Chinese hot pots make for an exotic and most sumptuous dining experience, with your guests getting to do their own cooking right at the dinner table, in a hot-pot simmering with seasoned broth. Diners get to choose their own supper from a host of pre-sliced raw vegetables and meat, and add them to the broth. Once cooked to individual tastes, the food is fished out and spooned into plates to be eaten hot with dipping sauces. Read on to find out how you can make this Chinese hot pot recipe along with a few other easy one’s. There are also a few important tips for you that will help you in cooking any Chinese food.
Chinese warmed up to hot-pot cooking, also known as Chinese Steamboat and Chinese Fondue, well over a thousand years ago, and may perhaps owe its origins to their Mongolian neighbors, whose warrior-soldiers were thought to have cooked their food hot in their own helmets.
Complexity level: Easy
Time taken for this Chinese Hot Pot recipe:
For preparation: From upward of 30 minutes to two hours, depending on your dexterity levels with a kitchen knife when it comes to slicing meat and vegetables.
For cooking: 15 minutes for the broth, thereafter upward of a few seconds to 15 minutes, depending on the ingredients your guests choose.
Ingredients for the Chinese Hot Pot recipe
The quantity will differ depending on the preferences of your guest and the rise in their hunger levels as they chat around your pot. Preferably, stock up on the bountiful side, since all the food ingredients can be refrigerated and used again the next day.
1. Meat: Deli-thin slices of chicken and duck, and Sukiyaki cuts of pork and beef that help the meat to cook within seconds of dipping it into the broth. Seafood too is good.
2. Vegetables: Any vegetable including tang oh or garland chrysanthemums, baby bok choy, and napa cabbage. The vegetables, thinly sliced, will again need only a few seconds to cook.
3. Tofu, mushrooms, dumplings, and noodles.
4. Dipping sauces: Thereâs a wide variety that can be bought off the shelves, including sesame oil, soy sauce, chili sauce, and Chinqiang vinegar.
Process to cook the Chinese Hot Pot recipe
1. Place your cooking hot-pot in the about the center of your dining table, where it can be easily reached by all the guests.
2. Add broth to a heated cooking pot. For the broth, you can use your chicken or vegetable stock, or even instant soups. If you’re pressed for time, start your hot-pot with boiling water, and add chicken cubes, carrots, sweet corn and seasoning.
3. Arrange your pre-sliced assortment of raw meat, vegetables, tofu, mushrooms, dumplings, and noodles in plates around the cooking pot.
4. Arrange your dipping sauces within easy access for all the guests at your table.
Allow for the broth in your hot-pot to simmer through the evening, as your guests sit around, adding slices of the raw food assortment to the cooking pot, before ladling it out into their plates when cooked. Enjoy the evening by serving Saki, or Japanese green tea, ice-cooled in summers, piping-hot in winters.
A few other Chinese recipes that are simple to prepare
How long will you survive on the limited options that are available with take-out food? If you have a cooking bug in you and want to try something new and healthy for an approaching occasion, cooking Chinese may be easier than it sounds.
This is a family-favorite and easy-to-cook dinner option. Take all the ingredients for making marinade in a bowl and mix well. Cut the chicken into pieces of 1 inch or less and then dip them into the prepared marinade. Stir well and then cover with plastic cover to marinate for 20 minutes. Heat olive oil in a pan and remove the chicken pieces and cook them in the oil till it is golden and thoroughly cooked. After cooking all the pieces of chicken remove them and add the marinade to the pan and bring it to thicken. Once the marinade is cooked too add the chicken pieces back into it and mix well.
Spicy Sichuan-style Prawns
This dish is easy and cooks within 20 minutes, including prep time. Stir fry ginger, garlic, and spring onions in groundnut oil for 20 seconds. Next add the prawns and fry for another minute and then add sauce with salt and black pepper. Cook this for 3 minutes and serve with coriander garnishing immediately.
Chinese Gun Powder Chicken with dried red chilies
Cut the chicken into strips or bites and marinate in soy sauce for ten minutes before stir frying for 4-5 minutes. Once the chicken is golden and crispy but juicy on the inside, remove from oil and set aside. Add red chilies and sauté for a few seconds; after that add the chicken back into the pan with crushed peppercorns and peanuts. Once done you need to add the sauce to the pan and cook everything together till it thickens. Serve with steamed rice or noodles garnished with spring onions.
Garlicky Hoisin beef
Cook rice and keep them aside. Prepare the hoisin sauce and medium heat it for 30 seconds in a small saucepan with scallions, garlic, and red pepper. Cook these till the mixture thickens and keep aside. Cook the steak and transfer it to a plate. In a pan, take oil and stir fry bell pepper, add potatoes and cook with occasional stirring for 7 minutes. Add peas and scallions and cook for another minute. Increase the heat and add the sauce to this mixture. When the sauce starts bubbling, add the steak and cook until thoroughly warmed for 1 minute.
Simple tips that could help your Chinese food taste better
What is it with Chinese foods that make us think twice about cooking them whenever we come across a recipe that’s worth trying out? Is it the fact that we need to stir fry almost every other ingredient? Or is it because Chinese foods can only be cooked in a wok and we are more accustomed to pots and pans? Then again, are we too worried about the various ingredients used in the dishes and the complicated ways in which they are prepared?
Don’t fret! For Chinese cooking is not as hard as you think, as long as you follow a few basic pointers that would make the difference between a routine dish and a delectable Chinese delicacy. And here are some of the more important cooking tips you need to follow when opting for Chinese cuisine.
Get your Cooking Temperatures Right!
Chinese foods are usually cooked on high heat with most of the ingredients being added only after the desired temperature is attained. If you are cooking Chinese, you would need to make sure you know the cooking temperature for that particular dish before you start anything else.
Always make sure that the oil is hot enough before you add the other ingredients to it. And try using sesame or vegetable oil instead of normal refined oils to enhance the taste.
Don’t Burn the Dish! Stir Fry Instead
As you will be cooking on high heat, there’s a strong chance of the dish getting burnt if you do not handle it properly. One of the best ways to avoid this is to stir fry the ingredients.
This means you would add the ingredients at the last minute and cook only for a few minutes. In addition to retaining the nutritional value of the ingredients, this method would stop them from burning or sticking to the sides of the vessel.
The basics of stir frying involves knowing when to stir more and when to stir less. In the case of Chinese foods, you would stir more when adding ingredients like salt, seasonings or sauces near the end of the cooking period.
Always opt for Fresh Ingredients
The Chinese believe in always using the freshest of ingredients for their dishes. In addition to enhancing the taste of the dish, this particular practice would retain the nutritional value of the foods.
So if you want your Chinese dishes to look (and taste) authentic; ditch the refrigerated veggies, fishes and meats, and opt for fresh ingredients. Otherwise, you may end up with a dish that doesn’t even remotely look, feel or taste like Chinese.
Make your Own Sauces
The Chinese use a lot of sauces while cooking. And the surprising part of all this is; that they make their sauces from scratch and then use them as ingredients while cooking. So if you want your replicate the flavors of an authentic Chinese dish, you would need to do the same.
Instead of opting for readymade sauces, make your own. Get a list of all the sauces you would require for a particular Chinese dish and fish out their recipes from the internet. Devote the first part of your cooking period to making these sauces. Once you are finished with the sauces, start the actual cooking!
Use Natural, Dried Ingredients to Enhance the Flavor
The Chinese use a lot of natural, dried ingredients to enhance the flavor of their dishes. Take the natural route and avoid all those artificial flavor enhancers you can find in the market.
Choose natural products like spices, mushrooms, herms and clams etc. instead to do the trick for you. This way, you can get the exact taste and flavor you are looking for in addition to retaining the nutritional quotient of the dish.
Here’s one more cooking tip to end the story! Most people refrain from cooking Chinese foods; because they feel these dishes would come out well only if cooked in a traditional Wok or Peking Pan. Not necessarily! Chinese foods can come out pretty well in normal frying pans as well. So ditch your worries about botching a Chinese recipe; just because you don’t have a Wok to cook it in. You can also try these recipes on a hot pot; and come up with your own Chinese hot pot recipe version.