Steamboat, Hotpot, whatever you might call it, this is a great way of eating with family and friends! Called ‘Dah Been Lo’ in Cantonese, this involves a communal hotpot of simmering broth in which food gets cooked, at the table. This has led it sometimes to be known as Chinese Fondue. The broth is traditionally clear or seafood based, but can be spiced up with a hot and sour tom yum soup or satay flavouring.
Foods often include thinly sliced meats, seafood, vegetables and seafood or meat dumplings. Food may be served with dipping sauces, or even a whisked egg in which hot cooked food is dipped, the egg cooking by the time it reaches your mouth.
Whilst it takes time for preparation, this is a sociable way to share a meal with family and friends that can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace through the course of an evening!
Your hotpot cooker can be custom made, or can be as simple as a rice cooker with the lid open! Some have separate compartments to allow two different soup bases, or hotplates to griddle food.
If the broth cools down too much, it is often handy to have the lid handy, so that the hotpot can get back to boiling point.
Make sure that you have useful utensils such as slotted spoons, strainers and ladles to hand so that you can fish your food out of the broth! Each diner often has their own min-strainer too, making it easier when cooking foods which only require a very short cooking time.
As well as individuals each having their own pair of chopsticks, there are often a number of communal chopsticks to handle the raw food.
There are many different food items that you can cook in your hotpot, particularly seafood and seasonal vegetables. Perhaps the lists below will give you some ideas for your own hotpot party…
Noodles & Rice Cakes
White Radish Slices/Chunks
Meat & Dumplings
Thinly Sliced Meats
Sometimes you just need to dip! Most simply, just slice some chillies and add to some light soy sauce with a few drops of sesame oil. Here are some other ideas of things to dip your hotpot food into:
Chilli Soy Sauce