Hot Pot (火鍋)

Similar to the Japanese shabu-shabu, hot pot is the Chinese/Taiwanese version of cooking meats, veggies, dumplings, and all sorts of other things in a boiling pot of broth.  The pot is set at the dinner table, and everyone cooks what they would like to eat from the assortment of raw ingredients on the table.

We used to have a portable butane stove and the split-section pot (one for mild broth, the other for spicy ma-la broth), but those were lost a couple apartments ago.  Besides, with only two people, it can be more trouble than its worth to go through the entire set up and laying out all the ingredients.  Isn’t it almost the same thing if you put it all in a pot on the stove?

When I discovered you could get these Oden (黑輪/오뎅) kits at the Korean and Japanese markets, hot pot (the lazy version) became one of our staple meals. The below isn’t really a recipe, just an ingredients list because all there is to it is: boil water and put in all ingredients. Eat from the pot, and serve with rice and dipping sauce.

Hot Pot, Lazy Version

Soup & Stuff
1 oden kit (pictured; there are many different kinds, this one is Japanese)
1 onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
6 bok choy, separated and/or cut in half depending on size
1 package tofu, cut into cubes (I use Mori-nu, the brand that looks like a juice box)
*The oden kit I use has a packet of concentrated dashi broth in it. If yours doesn’t, you could just use chicken boullion or get a bottle of the concentrated dashi broth from a Japanese market.

Dipping Sauce
1 tbsp sha-cha sauce (I use the Bull’s Head brand -it’s M.I.T.- pictured)
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
*Ratio will vary according to taste, of course. This is an approximation of what we use.  If this were the real hot pot set up, I add a raw egg yolk to the sauce.  Because the food is going straight from a boiling pot to the sauce to your mouth, the yolk gets “cooked.”

Hot Pot Options

Mushrooms (shitake, button or enoki)
Fish/meat balls
Egg dumplings
Meats, sliced
Shrimp
Rice cake (dduk)
Vermicelli
*These are the additional items I have used. The list could go on forever. If you like something and it can be boiled, WHY NOT?

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