Chinese Hot Pot

Chinese Hot Pot

The weekends are too short and they go by too quickly! Even though I am home most of the time, I still look forward to the weekends because it is a break from my crazy schedule and a time to bond with family and friends. Saturdays are just the best! It is a day to sleep in a little and have a nice leisurely breakfast followed by a short excursion to somewhere interesting. Cooking is kept to a minimum with simple lunches and dinners or eating outside.

A great meal to enjoy during the weekends is the Chinese Hot Pot or fondue. This is a social meal and is very popular for family and social gatherings. Many families have the tradition of preparing the Chinese Hot Pot for their Chinese New Year Eve feast. Everyone sits around table cooking their own food. This promotes interaction and bonding.

Another name for the hot pot is “steamboat” in parts of Southeast Asia. I don’t exactly know where the name is derived from but there is definitely a lot of steam coming from the food being cooked at the table in the boiling broth. Perhaps it is due in part to the traditional vessel used which has a funnel in the center to allow the smoke from the burning charcoal at the base to emit. It does kind of remind one of a ship or boat’s funnel.

Chinese Hot Pot

This meal is simple to prepare and cooking is kept to a minimum with the simmering of the broth. All other ingredients can be purchased or made ahead. There are many variations to the soup from mild to spicy. This is one that I remember from childhood prepared by my Grand Aunt during a large family gathering. I added a little goji berries to give the broth some specks of color. Except for the broth, no measurements of the other ingredients are given because you can prepare as much or as little as desired.

Chinese Hot Pot
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 chicken carcasses
  • 10 cups (2.4 liters) water
  • 5 Napa cabbage leaves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp goji berries, rinse and soak for 10 minutes, then drained
  • Salt and pepper
Choice or Combination of
  • Thinly sliced beef, pork, chicken
  • Fish, shrimps, squid, scallops
  • Meatballs, fish sticks, fish cakes
  • Dumplings, wontons
  • Tofu, tofu skin, mushrooms, eggs
  • Rice noodles, glass noodles, egg noodles
  • Napa cabbage, baby bok choy, choy sum, gai lan, garland chrysanthemum
Condiments and Dipping Sauces
  • Soy sauce
  • Garlic chili sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sesame oil
  1. Bring water in a large pot to a boil. Add chicken carcasses, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1½ hours. Skim off scum appearing on the surface.
  2. Remove chicken carcasses with a slotted spoon. Add Napa cabbage and goji berries. Simmer for another 10 minutes until Napa cabbage is very soft. Turn off heat and transfer broth to an electric fondue pot or deep skillet until about half full. Do not over fill as food will be added to the broth at the table.
  3. Set a bowl, small wire strainer, and dipping sauces for each place setting. Arrange all other ingredients into different bowls around the electric pot at the table.
  4. Bring broth to a boil. Add small portions of desired ingredients into broth and simmer till cook.
  5. Dish into individual serving bowls with slotted spoon or small wire strainer. Dip cooked food into sauces and enjoy.
  6. When cooked food have been distributed, repeat until everyone has had their fill. Top up with more broth when necessary.
Noodles are normally added towards the end when the broth is most flavorful after cooking all the other ingredients.

Homemade meatballs with recipe link at the bottom of this page.

Chinese Hot Pot

Store bought shrimp balls can be found at the frozen section of Asian markets.

Deep fried tofu are available at the refrigerated section of Asian grocery stores.

Chinese Hot Pot

Glass noodles come dried and needs to be soaked for about 30 minutes to soften.

Chinese Hot Pot

Here are the links to the other goodies that will be delicious in the hot pot. Just click on the picture to get to the post.

Chinese Hot Pot

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎

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  1. DongXing says

    Biren, what a coincidence! We had steamboat on Saturday evening. It was fantastic, relaxing and was really a great chance to chat and eat very very leisurely – we took over 2.5 ours with ours! I had everyone’s favourites that evening – shrimp & pork wontons, sliced beef in char siu sauce, chicken slices in shaoxing wine and oyster sauce, fish balls, eggs (pre-washed), young spinach leaves,romaine lettuce, napa cabbage, tofu puffs fileld with minced pork and of course, some prawns as well. The broth was so tasty at the end, and the meal was highly satisfying and warming.

    • Biren says

      Your hot pot sounds wonderful with all those goodies! This was a simple one I made with whatever I had in my freezer. I need to prepare this more often as the family loves it especially in this cold weather. Very satisfying and warming indeed!

  2. says

    We always have steamboat during Lunar Chinese New Year at my in-law’s and now even my parents settled for this bcoz it’s so much more easier than whipping up a big feast. 😉

    • Biren says

      Steamboat is a good choice for the CNY feast. It is definitely much easier to prepare as compared to all those fancy dishes.

    • Biren says

      Hotpot is a fun and delicious thing to do with everyone gathered at the table cooking, eating, and chatting. No one needs to slog in the kitchen. Even the cook can sit down to enjoy the food and company. :)

  3. says

    Such a perfect, and comforting broth with the addition of beef, and seafood. I sure love the yummy dumplings as well, to be added in the hot pot. I think this would be nice for a casual gatherings with family, and/or friends. A nice and delicious meal for this time of the year!
    Biren, your photos are amazing…so well organized!

  4. says

    My parents used to do hotpot when the weather got cold and we ate so much we felt sick, but it was sooo yummy! I’m rather jealous that you have the oil tofu aswell because it’s hard to find here. Great photos :)

    • Biren says

      You are so right about over eating as it can easily happen because everything is so tasty. I am really glad that we can find those tofu puffs here as it is one of my favorite ingredients. :)

  5. says

    My mother used to serve a beef and vegetable meal where she would put two electric fry pans on the table and we would all cook our own veggies and beef. We loved it. You are right, its a wonderful way to bring family together.

    • Biren says

      I do have one of those huge rectangular hot plates perfect for teppanyaki. I’ll have to set it up and do a post soon. We do enjoy cooking at the table especially during the weekends when there is more time to eat leisurely.

  6. says

    IT’s beem raining over here today and a bot pot would be all I need to keep me warm. I love hotpot and I don’t know why I haven’t made this for a long time. Thanks for reminding me that I should revisit my love for hot pot.


  7. Sandra says

    Your Chinese hot pot looks delicious and it definitely looks like a meal that would gladden my heart. I like Asian food and so does my family. My kids often suggest going to Japanese, Chinese or Korean restaurants when we decide to eat out. Thank you for the recipe for the wontons and the Chinese dumplings as well. These will put smiles in my family’s faces.

  8. says

    Love love love hot pot! This is one of my absolute favorite meals and my kids love it too. People think that b/c you don’t need to cook anything, that this is so easy to prepare. I actually think it’s a lot of work b/c of all the washing of veggies and other ingredients. Not to mention all the dishes afterwards, but SO worth all the effort. Hubby and I like to sauté some green onions and add them with the oil into our sauce. Biren, you’re making me so hungry with this! Best thing of all with this meal, you get a nice flavorful soup at the end. Perfect for cold days :D.

  9. says

    That’s a really lovely and detailed recipe. It seems that the soup base is non-spicy. i love spicy one a little bit more that non-spicy. Thanks for sharing.


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