The end of January may not be the most expected time to throw a dinner party, but I think it’s actually perfect. Hear me out. The holidays are over (pressure’s off!), it’s too cold to really want to go out, but everyone’s going stir-crazy from being at home so many nights in a row. Trust me when I say that your friends will be deliriously happy when an email lands in their inbox inviting them to dinner at your place… especially if you’re making these Asian-inspired hot pots.
In December, McCormick unveiled their 2018 Flavor Forecast encouraging foodies to taste tomorrow’s favorite flavors – including hot pot! The key to a great hot pot is all in the broth, and I teamed up with our friends at McCormick to infuse this one with so much flavor to make it taste restaurant-level. Then, I invited a few friends to don their coziest socks and gather around the coffee table for an evening of communal cooking, conversation – and so much good eating.
*photos by ashleigh amoroso
I think a hot pot is the ultimate communal dining experience. Basically, you set a pot of simmering broth on a portable burner in the middle of the table, then surround it with meat and vegetables that are ready to be cooked right in the hot broth.
Here’s the equipment you need:
- a big pot (I love the Japanese-style donabes that are made for this style of cooking. Scroll down to shop our favorites.)
- a portable burner if you want to cook the ingredients communally around a table. (If you don’t have a portable burner, you can use a slow cooker instead. Cook the broth stovetop and then add to pre-heated slow cooker set to high.)
- chopsticks for dipping ingredients into the broth
Since most people are trying to eat a little cleaner this month, I put a light twist on the traditional Asian hot pot by using a savory vegetable stock spiced with McCormick Garlic and Ginger, along with Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste. The end result is a broth that tastes like it’s made from scratch and been boiling on the stove for hours. The key to making it quick is to use bold ingredients that really infuse the broth with tons of rich flavor.
Okay, let’s talk about noodles. You can use wheat noodles, soba noodles, rice noodles, or lo mein noodles – whichever you love is fair game for a hot pot. I used quick-cooking korean sweet potato noodles, which are naturally gluten-free and super delish. After draining the cooked noodles, I placed a small scoop in the bottom of each guest’s individual bowl.
When guests arrived, I cooked the chicken quickly in the spicy stock and scooped it along with the broth into individual bowls over rice noodles, then let them go crazy with toppings.
On the coffee table, I setup a colorful spread of fresh toppings, and everyone had fun garnishing their bowls with their favorite ingredients. I included mushrooms, bean sprouts, bell peppers, bok choy, herbs, and the easiest semi-homemade sauce on the planet: Thai Kitchen Sweet Red Chili Sauce mixed with fresh lime juice.
The new year is a great time to expand your horizons, and this hot pot party is a delicious way to get out of a cooking rut and try something new with friends. And it doesn’t have to just be Asian-inspired! Try out these other twists with totally different flavors:
And feel free to try out your own twists on the recipe! You can use just about any meat, seafood, or vegetable you can dream up in this dish, and make it your own by adding more or less heat and whatever spices you love. A hot pot is all about bringing together friends and family for the shared experience of cooking, eating, and spending time together over a big pot of deliciousness… so get creative and have fun with it!