The broth can be adapted to your liking, and you can use whichever ingredients are in season. A hotpot is always placed in the centre of the table with a wide variety of ingredients for people to choose and then cook in the soup. The dish is normally shared among large groups of people, slowly grazing through the food while talking away and guzzling bia (beer). Hotpot is my favourite dish. I like cooking food as I go, and the combination of noodles, soup, meat and vegetables means that I get a little bit of everything that I love!
Hotpot is one of the most popular ways to eat for Vietnamese people. You might think a dish like this would be unpopular in such a hot country, but it’s versatility and simplicity make it a favourite for many.
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
- small handful coriander (cilantro) leaves
- 3 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) dried instant egg noodles
- 1 kg (2lb 3 oz) chicken bones
- 1 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) free-range chicken
- 1 onion, peeled
- 2 garlic cloves
- 200 g (7 oz) shimeji mushrooms, separated into clumps
- 200 g (7 oz) oyster mushrooms
- 200 g (7 oz) morning glory (water spinach)
- 2 bunches bok choy, quartered
Meat and seafood
- 200 g (7 oz) calamari hoods and tentacles, cleaned and hoods scored (optional)
- 12 green prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined
- 4 cooked blue swimmer crabs
- 300 g (10½ oz) sirloin beef (preferably wagyu), very thinly sliced
- 12 fish balls (see Note)
- 12 beef balls (see Note)
- 6 fish cakes (see Note)
- 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) hoi sin sauce
- 80 g (2 ¾ oz) satay sauce (store-bought is fine)
- 1 tbsp sriracha chilli sauce
- juice of 1 lime
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
For this recipe, you will need a portable gas stove that can sit in the centre of your table. You can buy these at Asian kitchenware or camping shops.
1. To make the broth, rinse the chicken bones to remove any blood and splinters. Transfer to a large stockpot, add the chicken and cover with 3 litres (3 qt) water. Bring to the boil, skimming off any impurities that rise to the top, then reduce the heat to a simmer, add the onion and garlic and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth and set aside to cool. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
2. Combine the dipping sauce ingredients in a large bowl, then divide among individual ramekins for dipping.
3. Place the stove on the table. Pour the chicken broth into a large hotpot and place the hotpot on the stove over medium heat. Season with salt and sugar and add the coriander and spring onion.
4. Place the raw ingredients in bowls or on plates, keeping the meat and seafood separate, and distribute around the table.
5. Wait until the broth comes to the boil, then invite guests to pick and cook their own ingredients. The following are approximate cooking times for each ingredient, depending on their size:
– Dried instant egg noodles: 5–8 minutes
– Mushrooms: 5–7 minutes
– Morning glory and bok choy: 3–7 minutes
– Calamari: 4–5 minutes
– Prawns: 3–5 minutes
– Blue swimmer crabs: just heat through
– Sirloin beef: 1 minute
– Fish balls, beef balls and fish cakes: just heat through
• Fish balls, beef balls and fish cakes can be purchased from Asian supermarkets.
Recipe from Street Food Vietnam by Jerry Mai, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99