Shabu shabu, steamboat, suki, nabe, hot pot. Different countries call it by varying names and, while the styles differ, the concept is the same: hot broth to cook bits in and burn yourself eating.
This tomato hot pot soup base recipe is based on Chinese tomato hot pots I've enjoyed and will serve 2-3 people with some broth leftover. If you wish to have more guests you can double the recipe. Or make one recipe of this broth and one of another.
Ingredients for hot pot
A good hot pot experience has three components: the base, add ins, and dipping sauce(s). In addition to the tomato hot pot soup base in this post, you can also buy ready made packets to mix with water. Many of these are vegan and there are plenty of flavour options.
Hot pot add ins
Hot pots can handle most things you throw at (or, more appropriately, in) them. I believe the easiest way to plan for hot pot ingredients is to shop from a few specific categories. Many Chinese and Korean supermarkets, especially in winter, will have a hot pot section.
I think a lot of people wonder if you can make a good vegan hot pot, and the answer is a resounding yes.
In the UK, look no further than Veggie World for your vegan faux meat and seafood hot pot needs.
- Noodles: My preference is a combination of wheat and glass noodles (soak first and snip a few times with scissors for manageability). Other options include shirataki noodles, fresh or dried (and pre-soaked) rice noodles, udon, etc...
- Vegetables: Cabbage (Napa/Chinese, green cabbages, white cabbages), morning glory, spinach, pea shoots, spinach, broccoli, pak choi, Chinese celery, lettuce, cauliflower, sliced corn cobs, pumpkin, taro, onion, etc...
- Mushrooms: wood ear, shiitake, thinly sliced king oyster (eryngii), enoki, shimeji, dried snow fungus, dried bamboo fungus, etc...
- Soya products: tofu (fresh or frozen), fresh yuba (sheets or rolls), fried yuba (sheets or rolls), dried bean curd/yuba sticks, fried tofu (aka tofu puffs), fish tofu, paper tofu (cut into noodle-like ribbons), etc...
- Mock meats: meat balls, seitan, TVP slices, bacon, duck, chicken, sausage, etc...
- Mock seafood: fish balls, crab sticks, prawns, squid slices, etc...
- Misc/other: Korean style rice cakes, dumplings, etc...
You can go one of two ways with hot pot sauces: pre make a sauce or three, or chuck a bunch of condiments on the table for people to mix their own. Options might include minced garlic, ginger, spring onion, chillies, and coriander, plus jars like fermented tofu, chunky chilli oil, and soy sauce. Toasted bits like ground peanuts and ground sesame won't go amiss. I'm probably overcompensating for a perceived shortcoming in my personal life because I do both. Here are some ideas:
- Chinese sesame paste with soy sauce, black vinegar, fresh garlic (plus some water), sesame oil, fermented red tofu, leek flower sauce. Or just do a search for Beijing style hot pot dipping sauce for a proper recipe.
- XO sauce (Kay Kay foods sells a stellar vegan version).
- Vinegar (red or black), garlic, sesame oil, spring onion.
- Chilli oil, soy sauce, fresh garlic, sugar, black vinegar.
- Thai style suki sauce (search for Thai suku sauce or nam jim suki for recipes).
- Henderson's relish, fresh minced garlic, soy sauce, fresh ginger.
- a billion more things; be creative.
Equipment for hot pot
You're going to need some sort of portable gas or electric tabletop burner and some sort of pot to cook in. You can also buy electric hot pot sets with everything built in. A few different types of hot pot cookware exist, including single broth and split broth pots, but any wide and short pot will do. A braiser/sauteuse/saute pan is ideal. Something as short as a frying pan won't work as well because the ingredients should ideal be able to submerge and float in the liquid without sitting on the bottom of the cookware.
For fishing items out of the hot pot, you'll need straining spoons, soup ladles, soup spoons, and communial chopsticks.
Each diner should have chopsticks, a soup spoon, and some small bowls (one for removing hot pot items to, and one or more for different dipping sauces).
I also like to put out a few small or one large plate just to lay utensils on.
How to eat hot pot
Be sure to have the hot pot soup boiling away before you begin to add ingredients. Be mindful some items will cook faster (e.g. leafy greens). Throw your ingredients in and let them cook.
Add some dipping sauce to a small bowl and when the bits in the broth are finished, fish them out with a straining spoon or chopsticks into another bowl (or right into the bowl with the dip if you must). Dip the cooked foods into the sauce and then proceed to burn your mouth by eating them.
If the soup base starts getting too low or too thick, you can always top it up with some water. Remember the seasonings condense as it cooks down, so you'll still have a pretty well balanced and flavoursome soup when you top up with water.
Don't forget to keep an eye on the heat. If it's simmering away at a rapid boil and you want it to slow down, turn the heat down a notch. There's an art to managing the heat, but the key point is make sure the liquid is boiling when you're cooking.
Tomato hot pot soup base
- Instant Pot
- 45 millilitres vegetable oil (3 tablespoons)
- 50 grams minced onion (½ cup)
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ tablespoon doubanjiang fermented broad bean chili paste
- 1 litre water
- 400 grams tinned tomatoes (chopped)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon MSG
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 large dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 piece cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 star anise
- 2-3 green onions sliced
- 100 grams Handful cherry or baby plum tomatoes
- Turn instant pot setting to saute (low). Add oil. When hot add onion and fry for 2-3 minutes. Then add garlic and ginger. Fry for another minute, and then add tomato paste and doubanjiang. Fry for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Add all remaining ingredients except spring onions and cherry tomatoes.
- Pop lid on instant pot and cook at high pressure (sealed) for 15 minutes.
- Should you wish for a smooth base then fish out the spices, allow the base to cool, and then blend it.
- When you’re ready to use the base, add it to your hotpot as well as the spring onions and halved cherry tomatoes. Add additional water if you'd like a thinner broth.