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DIY Chinese Hot Pot at Home

For the last five or six years, we have been having Chinese hot pot at home. We used to have hot pot at restaurants then realized that for the $25+/person most restaurants charge, we could easily gather a few friends and have a really extravagant feast for a fraction of the price. And we would have lots of leftovers afterwards too.

What is Chinese hot pot?

Chinese hot pot is essentially a fondue. Raw foods are cooked in a shared pot filled with different types of broth. There are some common foods one would have at a typical hot pot meal: thinly sliced meats, leaf vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, tofu, noodles and seafood. Each person has their own bowl of cooked food and would dip the cooked food in a dipping sauce before eating. This is also a meal some families eat as part of Chinese New Year celebrations (which occurs on February 19th this year).

We usually budget about 2 to 3 hours for hosting a hot pot dinner at home; this is generally not a meal you would have on a busy weeknight.

Here are some ideas on how to host your own hot pot party.

Equipment & Utensils
  • Pot (Note: you do not need a pot if you have an electric hot pot)
The divider in the middle allows you to have two different types of broth.
  • Ladles: soup and slotted ladles
  • Communal chopsticks or tongs
Soup ladles, slotted ladles and chopsticks
  • Chopsticks, bowls and plates

Depending on the type of pot you have, you can make one or two different types of broths to use in your hot pot.
  • Meat-based broth (chicken, pork, beef)
  • Seafood-based broth
  • Spicy broth
  • Herbal broth
  • Satay* broth (aka peanut broth)

Food & Drinks
Enoki mushrooms; chop off the stems and wash thoroughly.
  • Wontons or dumplings (if frozen, no need to thaw before cooking)
  • Tofu: tofu puffs or firm tofu cut into slices
  • Noodles: udon, vermicelli
  • Seafood: shrimp, fish balls, shrimp balls, abalone, fish slices
  • Eggs (to poach in the broth at the end of the meal)
  • Alcoholic drinks (beer, sake)
  • Non-alcoholic drinks: plum drink, aloe vera, juice, pop, green tea
Plum drink; my must have for hot pot.

Soy sauce, sriracha and Bullhead Barbecue Sauce

* Satay contains peanuts. For those with peanut allergies or food allergies, please always read labels on any packaged ingredients.

1. In a large pot over high heat, bring the broth to a boil.

2. Wash, cut and plate all hot pot ingredients.

L-R Clockwise: fish balls, shrimp balls, sui choy, enoki mushrooms, deep fried tofu puffs, lamb slices

3. Mix your dipping sauce. I love mixing Bullhead BBQ Sauce, soy sauce and sriracha together.  You can also add a raw egg into this mixture if you like. (Note: consumption of raw eggs is not advisable for everyone).

Mix, taste and adjust.

4. Pour broth into the hot pot and bring the broth back to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat so it is at a gentle simmer.

4. If using a pot with a divider, you can use different types of broths. Most people like to have a plain meat or seafood based broth and the other broth to be spicy or flavored. Alternatively, you can use the same broth on both sides and designate one side for meats and the other side for seafood/vegetables/noodles/dumplings.

I prefer using chicken broth on both sides and cooking my meats separate from everything else.

5. Place ingredients in the hot pot, making sure not to overcrowd the pot.

6. Using slotted ladles, take out the food and place on each person's bowl.

7. Serve hot with dipping sauce. The broth that is used to cook the hot pot can be quite delicious; I like to save the seafood/vegetable hot pot broth along with any leftovers to make a soup the next day.

  • I like to boil my broth on the stove as it is a cheaper and quicker way of boiling the broth. Those butane gas canisters can get expensive!
  • Boil more broth than you think you need as the broth evaporates as you cook more food.
  • Use communal chopsticks and scoops. It is rude and gross to use your own chopsticks to fish out food.
  • Leftover ingredients make delicious stir fries or soups the next day. Check my recipe tomorrow for Fish Ball Soup which uses leftover hot pot ingredients.
  • For those with food allergies, you can easily avoid your allergens by using a clean pot and reading ingredients on packages. Use whole foods to avoid cross contamination. This is one reason why we also make hot pot at home for our nut allergic little man.
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