Chongqing Spices Guide For Hot Pot Beginners

Get ready for a culinary adventure with Chongqing hot pot!

To elevate your hot pot experience, a good base is key. Stir the fiery red soup base with a spoon and watch as an array of condiment scraps come to life, showcasing the rich heritage of Chinese seasonings.

It all starts with understanding the art of seasoning. Ginger, chili, peppercorns, and aniseed ingredients will provide the basic flavor for your hot pot, but if you’re looking to take it up a notch, don’t forget to add secret spices. Let’s dive in to the spices world.

Why Put Spices In Hot Pot?

First and foremost is the importance of aroma. Traditional hot pot ingredients like butter, chili, pepper, ginger, garlic, and watercress just don’t cut it when it comes to fragrance. That’s why hot pot base spices are specifically formulated to suppress odor and increase fragrance. No more bland, greasy hot pots for you!

But that’s not all. Hot pot soup base spices also have your health in mind. High temperatures during frying may kill bacteria, but moisture can still lead to oxidation and spoilage.

No one wants to eat moldy hot pot, right? Hot pot base spices contain ingredients like cloves, thyme, cardamom, and cinnamon that have strong sterilization and antiseptic properties, ensuring your hot pot stays fresh and delicious for longer.

And what about those with digestive issues? Fear not! Hot pot base contains ingredients like cardamom, amomum, Patchouli, and herbs that not only taste great but also have medicinal properties to soothe any tummy troubles.

Finally, the flavor. Spices are the key to unlocking a delicious hot pot experience. By utilizing the unique properties of each spice, you can easily create a hot pot base with a regional flavor that will tantalize your taste buds. From the spicy kick of curry to the warm and earthy taste of cumin, hot pot base spices will give you an unforgettable and endless aftertaste.

Get ready to meet the dynamic elves who bring life to the vibrant red soup base? Let’s dive in.

Spices Types

Black Pepper:

Black Pepper
  • Known as “black gold” and widely produced in India, later spreading to other parts of the world.
  • Has a strong and unique spicy taste, commonly used for cooking meat such as steak.
  • The aroma is from piperine, which is maximized when freshly ground.
  • Has a warming and nourishing effect on the spleen and kidney and can treat morning diarrhea symptoms.


  • An early spice used by humans and has a strong aroma.
  • Enhances appetite, but moderation is advised when adding to dishes.
  • Contains phenylacrylic acid, which has therapeutic effects on prostate diseases.
  • Has a hot nature and is not suitable for long-term consumption or for consumption in large quantities, especially during summer and for pregnant women.


  • Also known as benzo fennel and Arabian fennel, second largest condiment after pepper.
  • Has a unique mint and fruit-like aroma and bitter taste.
  • Used to remove fishy smell from food, particularly beef and mutton, and for adding flavor to various dishes.
  • A main raw material for preparing curry powder in India.

Sichuan pepper

Sichuan pepper
  • Has a spicy and unique flavor, widely used in Sichuan cuisine.
  • Can be used in various dishes, such as braised sauce and stewed meat, and as a salt and pepper dip.
  • Removes fishy smell and promotes saliva secretion, with invigorating, dehumidifying, and detoxifying effects.

Five Flavors Mixed Spices:

Five Flavors Mixed Spices:
  • A mixture of various spices such as anise, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and more, used in oriental spicy dishes.
  • Particularly suitable for cooking pork, beef or poultry dishes and for adding aroma to marinades.
  • Brings together the benefits of multiple raw materials, with a fragrant aroma and invigorating, reducing inflammation and improving resistance effects.

Chen pi (Tangerine Peel):

Chen pi (Tangerine Peel):
  • Forms a unique flavor when used to cook dishes.
  • Contains volatile oil with a mild stimulation effect on the gastrointestinal tract, promoting digestion and increasing appetite.
  • Used to add fragrance, flavor and remove fishy and greasy tastes.
  • Often used in dishes such as stewed vegetables and marinade, and for tangerine peel mutton and tangerine peel whole duck.


  • A traditional Mediterranean cuisine spice with a strong fragrance, commonly used for meat dishes.
  • Can be used in marinades and a famous herb salad dressing made with olive oil, vinegar, black pepper, and salt.

Star Anise

Star Anise
  • An exotic and ancient spice, only found in its native habitat.
  • Has a spicy and strong taste, suitable for stewing in soy sauce and making sauced beef and tea eggs.
  • Has a warming effect on yang and can treat cold, nausea, colic, pain, kidney deficiency, and other diseases.
  • Note: wild species of star anise are highly poisonous, only cultivated star anise should be consumed.

Sweet Basil:

Sweet Basil:
  • Originating from Egypt and has a strong, pleasant and slightly sweet aroma.
  • Used in various dishes, particularly for Italian cuisine such as pasta sauces and pesto.
  • Has a refreshing and calming effect, and is believed to have therapeutic effects on the digestive and respiratory systems.

White Pepper

White Pepper
  • Pungent and aromatic taste
  • Often used as a seasoning for meat dishes
  • Higher medicinal value compared to black pepper
  • Disperses cold and invigorates the stomach
  • Promotes sweating, opens appetite, and has antisepsis properties

Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves
  • From the laurel tree (originating from Mediterranean)
  • Used in Chinese cooking and adds a refreshing touch to hot pots
  • Strong special flavor with floral and woody aromas
  • Only one is enough, otherwise it will be too strong and bitter

Fructus Tsaoko

Fructus Tsaoko
  • One of the few complete fruits used in hot pot base
  • Oval-shaped fruit with a size similar to red dates
  • Often discarded accidentally due to its floatation on the surface
  • A pity to waste as it adds flavor to the dishes.

These common spices are the secret ingredients you need to elevate your hot pot meal to the next level! With the right spices, you can transform your hot pot from just okay to oh-my-god delicious. Trust us, a little goes a long way.

Each spice has its own unique flavor profile and role in the hot pot base, so why not get creative and experiment with different combinations?

Go ahead, give your hot pot some love and soul with these amazing spices!

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