As someone who enjoys trying new cuisines, I recently attempted making Chinese hot pot at home – and was pleasantly surprised! In this article, I’ll share my journey of creating hot pot from scratch and the lessons learned along the way.
What is hot pot?
Hot pot, also known as huoguo in Chinese, is a communal meal wherein a pot of simmering broth sits at the center of the table surrounded by raw ingredients like meats, seafood, vegetables and noodles. Diners then cook these components within the broth to create an incredibly flavorful and nutritious dish.
How to make hot pot at home?
To begin, select the right broth. You can either purchase pre-made stock or make your own by simmering bones, vegetables and spices for several hours. We chose to make our own broth using chicken bones, beef bones and aromatics like ginger, scallions and star anise; while this step was somewhat time consuming it yielded a rich and flavorful broth that proved well worth all the effort!
Next, we assembled the raw ingredients. For our meal, we selected thinly sliced beef, pork and lamb as well as shrimp, fish and squid for seafood. In addition to these we included vegetables like bok choy, mushrooms and Chinese cabbage along with noodles for convenience.
One thing we learned when making hot pot at home is the importance of having a variety of ingredients. Not only does this add flavor and texture, but also ensures everyone can find something they enjoy. We also found it useful to have separate plates for each diner so they could place their cooked ingredients on.
When cooking ingredients, it’s essential to pay attention to their cooking times. Thinly sliced meats cook quickly while root vegetables require more time. We found it useful to have a timer on hand for keeping track of each ingredient’s cooking duration. Furthermore, don’t overload your hot pot with too many items at once as this could cause the broth to cool prematurely and affect cooking times accordingly.
Once all ingredients were ready, we heated up a portable hot pot on top of the table and placed the broth inside. As it began to simmer, we began cooking our ingredients by dipping them in with chopsticks or wire mesh spoons. It was such an enjoyable experience watching everything cook together while savoring its aroma.
We also created a variety of dipping sauces to go along with the hot pot. We had sesame sauce, soy sauce, peanut sauce and even homemade chili oil for those who wanted an extra kick of heat.
Making hot pot at home was an enjoyable and memorable experience. It’s the perfect way to share a communal meal with family and friends, with endless ingredients and flavors available. Furthermore, we found that making hot pot at home allowed us to experiment with new flavors and cooking techniques; although it took some effort, the end result was well worth all the effort! If you’re looking for something new in the kitchen, I highly recommend making hot pot yourself!
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