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Chinese Hot Pot Ingredients Checklist

When winter hits, there’s no doubt hot pot dining is the ultimate dining experience. Nothing beats the warming taste of a variety of ingredients cooked over a boiling broth straight from the dinner table. It’s also a popular way to enjoy Chinese cuisine in a social setting and the go-to menu of choice for many Chinese festivals such as Lunar New Year, where friends and family may gather to eat together. So hot pot dining is not only great because it’s super comforting for the coldest time of year but because when it comes to these celebrations, it’s a very efficient way to host dinner guests with different food preferences. 


While the process of actually preparing a hot pot is relatively easy, there are a few tips and tricks that can turn a decent hotpot menu into a great one. Things can get a little overwhelming, especially when you have a bigger party of people to feed. That’s why in this post we’re sharing a quick Chinese Hot Pot Dining Checklist, a guide to all the essentials you need to prepare your best hot pot menu. 


Steamboat, Cutlery, Cookware:

There are various cookware, tools and utensils needed for having hot pot. The first of course would be a hot pot steamboat, there’s no hot pot without this. One option is to simply put a hot pot pot over an induction cooker and create the steamboat cooking experience this way, however, an even better option would be to use an all-in-one hotpot steamboat set, complete with a divider so guests/diners can enjoy a variety of soup bases and flavours. 


Each person will also need to have their own scoops and strainer ready to handle their food. For any standard hot pot you can use a simple stainless steel scoop which does the job, but for celebrations you may want to use fancier scoops such as a gold-look brass mesh scoop instead. When it comes to cutlery, chopsticks are a classic choice. However, standard forks, knives and spoons and fine if your chopstick stick skills haven’t quite been perfected yet.



Soup Bases:

Soup bases make the foundation of any hot pot and determine what all of the ingredients you add will taste like so they’re a big decision to consider in your menu (and also why we recommend having a divided steamboat). Consider whether you or your guests enjoy milder, umami tasting broths or spicy flavoured broths; some people may enjoy something in the middle. Don’t worry too much about soup bases though, people can always adjust the flavours on their own plates with seasoning sauces and condiments. 

 

   

 

 

Meats/Fish:

There’s a wide variety of meats, fish and tofu that you can choose to add to hotpot. When using meats such as chicken, pork belly or shrimp, extra steps are required to prepare the meat for hot pot cooking. The shrimp will need to be deveined for example and the other meats will have to be chopped into smaller portions, suitable to cook quickly in a hot pot. Alternatively, pre-portion and ready to cook frozen meat and fish balls are a great option to add to hot pots. This will definitely save you a tonne of time! If you’re not sure which meat or fish to include, then the Cheong Lee Hotpot Selection is perfect to cover all bases.

 

   

 

Vegetables:

It’s always to get your greens in and there’s no exception when it comes to hot pot. A variety of veggies creates a really good balance to a hot pot menu. So even if you stick to the same types or meat/fish, always try to mix it up with the vegetables. You have the option to use either dried or fresh vegetables here, either work just as well. Just be aware that dried vegetables will take a little longer to cook thoroughly. When it comes to mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms in particular tend to have a very strong flavour when in their dried form, so consider this when it comes to the overall flavour of your hot pot broths. 

 

   

 

 

Rice/Noodles:

Some people may not find the meat, fish and vegetables in a hot pot to be filling all alone, so it’s always good to include a few carbs to make your menu hearty. Carbs are typically cooked along with the other ingredients in the broth and include ingredients such as noodles, rice cakes, frozen dumplings and even tofu puffs (although technically not a carb based ingredient). Like the meat and vegetables, noodles and rice cakes need to be in small bite-sized pieces in order to cook at the same time as the other ingredients. Shirataki noodles are perfect for this, along with pre-sliced rice cakes. 

 

  

 

Seasoning Sauce/Condiments:

Finally to bring it all together, you can use dipping sauces and condiments to add additional flavour to your hot pot menus. As mentioned before, this is great for diners to adjust the flavours of food to their preference. Ultimately, when it comes to dipping sauces and condiments the choice is always up to the diner. Some people like to prepare their own dipping sauces from scratch and Chinese red vinegar is typically used for this; Ready made sauces are also a helpful option, especially if you’re not sure what flavours you want to go for; we recommend selecting a trying and testing a variety of sauces with your menu to get a taste for what you enjoy.

 

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