The history of hotpot is a long one that dates back more than 1000 years. It is believed to have originated in Mongolia during the Jin Dynasty and spread to southern China. Over the years the culinary practice has spread to countries all over Asia, with each country customizing and varying the dish to suit their needs and available ingredients. It is now a popular meal in China and other Asian countries.
Hotpot also known as steamboat, consists of having boiling pot (hence the name hotpot) of flavoured broth or soup simmering at the centre of the table. The broth is used to boil whatever meat fish or vegetables that will be added to eat. Thus, there will be cuts of raw meat and or seafood, mushrooms, tofu and vegetables. The general rule is: if it can be boiled it can go into hotpot. There are usually two types of hotpot: seafood hotpot where the main protein is usually seafood like crab, fish and shrimp or the more meat centred hotpot like the shabu shabu dish from Japan.
Once the food is ready, reach in with your chopsticks and pick out what you want.
Hotpot should be on every foodie’s bucket list and here’s why:
• It has no fuss.
Hotpot is very easy to make and eat. You basically just throw things in the pot,( not literally though because the hot broth might splash and scald you), then you take them out once they are ready. There’s no waiting what seems like hours if you’re really hungry, for your food to be prepared behind kitchen doors. You can watch your food get ready live which helps you have a more realistic perception of time in your state of hunger.
• It’s a perfect social event
Hotpot is social food. It would be a bit greedy to have one big pot of broth and all that raw food for just yourself. It’s a fun way to spend an evening after work or a Saturday night with friends bonding of a boiling pot of fragrant broth. Besides, you will need someone to talk to as you wait for your food to cook.
• The final broth is worth waiting for
The way hotpot works is, as all the things you throw in the broth to boil cook, they release their flavours into the broth and as time goes on, the broth gets more and more flavourful. The final result after all the meats, veggies and things have been done away with; the final broth is a symphony of complex but pleasant flavours. Also, if you use tofu as one of your proteins, let it simmer away as the broth flavour develops. Tofu is a great flavour sponge, so if the final broth has a an amazing flavour, the tofu will too.
• You can do it at home
Because hotpot is so easy, you can do it at home. All you will need is a pot of broth, a portable burner and a couple of friends and family to come over. Once you get the broth simmering and you have your preferred meats, fish and vegetables with you can sit around the table and let the broth do its work. All you will have to do is prepare you meat, fish, vegetables and other things before hand.