The secret to delicious and nutritious food is often in the hot pot cooking especially in the Asian part of the globe.
Not only does it bring families together but it also makes the cooking experience an easy and fun process.
For most people, the winter season is the time to enjoy hot pot meals.
It makes the temperature bearable and allows you to enjoy spicy and mildly spicy food you wish to.
So, if you like the hot pot cooking the major step to take is to buy a hot pot for your home use.
These cookers are popular across the globe so how do you make sure you choose one that works best for you?
Let’s find out below.
What Is A Hot Pot?
While you may think a hot pot features the appliance or a meal made in it, I like to describe it as a meal experience that brings families and friends together.
In simple terms, you will come together as a family or with friends, have a single pot where you cook different ingredients like veggies, noodles and thin slices of meat among other things.
The hot pot has its origin in East Asia.
It’s, in fact, said that the earliest hot pot ever cooked was during the Han dynasty. During this time people of the noble class had different methods of making hot pot meals.
By the time Qing dynasty took over, the hot pot was now popular among the emperors. It became a must have food on the dining tables. And what made it even more popular was when Jiaqing prepped 1550 hot pot meals.
This was to become a part of the celebration for his rise to power. In other instances, we’re told that the Mongolians were the founders of the meal. It all started with them including the horse meat and mutton to make a common dish.
It was actually a dish eaten on the go and in the Mongolian helmets by the Mongolian soldiers. Slowly came the spread of their cultures across China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.
So, What Does the Hot Pot Entail?
As mentioned earlier the hot pot entails a number of foods. The simple description of this food is that it’s tasty. They are tasty and delicious but sometimes spicy.
Choosing the broth
Whether you are at a restaurant or at home you expect the broths to be different in regards to what they entail.
You can have the broth being watery and light, spicy or mild you can have it all depending on what you desire.
The soup broth is essential since it determines the tastes and flavors of your food. This is also what brings the total difference in the restaurants hot pot every once in a while.
This is the most common form of broth you will ever have. It’s also ideal for you if it’s your first time trying on the hot pot meals.
This broth is usually light and warm in flavor yet it’s influenced by meat and veggies you use in your meal.
The good thing is that you don’t have to think about the meats you choose taking on the flavors of the chicken instead of enhancing its own flavors. This is often just a simple chicken flavor.
Well, this is one we must talk about because of its difference from most other broths. If you are this person who loves spices then this is the broth you should go for. Ma la is loved for its numbing sensation and luckily this meal has nothing less than that.
It’s made using the spicy Szechuan peppercorn. You also use chilies and ginger to make it even spicier. You also have the scallions, cinnamon anise and fennel among others. While it’s quite popular it’s not a good one for you if you don’t enjoy curries.
There are some of the major ingredients that you must have in the hot pot and they include the following.
You can use the beef, mutton, pig and just about any kind of meat. The secret is to cut them thinly. So, most people would say ‘does it really cook since you only dip it in the broth for a few seconds?’ and the answer is yes.
The meat pieces are normally cut into thin slices which makes it cook faster.
Now, this is a must-have in fact you should go for both the veggies that absorb flavors and those that will enhance your flavors. So, you can have anything from corn to tomato and my personal favorite scallion. Some people even add mushrooms.
You should know that noodles are a must have for most Chinese meals. They will add the texture while picking on as much flavor from the broth.
- The sauces
Other very important parts of the meals are the different kinds of sauces that act as condiments.
Categories of Hot Pots
There are two categories of hot pots electric and non-electric pots. The electric one is the one that has the electric automatic control.
On the other hand, the non-electric one is the kind that you place on the portable heat source.
This is your heat source and pot where you place the ingredients and switch on to begin cooking. Well, it will cook without the need for the gas canister. I like that it gives you the versatility of choosing the heat settings.
You may use the electric pots for all the different purposes. The secret is to make sure you get one with the removable pots. It suits you if you like to eat a lot of hot pot.
This is ideal for you if you eat like only a little bit of hot pots. It further works best if you have a tabletop stove. You will have some pots coming as a set and they also work with the induction heater. They are further easier to store than the electric ones.
1. Sonya Shabu Hot Pot Electric
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Sonya hot pot is one of the very best hot pot cookers in the market today. It’s an electric cooker that heats your food faster. It further normally has a stronger power to heat your food. Under the 1500W and a capacity of 5.3 Qt, the pot will satisfy your needs.
The pot is removable and that makes it convenient but also easy to clean. It has an anti-skid foot which makes it slid free. The fact that it comes with an internal divider makes it even better for use since you can decide to serve two broths one spicy and another non-spicy.
It features the use of stainless steel material for the pot. And it’s designed to serve up to 6 people. It gives you a fine adjustment knob and you have the glass lid for you to monitor the food as it’s cooking.
Its handles are heat resistant to help in the movement of the pot from one place to another. Consider filling the pot evenly with the food, this will help to get rid of the tendency to leak.
2. Aroma Stainless Steel Hot Pot
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If you are looking towards attaining the traditional style of hot pot, this is a must-have pot. It takes on the shabu shabu style of the pot and uses the modern stainless steel material to make a perfect design of the pot.
With the antique design, you bring about the perfect design of a hot pot. You can cook two different soups at ago with the pot. This makes it easy to cook both spicy and non-spicy soups or vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
You will even have an easy way to adjust your cooker from the adjusting accessories it comes with. It has the steam vent which is ideal for the perfect cooking as it will release excess moisture. The best part is further that it has a removable part which makes it easy to clean.
Its handles remain cool to touch for safe handling of food. With the adjustable power, you can choose the level at which you can cook.
3. 1L Liven Electric Hot Pot
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This is one of the small sized hot pot which is 1 qt and the hot pot works as a quick cooker. This is meant for one or two persons. This is to say it will only serve you if you eat very little hot pot at a time.
It takes it such a short time to boil the water then you can adjust the button for it to cook your ingredients slowly. It has a glass tempered heat lid that allows you to monitor as the food is cooking as well as display the food.
The grade 304 stainless steel pot is the safest and the highest quality of stainless steel you will ever have. It’s easy to control the pot because it has only 3 settings which include the off signal, low and high.
You can boil the water in the pot, cook your eggs and cook noodles. It’s not only portable but it’s also easy to clean. You have to adjust it normally.
4. GOT HOT POT 3-in1 Electric Indoor Shabu Shabu Hot Pot
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This works to cook the shabu shabu meal, Korean hot pot, and Chinese hot pot. It comes together with the electric grill for easy cooking of the Asian meals. You can even use it when cooking different kinds of grills.
The cooker has two sides to control the cooking. The grill side and the hot pot side is therefore set differently. You can use this to fry your different meals. It’s possible to swap the pots and pans out when you want to cook different foods.
The lid is designed such that you can use it or not. The item set is designed in such a way that it’s easy to clean. You can disassemble the parts for easy cleaning.
This compact design works best as a tabletop design. Which means you don’t have to make a large space for cooking options.
This is basically a three in one cooking pot. Although you can use it for dinner parties, lunches and picnics, it’s meant for indoor use.
5. Drizzle Foldable Electric Hot Pot Cooker
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This cooker is versatile and will work as a multifunction item. It has a control dial to make it easy to cook all kinds of food. It works easy to make the soups cook your different ingredients like veggies and meats.
This is a foldable cooker that in folding will become small and easy to move around or use when you have just a small space. It enhances your kitchen décor. Also, it features a 100% food grade safe silicone material surface for easy cooking.
The fact that it uses a silicone grade item makes it safe and not susceptible to rusting. When it reaches a high temperature, it will automatically switch off to control the temperature. The electric hotpot is easy to use since you can just rotate your control dial and have it cooking.
It’s nontoxic and harmless but it suits just a few people. Lastly, it features the grade 304 stainless steel high-quality material.
6. Zojirushi EP-PBC10 Gourmet d’Expert Electric Skillet
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If you are looking for a large multifunctional electric hotpot this is your best skillet of choice. This is a durable multipurpose cooking pan. You may use it for sautéing, stewing and grilling. The surface is made nonstick ceramic coating with enhanced titanium.
It further has the adjustable temperature knob that will let you cook at any level you desire. The handles remain cool to touch for easy movement. The best part is that it has a detachable cord.
This pot is meant for cooking various things as you saw but the one most important thing is the table cooking. The cooker further has the glass tempered lid that allows you to monitor as you are cooking your food.
It has a compact design with great coloring and this makes it fit into any color design in the market. The item is easy to clean as you can disassemble its parts. Cooking the food is a fun process if you are table cooking since everyone can participate.
7. Chinese hot pot
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I’m sure you must have seen this hot pot. It’s an antique design of hot pot. This is designed to use liquid fuel for heating the food.
I like the way it looks but just knows that unless you are quite familiar with it, the item is hard to work. Especially since it takes longer to start boiling the soup and broth. You will further need gel sterno to place on the bottom of the hot pot.
This will normally heat for 2 or more hours nonstop before you need to add more liquid. The cooker further has a grade 304 stainless steel chimney that acts as your steam vent. The handles have a low thermal conductivity which makes it easy to move around.
When using the item remember to heat the broth first before you place it in the gadget. This is because the fire you have coming from the liquid gel is never as powerful to heat the food to boiling point.
Unless you are only cooking a little amount of food you should expect it to take a long time to boil. While you may use gel fuel with this gadget, you put yourself at risk of burns. I think that’s why it’s not as common today as it used to be.
I do suggest using the item if you are familiar with it.
8. 5L Electric Hot Pot with Lid, Non-stick Mini Hot Pot
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When you don’t need to cook for many people, you can buy this sleek item. It’s an aluminum wok that you may use to cook your favorite hot pot. The wok is used for boiling, hot pot cooking, stewing frying and searing among other cooking methods.
You can use it for all the sizzling tongue tingling dishes. This wok’s interior features the advanced non stick coating to keep your food from sticking while making it easy to clean the pot. With the pot, you can cook healthy food since you only need to use little to no oil.
You will have the food that is full of flavor and the one that won’t leave the residue behind. You can use the pot for different flavors by choosing different heating temperatures. It has the rotary dial which you may use to choose the different cooking temperatures.
This wok has heat resistant handles which ease the process of movement when you are cooking with it. Its design is further ideal for the service of food.
9. Stainless Steel Shabu Hot with Divider
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Made of stainless steel, this item is great when you need to make the hot pot meal. It features a durable and light pot that you may use on the gas stove or induction cooker. Like other electric cookers, it has a divider that allows you to cook two different meals at a go.
What’s even better is the fact that it has a glass lid which helps you to monitor your food as its cooking. It offers the fast heat conduction with the handles remaining cool to make it easy to move the handles around.
The item is fast and easy to clean yet it will deliver the heat to the food that is cooking evenly. Just know that it has a scratch at the bottom and so you should seal the bottom fast before you begin using it.
10. Crazy Korean Cooking Korean Stone Bowl
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This is another one of the antique designs of hot pot that is made using ceramic. It’s free of lead and cadmium. Its further glaze fired twice as well as a natural glaze. This one you will use together with your other cookware items like the stovetops.
This is safe to use in the dishwasher, microwave and oven. It’s designed to cook and serve your food in the same bowl. The good thing is that it won’t taint your food taste rather it makes your food taste even better.
This is a porous item such that it will retain the heat over a long time making it ideal for anyone who likes to eat the hot pot over a long time. The bowl gives you a few sizes to choose from with the largest being 6 cups. It’s just suitable for one or two persons.
Since ceramics retain the heat you no longer have to eat cold food. The pot is simple and elegant.
11. Nonstick Hot Pot Induction Ceramic Hot Pot
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This Chinese shabu shabu pot that is made using the ceramic marble coating. It makes your cooking an easy experience. It’s further easy to clean. It comes with a divider to make it easy to cook two kinds of food.
It’s made of die-cast aluminum and it has a divider molding technology. The one thing that makes it ideal is that unlike most other hotpots it never leaks. It also has durable surfaces. This pot is environmentally safe and it maintains the ideal temperature.
You can have a fast and even heat distribution through the 4.5 mm thickness. It will also retain the heat longer making it edible after a short while. It’s healthy and easy to clean yet it’s scratch resistant. The item is PFOA free.
Hot pot dipping sauce
This is one part that is so essential in the hot pot meal.
Hai Di Lao Hot Pot Sauce
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This is one of the best dipping sauces you have in the market. It features a numbing and spicy flavor. This is easy to use and will make your hot pot experience a great one.
Sa Cha Sauce
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This one of the hot pot dipping sauce I love most. The brand Lee Kum Kee is very popular in China, I usually buy a bottle of sa cha sauce when I am going to have a hot pot with my friends or family. The sauce is not only made for hot pot, but also a good choice for some recipes.