The cold season is coming, this means only one thing: it’s hot pot time!
Hot pot (火锅, huŏguō) is a traditional Chinese dish, where a big communal pot filled with simmering broth is served at the center of the table, accompanied with dipping sauces, and a variety of raw ingredients, such as sliced meat, vegetables and seafoods, which are then boiled in the broth.
Hot pot is very popular in China and it is particularly adored by young people. But don’t be fooled! Hot pot actually has a very long history: archaeological evidence shows that hot pot’s origins could be traced back to the period of the Three Empires ( 220-280 AD ), namely more than 1700 years ago!
Today, hot pot has many regional versions that differ both in the fondue and dipping ingredients. The most famous variant is the Sichuan hot pot , which is well known for its numbing and spicy flavor. Another prominent variance is the Cantonese hot pot, which is prepared with a mild broth and a lot of fresh seafoods.
While the most representative version of hot pot in Beijing and colder northern China is the instant-boiled mutton, where the main ingredient, mutton, is boiled in a fondue made of nutritious and warming lamb-bone stock.
The variety of flavors and vast assortment of food combinations make hotpot appreciated by everyone, gaining popularity across different ethnic groups, regional communities, older and younger generations. Indeed, hotpot culture has been widespread in many Asian countries and each of these has developed its own hot pot style: some examples are the Japanese Sukiyaki and the Thai Tomyum broth.
Another reason why hot pot is so appreciated is its power to enhance friendship and to unite family members or colleagues as people sit around a communal pot sharing foods, eating calmly and talking. The warm atmosphere expels the cold of winter and makes people feel comfortable and relaxed.
Due to the current pandemic it is very difficult to eat hot pot at a restaurant, but don’t worry!
Here is a simple recipe for all hot pot-lovers, to enjoy hot pot’s wonderful flavours at home:
All you need is: a portable stove, chopsticks, strainers, bows.
For the ingredients it is sufficient to have dipping sauce, soup base for the fondue, and anything you enjoy to eat with it, all available at any chinese shop.
Another popular version is the self-heating hot pot; this option presents itself with a heater pad used to warm up the pre-cooked meal. A simple, convenient yet delicious meal all ready for you to eat: just pour a little bit of water and the game is done!
Hoping to be able to eat it together soon. In the meantime, let’s warm our hearts with this homemade version!