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© 2015 mo'adore | Content and design by Morag Lee | Powered by Blogger.

Vegan Chinese winter hot pot

I might as well hang up my foodie hat and admit that I wasn't entirely sure what a hot pot was when Alan offered to make one when I was through in Dundee last week. Apparently you can get them in authentic Chinese restaurants (we're not talking Jimmy Chung's here...) and I'm really glad I was introduced to the concept as what I found was the perfect comfort winter food for chilly evenings when you want to stay indoors sheltered from the cold. The great thing is that they are very versatile and you can select the ingredients to suit yourself, and if you're sharing (which they're great for - there was three of us sitting round this) people only have to take out the pot what they fancy eating.

We bought our ingredients in a Chinese Supermarket (called Matthew's and there's also one in Glasgow) and a little tip: Chinese supermarkets are actually quite cheap. You could buy quite a few things in Tesco's but one thing you'll need from a specialist store (unless you put something together yourself) is a a pre-made Hot Pot Soup Base which went into our large wok before filling it up with water.

Everyone will need their own bowl - you can use fancy bowls made for Chinese food (with chopsticks) or you can use normal bowls. The bowls also need a 'base' or flavouring of some kind and ours had soy sauce and chopped garlic. You can play about but these are two of my favourite things and you can top the bases up later if they run low.

Once the water is boiling and the soup base mix has dissolved, you can start adding in your selection of vegetables, tofu, other Chinese foods I can't quite categorise to the wok (remember to be careful of boiling water splashing back on you). Choose what you want but general rule of thumb is to put things that take longer to cook in first and leave really flavourful foods until last unless you want everything else to taste of it.

But for a guide here is what we put in and in what order:
- diced ginger
- regular mushrooms
- thickly chopped red pepper
- frozen broccoli
- fried bean curd
(we took a break here and had a nom of what we already had before adding to it)
- udon noodles
- shiitake mushrooms
(we took a break here too)
- rice balls (some were plain and some were filled with red bean)
- vegetable dumplings

When people are selecting what to add to their bowls from the wok remember to give them something which will let the liquid drain through. I'd recommend not chopping the vegetables much so that everything can be easily grabbed with chopsticks (though you'll need to stab the riceballs). However it's still messy so sit at a table.

And if you're feeling a bit merry, you can enjoy this Chinese spirit that I found at the back of Alan's drinks cupboard (mixed with Fanta Fruit twist or something classier).

Chinese spirit for vegan hot pot

You can also have a look at this rough guide on Wikihow and a slightly fancier recipe on the BBC Food website.

Ever tried a hot pot? What would you put in yours?

Morag x

P.S. Remember to check out the other recipe on this blog from Alan (because he's almost the food editor round here). And his personal blog. And the games blog he helps runs. And The Rusty Hip Collection. And the night he DJ's at.
morag | mo adore
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