Hot Pot


Hot Pot

Hot Pot

With its centerpiece being a simmering pot of flavorful broth and platters of meats, seafood, and vegetables, the Chinese-style hot pot offers a delightful and interactive dining adventure designed for enjoyment with companions.
This culinary tradition likely originated during the Song dynasty (960-1279), when communal copper pot cooking gained favor among the elite. In contemporary times, a sizable metal pot— or a dual-sided option for those craving spicy and mild broths— rests atop a portable burner, enabling tableside cooking and enhancing the communal dining experience.
Customers select their preferred ingredients, immersing them into the simmering broth before dipping them into accompanying sauces.
When it comes to ingredients, the more the merrier: The quantities listed below are merely suggestions, so feel free to mix and match until you achieve a satisfying variety. Consider doubling up on tofu or bean curd for a vegetarian hot pot and incorporating many vegetables. The soup base and ingredients vary by region: Sichuan-style hot pot, known for its intensely spicy red broth with Sichuan peppercorns, contrasts with the seafood-rich Cantonese version and the mutton-based Beijing-style. (Here’s a comprehensive guide to making hot pot at home.)
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8


For the Meat (choose 1 to 2, About 1 Pound Total)

  • Thinly sliced chuck rib-eye, or Wagyu beef; pork belly; or lamb, ensure thawing if previously frozen (refer to Tip 1)
  • Frozen pork or beef balls

For the Seafood (choose 1 or 2, About 1 Pound Total)

  • Frozen shrimp lobster, or fish balls
  • Frozen fish cakes or fish tofu
  • Fresh white fish, such as bass or halibut, thinly sliced
  • Squid cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Shellfish such as prawns, shrimp, scallops, or clams

For the Tofu or Bean Curd (choose 1 to 2, About 1 Pound Total)

  • Firm tofu cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Fried tofu skin rolls
  • Dried bean curd
  • Dried bean curd threads soaked in warm water according to package instructions, then cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Bean curd sheets soaked according to package instructions if dried

For the Vegetables (choose 3 to 4, About 2 Pounds Total)

  • Napa cabbage cored and sliced into 1-inch pieces (thicker stems separated from thinner leaves)
  • Dark and leafy greens such as baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise; chrysanthemum greens, sliced into 1-inch pieces; choy sum, watercress, or spinach
  • Mushrooms such as shiitake, enoki, bunashimeji (beech), wood ear, or oyster; remove stems and roots if necessary, and reconstitute if dried
  • Lotus root sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • Canned baby corn ears drained
  • Russet Yukon gold, or sweet potato, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
  • Taro root sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds, soaked in water for 5 minutes
  • Daikon radish chopped into 1-inch pieces

For the Starch (choose 1 to 2, About 1 Pound Total)

  • Vermicelli rice or mung bean noodles or glass noodles rehydrated as per package instructions
  • Frozen dumplings any type
  • Thin oval rice cakes

For the Broth

  • 2 8-ounce packages of hot pot soup bases (if using a double-sided pot, use 1 [8-ounce] package on each side)

For the Dipping Sauces and for Topping

  • Sesame sauce or oil
  • Sha cha Chinese barbecue sauce
  • Black vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Chile oil or crisps
  • Toasted white sesame seeds
  • Chopped cilantro or scallions
  • Fried or freshly chopped garlic
  • White pepper


  • Prepare the table:
    ● The meats, seafood, tofu, bean curds, and vegetables are arranged on platters, grouping similar items.
    ● Transfer rehydrated noodles to a serving bowl and place other starches on separate serving dishes.
    ● Provide at least two small bowls per person for dipping sauces, ensuring chopsticks are readily available, along with several small mesh strainers for the meats, seafood, and tofu.
  • Position a large, broad pot atop a portable stove at the center of the table and prepare the soup base following the instructions on the package. Cover and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Work in batches and add ingredients that require a longer cooking time, such as beef or pork balls, thick-stemmed greens, mushrooms, potatoes, lotus roots, and rice cakes. (At this stage, sliced meat is not added.) Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender yet not falling apart, approximately 10 minutes. Add tofu, fish balls, and vegetables that cook more quickly halfway through the process. Meanwhile, encourage diners to prepare their dipping sauce.
  • Uncover the pot and allow each person to cook their meat pieces by using the mesh strainers or a fresh set of chopsticks to dip the meat and seafood into the broth until they are fully cooked, typically taking 30 seconds to 1 minute. (Ensure the broth maintains a steady boil during cooking.) Once cooked, dip the ingredients into the preferred sauce and enjoy. Next, add any remaining vegetables to the broth for cooking. Subsequently, add the noodles and cook until they are warmed, approximately 1 minute.


Tip 1: For hot pot, you can either buy pre-sliced meat from Asian markets or request the butcher to slice it thinly for you. If you cut it yourself, place the meat in a resealable plastic bag and freeze it for up to 2 hours. Once frozen, please remove it from the freezer, and using a sharp knife, slice the meat thinly against the grain (approximately ⅛-inch thick). If the meat starts to shred, return it to the freezer until it firms up for cleaner slicing.
Tip 2: Dipping sauce preferences vary from person to person, but here are three classic combinations to help you get started:
  • Mix sesame sauce, soy sauce, black vinegar or sha cha. Adjust the flavor with a chile or sesame oil drizzle according to your preference. Finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, or chopped garlic.
  • Blend sesame sauce or black vinegar with a splash of soy sauce.
  • Combine equal parts sesame and sha cha sauce, then add sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, or chopped garlic for extra flavor.