Eva Chin, chef de cuisine at Kōjin in Toronto.
Store-bought broth options abound for hot pot setups—but you can make your own! Try this seafood soup base recipe from Eva Chin, chef de cuisine at Kōjin in Toronto.
4 L cold water
1 kg chicken bones, neck bones or wing tips
1 kg cod, halibut or sea bream bones
4 green onions
2 thumb-sized pieced of ginger, peeled
1 sheet kombu, (hand-sized)
4 shallots, quartered
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp white peppercorns, crushed
2 tbsp green Sichuan peppercorn, crushed
fish sauce, to taste
1/2 cup Chinese or German sauerkraut, rinsed
454 g cherrystone clams, or quahogs, or your preferred crustaceans
Pour cold water over chicken and fish bones in a tall stockpot. Bring to a boil over high. Skim off froth that floats with a ladle as the broth heats.
Once most of the froth is skimmed off, add remaining ingredients (except fish sauce, sauerkraut and clams) to pot. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half, 45 min to 1 hr.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Season with salt, fish sauce and more Sichuan pepper to taste. Add sauerkraut and bring back to a boil.
Add clams and cook at a rolling boil, covered, 5 to 8 min. (Clams can be eaten once opened.)
Remove pot from heat and transfer to a hot pot burner. Remove lid when ready to serve.
For Eva Chin, a Toronto chef and co-founder of The Soy Luck Club, hot pot was an essential in her household. “It brightened my palate when I was able to taste meat, seafood and the earthiness of mushrooms in the broth,” Chin recalled of her first Cantonese hot pot experience as a child. Its laissez-faire spirit actually helped Chin introduce Chinese food to her wife and mother-in-law; they now have a hot pot set-up at home.
Styles of hot pot are differentiated by the ingredients, dipping sauces and types of broth used. Chrysanthemum greens are popular in Taiwanese- and Cantonese-style, while lamb is common for northern Chinese versions. Traditionally, southern Chinese hot pot broth is a clear, seafood-oriented affair that brings out the flavours of the Pearl River Delta. “In North America, they’ve taken all these different styles and hot pot history to encompass the cuisine culture of China,” says Chin.