Hotpot: a tutorial

Hotpot is a delicious and comforting brothy Asian stew. You can use all sorts of interesting and curious ingredients. This is a vegetarian recipe with bean curd, delicate egg tofu, lotus root, carrots, daikon, ginkgo nuts, and mushrooms in a seaweed broth. You can add meat or seafood if you wish. Don’t be put off by the ingredient list. Although some of it may sound weird, it can all be easily found in Chinatown or Asian markets.

hotpot ingredients

Glossary and prep of ingredients:

dried bean curd sticks – made from soy beans. They look like wrinkled brittle beige sticks. Not an appealing description, but they cook up into a delicious silky noodle/meat/mushroom texture and are very high in protein. Soak in hot water for 30 minutes to soften, then cut into 3 inch pieces. They don’t need to get completely soft and rehydrated, they will finish up in the hotpot. You can get the rest of the ingredients washed, sliced and ready during this soaking time.

dried beancurd sticks
egg tofu
 – soft tofu with egg sold in tubes. Similar to silken tofu, but the egg gives it a custardy taste. Very soft and delicate, handle carefully.

egg tofu
– clean them thoroughly. Wash by soaking sliced leeks in a large bowl of water and lifting them out, allowing the sand and dirt to remain in the bottom of the bowl. Repeat 3 times.

lotus root – the root of the lotus flower. Crispy and sweet. Peel then slice 1/2 thick.


lotus root
daikon and carrots
– daikon is a giant white radish, shaped like a fat carrot. Both the daikon and carrots can be cut into whatever shape you like – slices, chunks. I like to slice 1 inch thick, then fancy cut into flower shapes with a vegetable cutter. Note: the outer cutaway part of fancy carrots (aka carrot ringolos) make great snacks for dogs and people.

carrots daikon
– get an interesting assortment. Don’t use standard white mushrooms. Larger kinds like king mushrooms can be sliced. For smaller varieties, trim off the ends and leave whole. Delicate enokis should be added right at the end of cooking. Pictured below: shimeji, enoki, king.

shimeji, enoki, king

ginkgo nuts – buttery, slightly bitter, and are believed to be a memory enhancer. Get the de-shelled vacuum packed kind.

ginkgo nuts
– I use a vegetarian kelp seaweed soup stock powder. I only use half a packet because it’s pretty salty. We need just a little something to give the hotpot a boost.

seaweed soup stock


2-3 leeks (white part only), sliced
1/2 package dried bean curd sticks, soaked then cut into 3 inch pieces
1 package egg tofu, sliced
1 lotus root, peeled and sliced
1 daikon, peeled and sliced or chunked
1-2 carrots, peeled and sliced or chunked
3 handfuls assorted mushrooms (king, enoki, shimeji, shitake, etc.), sliced or pulled apart
1 package ginkgo nuts, roughly 30 nuts (optional)
6 cups water
soy sauce
1/2 packet (4 grams) kelp seaweed soup stock powder (or similar stock)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced
canola oil

In a large pot sautee leeks in oil over medium-low heat with the lid partially on till soft (approximately 8 minutes). Watch closely and stir frequently, they may want to burn. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.

Add water, 2 glugs of soy sauce, and bean curd sticks. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 packet of broth powder and lotus root. Cook for 5 minutes. Add carrots and daikon.

When hotpot comes to a boil again add mushrooms and ginkgo nuts. Reduce to a simmer and cook with lid ajar for about 30 minutes or till done. In last 5 minutes carefully add egg tofu.

When done top with enoki mushrooms and green onions. Serve with brown rice.


carrot ringolos

carrot ringolos


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