Discover why an electric hot pot might just be what you need to get a great taste of China.
Hot pot is this very famous dish, people in China like to eat especially during cold weather. The main ingredient of an electric hot pot tends to be lamb sliced finely and all sorts of vegetables and delicious sauces made out of sesame paste.
One of the key particularities of hot pot is that it’s a “community” dish. All the ingredients are poured into a cooking pot, and people, using their chopsticks, take them out depending on what they want to eat. The use of electric hot pot is prevalent in China as it provides convenience and ease of use. Indeed you need to heat up that flat surface, put your cooking pot, filled with water, on top of it, wait for the water to boil, then add ingredients as you see fit.
2. History of Hot Pot
Hot pot has more than 2000 years of history in China. The way of serving the hot pot is very typical Chinese style. Family members or friends sit around a table with the hot pot at its center. The simplest way to cook the dish is with an electric hot pot where you fill it with plain water, let it boil then add your ingredients. Other more complicated ways involve making different soups with different flavors and different levels of spiciness. I had my favorite hot pot in Chengdu Sichuan. There was a variety of meat such as lamb, beef. And all of them sliced in front of us and laid on top of a mountain of ice. There were also different sauces ranging from mild to very spicy and made of sesame or peanut sauces.
3. Reasons why electric Hot pot is popular
3.1. Electric Hot pot saves a lot of cooking time
All you need to do is to wash and cut all the raw ingredients and put them on the table. Then, you cook everything on the table while you eat at the same time. Therefore, nobody needs to stay in the kitchen for a long time to cook.
3.2. Electric Hot pot is Convenient and Easy
People can make their own sauce and pick up whatever they like that’s cooking in the pot. There are almost no limitations on what you can put in the container. You also eat as you cook, which means you do not need to spend 1 or 2 hours cooking then another hour eating. Beside, since you just boil the ingredients for few seconds, the cooking time is reduced there. Of course the whole purpose is to take all your time while you enjoy your family and friends.
3.3. Good atmosphere
This is the perfect dish for family gatherings, especially during the cold seasons. Local Chinese like to have baijiu along with this meal. I would stir away from trying that drink if you can. Indeed this high degree alcohol could wash the toughest stain on a carpet.
4. What can you cook in the hot pot?
People from Beijing like to have sliced lamb hot pot during wintertime, and use charcoal to heat up the pot. Other than the sliced lamb, Chinese cabbage, tofu, and vermicelli form the authentic combination. It is not necessary to add any other ingredient. Of course, you can add whatever you like. We love to put sweet potatoes, potatoes and sometimes yam.
In many other places in China, having hot pot literally means “anything goes.” You can add anything you want like sliced lamb, chicken, pork, beef, prawn, crab, fish, meatballs, fish balls, frog, intestine, soft tofu, hard tofu, frozen tofu.
4.1. Popular vegetables for hot pot
Vegetables popular for hot pot include Chinese cabbage, radish, potato, sweet potato, spinach, bok choy, tender pea shoots, watercress, lettuce etc.
5. Where to find great hot pot restaurants near you?
If you live in London, a famous hot pot restaurant is “Hai Di Lao” which opened its branch a few years ago. There you can taste and feel the authentic Chinese hot pot. The service is excellent, and they even provide some food entertainment. For example, the waiter will show you how to make hand-stretch noodles if you order them, as usually people eat noodles at the end of the hot pot meal.
6. Ingredients for 4 using an electric hot pot:
❣️500g of lamb neck fillet
❣️100g of prawn
❣️100g of crab stick(optional)
❣️350g of small potatoes
❣️300g of sweet potatoes
❣️400g of Chinese cabbage
❣️100g of dry vermicelli(optional)
❣️100g of dry seaweed(optional)
❣️200g of dry noodle
❣️Sesame paste sauce, please see my previous video on how to make it
📌 Tool: Electric hot pot stove and a stainless steel soup pot
– Slice the lamb in 2mm thin slices
– Peel and cut the potatoes in half in length way
– Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in 2cm thick slices
– Wash and cut the Chinese cabbages into 2cm long slices
– Soak the vermicelli in water
– Pre-soak the seaweed in warm water for 40 minutes, and then boil the seaweed for 30 minutes; adding a few drops of vinegar in the boiling water helps soften the seaweed faster.
8. Cooking steps
– Turn on the electronic stove, boil a pot of water
– Boil the potatoes and sweet potatoes for 5 minutes until soft, and take out
– Boil a new pot of water, add the sliced lamb, cabbages, vermicelli and all the other ingredients in several batches,
– Take out the boiled foods and divided into 4 portions and serve on the plates for everyone, dip the boiled foods with the sesame paste sauce.