Hot pot or also known as Chinese fondue is always my favorite no matter in hot summer or cold winter. In China, hot pot has a history over 1000 years and until now, it is still the most popular dish for social or family gathering. Elaine will introduce Hot pot from the following sides.
A brief introduction about hot pot
As I mentioned before that hot pot has more than 1000 years of history. It firstly appeared in Mongolia area and then became popular in South part of China in Tang Dynasty. And now it becomes quite popular in China and people from different areas spread their own types of hot pot out.
Then do you know where the hot pot city of China is now?
The hot pot city is Chongqing, a municipality under Sichuan area. And I believe that many people like spicy hot pot very much. Spicy hot pot is a quite unique type of Sichuan cuisine.
Firstly, the taste and flavor is succeeded from Sichuan cuisine including many seasonings used. However it is not the same with commonly Sichuan dishes. Anyway, hot pot is originated from Sichuan and quite popular in Sichuan area.
Different types of hot pot in China
Base on area
Chinese hot pot has it own flavor and design according to different area, which is also determined by different weather conditions. The most famous type is known as Chongqing hot pot, also known as Sichuan hot pot(to understand the relationship, refer to Chongqing and Sichuan). It is featured by the herbs and spices used in the soup base.
The next is the worldwide popular Mongolian hot pot in Northeast China Region. In north China, there is famous Beijing lamb hot pot (涮羊肉)also known as mutton hot pot.Following is a picture shows about eating lamb hot pot. For more about Beijing Hot Pot.
In south china such as Guangdong, people are more likely to have seafood hot pot and Hong Kong beef hot pot.
In central part of china, people like to have venison stew pot. Besides, new versions of hot pot become popular across the whole china including “Three fresh pot”(三鲜火锅) in Hangzhou and “Mixed hot pot” in Shanghai province.
Following are some other hot pot pictures not included above to enjoy, please note that the pictures are not photoed by Elaine. I search them on search engine so that I can share you more information about hot pot. I will list my pictures in specific recipe post.
This is a Fish hot pot which is quite popular in Sichuan province. The fermented vegetable used in call Sichuan Pickled Vegetable (四川泡菜).
Now, dry pot is considered as a new type of hot pot in China. For dry pot, no soup base is added at the very beginning but it can be added after the meat ingredients are eat out. Generally, shrimp, ribs, chicken, fish ribs are excellent ingredients for dry pot. Additionally, dry pot can also be made only with vegetables. I will expand this in my post–dry pot.
Additionally, Chinese hot pot is also divided into four types based on soup base and whether ingredients are cooked or not previously.
This first type is with light soup base and mainly using method of instant-boil(涮). For this type, dipping sauce play a really important role, since dipping sauce is mostly the sauce of flavors. Instant-boiled mutton hot pot and Guangdong (Hong Kong) hot pot belong to this group.
The second type is with cooked main meat ingredients such as fish or mutton. The pot is mainly used to keep the temperature and instant boil vegetables. Meat flavor certainly matters a lot and meanwhile you can enjoy the faint scent of vegetables. Famously fish hot pot, Chicken hot pot belong to this group.
The third type is with all cooked ingredients not only the meat such as chafing dish. Pot is totally used for keeping it warm. Three mixed hot pot belongs to this group.
The last type is the emphasis on the soup base and dipping sauce at the same time. Soup base of hot pot is stock boiled for a long time. Various flavors come from directly from dipping sauce and indirectly from soup base. For example, Sichuan spicy hot pot or seafood hot pot.
What are the essential parts to make hot pot at home
Since hot pot is an ideal and easy meal for social gathering. Then what are the essential parts to make hot pot at home?
Firstly, the equipment!
If you want to make hot pot at home. The basic equipment is a gas powdered or electric hot pot. Then soup and slotted ladles are also required as cutlery. For detailed list about making hot pot at home, check Equipment by Hot Pot
Then there are three essential parts for hot pot: soup bases, main ingredients and the dips.
Soup Bases –the basic soul of hot pot
Making hot pot soup base is quite important for a successful hot pot. You can surely purchase one package directly from supermarket or any online store or be brave to make one at home. Generally, there are three types of soup base in Chinese hot pot but any two are commonly used in Sichuan hot pot. (The third type not used in Sichuan hot pot is bland soup base, which is mainly used in Mongolian hot pot or Beijing hot pot).
If you decide to purchase the soup base for your hot pot, then that’s a time-consuming decision. How about we try to make one at home. The first step we should do is to make a clear broth, which will further added with other spices like chili pepper, doubangjiang and sichuan peppercorn etc. For details about how to make a soup base at home. Usually when I serve my family with hot pot, I prepare both spiced version and mild version at the same time.
Main Ingredients –choose according to your own preference
Basically, the main ingredients for hot pot are really wide and you can use any you want to have a try. And the most commonly used ingredients include the followings (those are my favorites):
Meat: Chicken, fish, duck, pork, beef, meat balls, seafood and crab
Vegetables: Chinese cabbages, Bean sprouts, green leafy vegetables, shallots
Bean curd product: Tofu, tofu skin, frozen tofu
Fungus: Black fungus, mushrooms, needle mushrooms
Dipping sauces– adjust to different tastes
There are hundreds of dipping sauces attached to Sichuan hot pot, mainly with the following seasonings and condiments.
Soy sauce, sesame oil, chili, sesame butter, pickled tofu, Sa cha sauce, vinegar, hoisin sauce, peanut butter etc. Following is the sauces I usually prepare for a large family hot pot party, trying to be appealing to everyone.
Lists and inspirations of Chinese hot pot
- Maodu hot pot（毛肚火锅）
- Double flavor Pot (Yuanyang 鸳鸯hot pot)
- Green hot pot(绿色火锅)
- Clear soup hot pot （清汤火锅）
- Duck hot pot with beer（啤酒鸭火锅）
- Chicken hot pot with sour soup （酸汤鸡火锅）
- Spicy chicken hot pot（辣子鸡火锅）
- Fish hot pot with pickled vegetable（酸菜火锅）
- Fish hot pot in sour soup （酸汤鱼火锅）
- Chrysanthemum Hot Pot（茶花火锅）
- Tofu pudding hot pot（豆花火锅）
- Beef hot pot(牛肉火锅)
- Lamb hot pot（羊肉火锅）
- Chinese dry pot (干锅)
I have collected some of most practical hot pot recipes in my cookbook. Want to make yummy and unique hot pot at home? Get it and start today.