store.
Arguably the most important part is the broth as you will use it to cook the rest of the food.
A divided saucepan makes it easy to use two different types of broth, and many people like to offer one spicy and a mild choice.
“To make a hot pot healthier, choose a low-sodium broth,” says Sandy Yunnan Prijo, MDA, RDN. Dish on nutrition.
Common broth options include:
- Chicken broth: Low-sodium chicken broth is easy and popular.
- Tom Yam: For great flavor, try this Thai-inspired broth, made with lemon, chili, fish sauce, galangal, lemon juice, and lemon leaves.
- mushroom: Tasty mushroom broth can be a good vegan option.
- Hot: Chongqing’s famous range is filled with heat and includes Sichuan peppers, red chili peppers, preserved mustard greens, and more.
“Add more vegetables to make them healthier!” Jonah Prijo says. “This will increase your fiber intake and increase feelings of satiety with the minimum number of calories.”
You can choose any vegetables you want. Tomatoes can add a lot of flavor, and peas can give the taste a nice crunch.
But there are several great options:
- Leafy greens: Spinach, lettuce, and watercress cook quickly and easily. Hearty vegetables, like napa cabbage and Chinese cabbage, are also great and will take longer to cook.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms add a lot of flavor to your hot pot and are a good vegetarian and vegan addition. Popular varieties include shiitake, enoki, buttons, and portobello.
- Root vegetables: Carrots, daikon radish, lotus root, and kale are all great options. Make sure to cut them into small pieces as they may take a long time to cook.
Meat is a must-have hot pot (unless you’re vegetarian or vegan of course). Yunnan Prijo recommends choosing lean or protein-free cuts of meat to keep things healthy.
Thinly sliced meat – especially beef, pork, or lamb – is a basic necessity. Thin slices of paper provide better consistency and faster cooking.
Chicken is also an option, although it takes longer to cook.
Seafood is a delicious hot ingredient that adds a lot of flavor and cooks very quickly. Common options include:
- Oysters: Whole, unpeeled shrimp is quickly cooked, tastes delicious, and is usually fun in the crowd. Other options include lobster, oysters, clams, mussels, and crabs.
- fish: Thinly sliced salmon, halibut, monkfish, and bass (among others) will cook quickly and make a great source of protein.
- Fish balls or fish cakes: Fish Round Balls can be made from shrimp, lobster, and squid, and you can choose homemade balls or those that are pre-prepared that are already cooked and just need to be reheated.
The pasta should be dropped at the end when there is a lot of flavor in the broth, so the starch can pick up everything and taste as delicious as possible.
You can use any kind of pasta you like. Popular picks include udon, noodles, chow mein, and shirataki. For a gluten-free alternative, consider corn, potato, or taro.
Spice a hot pot is essential for two reasons: They make the meal more enjoyable and add a lot of flavor!
“Hot pots tend to include spices, seasonings, and ingredients that might not be eaten in a typical meal rotation,” says Hugh.
Try things like soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut sauce, herbs, chili or oil paste, tahini, eggs, and green onions.
You can add some directly to broth or use them as dips for cooked food. Just be sure to use soy sauce and oils in moderation to control sodium and fat intake.
Keep these rules in mind
When sharing a hot pot, there are some appropriate etiquette tips to keep in mind.
- Keep tabs on your food: Make sure to watch the food you put in it and remove only yours. It is not polite to take someone else’s food out of the hot pot.
- Do not transfer food from one broth to another: There is a separate broth available for a reason – some people don’t like spicy broths and just want a light broth, for example.
- Enjoy: Hot pots can be a great social experience. No matter how delicious the meal is, don’t forget to focus on the people you share it with!