A healthy pot of hot soup, vegetables, and protein is everything you need for a cold night.
Winter is the perfect time to prepare hot pot, a dish originating from China. With hot pot, you cook the food by placing it into a pot of soup that is constantly simmering and then enjoy it as is or with a dipping sauce. The hot soup warms up your body and effectively fights off the shivers and chills on a cold day. Different variations of hot pot had spread throughout East Asia, and while the concept and ingredients are all mainly the same, the main differences are seen in the broth and sauce. Chinese hot pot comes in a wide variety of flavors, depending on the originating region, though the most common flavors are spicy Sichuan and Chinese herbs. Japanese hot pot is not typically spicy, and the soup is mild, often made with miso, seaweed, and/or soy milk.
There is no limit to the ingredients you choose to cook in a hot pot. Popular items often include thinly sliced meats (beef, lamb, pork), mushroom assortments, leafy greens, fish balls, egg dumplings, and tofu. While I often choose the popular ingredients, I also choose to use hot pot as an opportunity to utilize ingredients that need to be used up in my fridge. Therefore, I will use unconventional ingredients at times as well. Here is a list of food items I have used in hot pot before:
|thinly sliced meats (beef, lamb, pork)||corn||lotus root|
|oyster mushroom||straw mushroom||leafy greens|
|fish tofu||egg dumplings||soft/firm tofu|
|bean curds||noodles||rice cakes|
A hot pot soup base is often flavorful enough to season the ingredients. However, most people choose to have a dipping sauce on the side. The flavor combinations are also limitless, but I enjoy a sesame dipping paste with garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and other seasonings. Enough with the rambling, I’m sure you are getting hungry and want to get started on your hot pot!
Japanese Hot Pot
yield: 4-6 servings
total cook time: 20 min.
- 5 x 5 inch sheet konbu (dried seaweed), washed and soaked for 5 min.
- 1 tsp. dashi powder (bonito fish powder)
- 1 1/2 tbsp. mirin
- 1 tsp. soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free)
- 1 1/2 tbsp. miso paste
- 10 c. water
Hot pot additions:
- napa cabbage
- shiitake mushrooms
- thinly sliced meats
- oyster mushrooms
- soft tofu
- bean curds
Sesame dipping sauce (recipe adapted from Wandercooks):
- 6 tbsp. sesame paste or tahini
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free)
- 3 tbsp. mirin
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 4 tbsp. Kewpie mayonnaise (regular works too)
- 1 tsp. miso paste
- 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- In a large clay pot, arrange the napa cabbage leaves in a circle at the bottom of the pot. Add the hot pot additional ingredients on top of the cabbage leaves.
- In a separate large soup pot, add the broth ingredients and bring to a simmer.
- Transfer the clay pot to an electric burner on high heat on the dining table. Pour the broth into the clay pot and cover the clay pot with a lid. Once the soup comes to a boil, you can start eating foods that are cooked first. Eat the foods as they cook over the burner and enjoy them with the dipping sauce.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, use tamari instead of soy sauce
- To make the recipe vegetarian, remove dashi from the broth and do not add meat to the soup
- You do not have to use a clay pot. Any large pot will work.
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