Tag Archives: chinese-new-year

Whiskey and green tea cocktail

Whiskey, Green Tea + Honey = The Only Cocktail Recipe You’ll Ever Need

My father used to drink blended whiskey with a pre-made green tea as an aperitif to dinner. I will always remember him giving me a little sip despite my mother running towards us in the background. It is a very nostalgic, typical Chinese businessman drink. This That’s the Spirit version has beautiful blended Scotch, whisked matcha tea, honey and soda. It is a refreshing cocktail suited for any occasion.

Whiskey and green tea cocktail

Tea and Honey Cocktail

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

3 large slices of ginger
¼ cup + 4 Tbsp water, divided
½ cup honey
1 ½ oz blended Scotch
1 oz matcha tea
½ oz lemon juice (approximately ¼ lemon)
Soda
Ice for shaking
Candied ginger and lemon wheel for garnish

Whiskey and green tea cocktail ingredients

Directions:

1. In a blender, combine ginger slices, ¼ cup water and honey. Pulse two or three times and then blend on low for 20 to 30 seconds until ginger is broken down. Let mixture sit for about a half hour.

2. Strain out solids through a colander or strainer into a non-reactive container. Recipe can remain in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Related: Celebrate Lunar New Year With These Must-Have Chinese Kitchen Tools

3. In a bowl, add matcha tea and 4 Tbsp water. Whisk until bubbly and all powder is dissolved.

4. In a shaker tin, add blended Scotch whiskey, ginger-honey mixture, matcha tea and lemon. Add enough ice to cover the liquid, plus a little bit more. Cover the other side of the shaker tin and shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds until well chilled.

Green tea mixture being poured into shaker

5. Strain the contents of shaker tin into a tall Collins glass. Fill glass with ice and top with soda. Garnish with lemon wheel and candied ginger slice. Enjoy immediately!

Like Evelyn’s tea and honey cocktail? Try her non-alcoholic winter colada or her apple spruce gimlet cocktail.

Several bao buns in steamer basket

Make These Soft and Fluffy BBQ Pork Bao Buns for Lunar New Year

Growing up, my dad made a big batch of baos once a year. He filled them with the traditional Vietnamese bao filling of ground pork, egg and Chinese sausage. My other memory of baos are enjoying them at Chinese restaurants on weekend mornings, the soft and pillowy outside, filled with a sweet and saucy pork filling — they’re seriously delicious! These BBQ pork bao buns are super easy and fun to make and all the reason you need to pick up that steamer basket you’ve been eyeing. Stuff them with your favourite fillings like ground chicken, beef and even tofu! Make a big batch, your future self will thank you.

bao buns in steamer basket

BBQ Pork Bao Buns

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 14 minutes
Servings: 12 bao buns

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp neutral oil
150 ml + more warm water
1 ½ cups store-bought BBQ pork, diced
3-4 Tbsp store-bought Char Siu sauce (Chinese BBQ Sauce)
2 Tbsp sliced scallions (about 2 stalks)
2 Tbsp vinegar

Equipment:

Kitchen Bamboo Steamer, Amazon, $59.

Bao bun ingredients

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough attachment, add the flour, cornstarch, sugar, yeast, salt, oil and water. Mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and forms one ball, about 5-8 minutes.

Roll of bao bun dough

2. Remove and place the dough on the counter and cover with the bowl for 5 minutes to rest. Cut 12 parchment paper square at 3 x 3-inches. Set on a baking sheet.

3. Dice the BBQ pork into ¼-inch bits. Place in a bowl and toss with the Char Siu sauce (just enough to coat the pork) and sliced scallions.

Bao bun filling in white bowl

4. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each piece of dough against a non-floured surface to create smooth round dough balls. Starting with one ball, keeping the rest covered, roll into roughly a 4-5-inch round.

Related: Our Most Popular Dinner Recipes That’ll Stand the Test of Time

5. Hold the dough piece in your hand, add a heaping Tbsp of the pork mixture into the centre. Start by folding the dough onto itself and pinching the dough together. Work in a circular motion, all the way around. Close the bao by gathering and pinching the dough together at the top. Place on the parchment paper square. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.

bao bun filling inside bao bun dough

Person holding bao bun with three bao buns in the background

6. Place a damp towel over top of the bao buns and place in a warm area to proof until doubled in size, about 20-30 minutes.

Uncooked bao buns on baking tray

7. In the meantime, fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and the vinegar and place the steam basket overtop. About 5 minutes before the baos are ready, bring the water to a boil on high.

8. Once the baos have doubled in size, place in the steam basket about 1 inch apart. Cover with the lid and lower to a medium heat. Let steam for about 14 minutes. If you’re unable to fit all 12 baos in the steamer, place a piece of plastic overtop of the remaining and refrigerate to prevent the dough from further proofing.

Bao buns in steamer basket

Like Sabrina’s bao buns? Try her coconut buns or caramel apple cheesecake fried wontons.

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Forget Takeout and Make This Easy Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant for Dinner Tonight

This umami-rich vegetarian dish gets tons of flavour from light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (the key to authentic Chinese cooking), ginger and a healthy sum of garlic for an easy-to-prepare dinner rivalling any takeout. Though mastering the cookery of eggplant can be tricky, we’ve unlocked the mystery with a simple soaking and salting technique for the right texture and overall balanced flavour. Added bonus: this vegetarian dish will be ready in just over 30 minutes.

Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

3 Chinese eggplants (they are slightly smaller and shorter than Japanese eggplants and can be purchased in Asian markets)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp light soy sauce or regular soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
5 ½ tsp cornstarch, divided
1 ¼ tsp dark soy sauce or light soy sauce
3 Tbsp peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
2 tsp minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 dried chilies (optional)
Green onions for garnish

Directions:

1. Halve eggplant lengthwise and then cut into 2-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and fill with enough water to cover; sprinkle with salt and swish around to dissolve salt. Cover with plate to keep eggplant submerged for at least 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Make the sauce by stirring together the light soy, water, sugar, wine, 4 tsp of cornstarch and dark soy sauce until smooth. Set aside.

Tip: Shaoxing wine is a fermented rice wine used to add depth of flavour and complexity to marinating meat, to add flavour to stir-fries, sauces and braises in Chinese cooking.

Related: These 25 Simple Stir-Fry Recipes Will Convince You to Cook More

3. Sprinkle remaining cornstarch over eggplant and toss to coat. Heat 2 ½ Tbsp of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add eggplant in one layer and cook until dark brown, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping after halfway. Move to a large plate.

4. Add remaining oil to pan and add ginger, garlic and dried chilies (if using), stirring for 10 seconds. Return eggplant to pan and stir quickly until warmed, about 30 seconds. Stir in sauce and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce thickens and coats eggplant, 1 to 2 minutes.

5. To serve, scrape eggplant mixture onto platter and sprinkle with green onions if desired.

Tip: For a non-vegetarian version, marinate ½ cup ground pork with 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine, 2 tsp minced ginger and garlic and 1 tsp light soy sauce. Stir into pan at the beginning of step 4 and cook until browned. Push to one side of the pan and continue with recipe, adding the oil, ginger, garlic and chilies.

Like Soo’s stir-fried eggplant? Try her pork banh mi burgers, gochujang cauliflower popcorn or asparagus and mushroom udon.

The Ultimate Dessert Mashup: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Meets Chinese Fried Wontons

Wontons are not just for dumplings: they make delicious, crispy fried desserts too. These caramel apple cheesecake dessert wontons are my cheat version when you just don’t feel like baking an entire cheesecake. They’re filled with a rich caramel, tart Granny Smith apples and yummy cream cheese filling. Bet you can’t have just one!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Fried Wontons

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Servings: 30 pieces

Ingredients:

Caramel Apple Filling
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
Pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (about 1-2)  Granny Smith apples, diced

Cream Cheese Filling
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp icing sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract

Other
1 package of store-bought wontons
1 egg, for sealing
Vegetable oil, for frying

Topping
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. First, you’ll make the caramel sauce. In a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium heat, add the sugar. Heat the sugar, stirring constantly until it begins to dissolve. The sugar will begin to clump together, continue to stir and cook on medium until it’s completely liquid. Carefully stir in the butter, one Tbsp at a time until completely melted. Slowly pour in the heavy cream, the mixture will begin to bubble, continue to stir until the cream is well incorporated. Remove from stove, add the vanilla extract, salt, diced apples and cool completely. Refrigerate until you need to use.

2. In a small bowl, mix together everything for the cream cheese filling until smooth: cream cheese, icing sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Related: 32 Chinese Takeout Dishes You Can Master at Home

4. Take a wonton wrapper, add about 1 tsp of the cold caramel apple filling in the centre and about ½ tsp of the cream cheese filling. Dip your index finger in the egg wash (one beaten egg) and run it along the outer edges of the wrapper, fold it over and press to seal.

5. Place the filled wontons in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before frying.

6. In a deep saucepan, heat the vegetable oil to 360°F. In a bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Fry the wontons 3-4 at a time for about 2 minutes until lightly golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain any extra oil and toss in the cinnamon sugar while still hot. Enjoy warm with a drizzle of the remaining caramel sauce.

Love Sabrina’s baking? Check out her no-bake key lime pie icebox cakecheesecake pastry pockets and easy peach plum cobbler.

These Chinese Coconut Buns Come Together With Ingredients You Already Have on Hand

Coconut buns are a Chinese bakery classic for a reason. They’re buttery, soft and fluffy — and loaded with a delicious coconut filling. These Chinese sweet buns are easy to make, come together with just a few pantry ingredients and are every bit as delicious as they look. Enjoy them for breakfast, dessert or an afternoon treat!

Chinese Coconut Buns

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Bake Time: 15-17 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Servings: 10 buns

Ingredients:

Buns
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp whole milk powder
½ tsp salt
1 large egg
200ml warm water
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

Filling
1 ¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut
3 tsp cornstarch
3 tsp whole milk powder
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
Pinch salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Egg Wash
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the hook attachment, add the flour, yeast, sugar, milk powder, salt, egg and warm water. Work the mixture on medium for about 5 minutes until the dough comes together. Turn the mixer to medium-low, add the softened butter one Tbsp at a time, until the butter is fully incorporated. Knead for another 5-8 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.

2. Form the dough into a smooth round ball, cover with a damp tea towel and let proof for 1 hour.

Related: 20 Fall Desserts That Can Totally Double as Breakfast

3. For the coconut filling, mix together the shredded coconut, cornstarch, milk powder, sugar, salt, melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla. Set aside.

4. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions (about 85 grams each) and roll into a smooth ball. Cover and rest for 15 minutes.

5. Grab one ball (keep the rest of the dough covered to prevent drying out) and roll out the ball into a 4-inch oval with a rolling pin. Place about 1 Tbsp of the coconut filling in the centre, grab the ends and pinch them together to close the seams.

6. Place the seam side down, and roll out to form a long oval. With a knife, score the surface with 4-5 long strokes, twist the ends in opposite directions and pinch the ends together. Alternatively, once the dough is filled with coconut, pinch to close the seams and roll it into a round ball.

7. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and cover with a damp towel. Let proof for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

8. Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk together the egg and milk for the egg wash. Brush the tops of buns with the egg wash.

9. Bake for 15-17 minutes until lightly golden brown, rotating the trays half way. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Love Sabrina’s baking? Check out her no-bake key lime pie icebox cake, cheesecake pastry pockets or white chocolate funfetti cookies.

scallion pancakes on white and blue plate

Restaurant-Worthy Chinese Scallion Pancakes You Can Make at Home

We’re all spending more time indoors (and in the kitchen) these days, so it would come as no surprise if you’re missing restaurant-worthy cuisine. And the secret ingredient to making these savoury Chinese scallion pancakes worthy of appearing on a menu? Boiling water! It creates the softest, forgiving dough. Plus, the beauty of this recipe lies within a super easy, double roll and coil technique to produce endless, flaky layers, that are so crispy — we’re obsessed!

Scallion pancakes on white and blue plate

Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake and pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
¼ cup cold water
6 Tbsp vegetable oil for frying (approx.)

Filling
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ cup melted lard or melted shortening
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
6 scallions (green onions), finely chopped
1 tsp crushed Szechuan peppercorns or hot pepper flakes (optional)

Dipping Sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Chinkiang vinegar or rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds or julienned ginger (optional)
Pinch granulated sugar
1 scallion (green onion), finely chopped

Scallion pancakes ingredients


Directions:

1. To make the dough: stir together the all-purpose flour, pastry flour and salt in a large bowl. Using a fork, gradually mix in the boiling water in a circular motion. Stir in the cold water to form a shaggy, wet dough. Turn out onto work surface; knead, scraping and dusting with additional flour until smooth and very soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Place on floured surface and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel to prevent crust from forming. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Person mixing scallion pancakes dough

Note: The combination of boiling water produces a soft, easy to roll pancake, while the cold water creates a chewy texture, while also cooling the mixture for easy handling.

Related: This is How to Make The Perfect Chinese Hot Pot at Home

2. Meanwhile, make the filling: in a small bowl, stir the flour, lard, oil and salt until combined. Gently warm in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds to loosen if mixture solidifies. While you’re waiting for the dough to rest, you can also make the dipping sauce: in a ramekin, stir together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame seeds, sugar and scallion.

3. Divide dough into 6 even pieces and roll each into a ball, tucking at the bottom and then covering with a kitchen towel. Roll one ball into an 8 to 9-inch circle, dusting with flour to prevent sticking. Using a pastry brush, paint a thin layer of the filling. Roll up like a jelly roll and twist into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath. Flatten with hand then roll again into 8-inch circle. Cover with kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining dough.

Scallion pancakes dough on countertop

Tip: To prevent drying out, be sure to cover each rolled dough with a damp cloth or plastic and don’t layer each on top of each other, they will stick together.

4. Working with one rolled dough, brush a thin layer of the filling and sprinkle with 1/6 of the scallions and Szechuan pepper (if using). Roll up like a jelly roll and twist into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath. Flatten with hand then roll into 6-inch circle and cover with a kitchen towel. This is now ready for frying. Repeat with remaining dough.

Scallion pancakes being made on kitchen countertop

Tip: If you want to make these ahead of time, you can freeze uncooked rolled pancakes for up to 1 month. Defrost, pat dry with paper towel and cook with the following instructions.

Scallion pancakes rolled out on countertop

5. Heat a skillet over medium heat; add 1 Tbsp of the vegetable oil. Carefully add one pancake and cook, swirling to distribute oil until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, swirling pancake to absorb oil and cover with a lid. Cook until second side is an even golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more oil as needed. Transfer to a paper-towel lined serving plate and repeat with remaining dough and cooking oil.

6. To serve, don’t cut into wedges, these pancakes need to be torn to fully enjoy the flaky coating. Don’t forget the dipping sauce.

Tip: Reheat pancakes in a skillet with a drizzle of oil and enjoy with a sunny-side up egg, a popular Chinese breakfast.

Craving more comfort food? This asparagus and mushroom yaki udon or this one-pot pasta and chickpea stew might just do the trick.

Jordan Andino’s Quick and Comforting Chinese Broccoli and Shrimp Stir-Fry

Everyone loves a meal that comes together in no time – especially when we’re all still busy adjusting to our “new normal.” The beauty of this dish, in particular, is that it combines both speed and comfort for a Chinese takeout classic you’ll want to make on repeat.  Packed with succulent shrimp and crispy veggies, you really can’t go wrong.

Related: Anna Olson’s Herbed Avocado Spread is the Secret Ingredient Your Sandwiches Need

Jordan Andino’s Chinese Broccoli & Shrimp in Oyster Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
½ onion, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
450g medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 Tbsp oyster sauce, divided
1/4 tsp chili flakes
12 stalks Chinese broccoli (gai lan)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
4 cups cooked rice, for serving (optional)

Related: How to Get Kids to Enjoy Vegetables

Directions

1. Heat vegetable and sesame oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, about 1 minute. Add garlic and shrimp and cook for 1 minute.

2. Add chili flakes, 1 Tbsp of oyster sauce and broccoli. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add rice wine vinegar and toss to combine.

3. Continue to cook until broccoli is tender-crisp and shrimp is pink, about 2 minutes.

4. Drizzle with remaining oyster sauce before serving. Serve with rice, if desired.

Related: The Junior Chefs Describe Their Perfect Cake


Watch Junior Chef Showdown Sundays at 9ep and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

This is How to Make The Perfect Chinese Hot Pot at Home

Chinese hot pot is a broth set on a table meant for sharing, and is a social dining experience where people huddle around a simmering pot of broth with a variety of proteins, veggies, spices and a string of incredibly diverse dipping sauces. In short, you make a personalized dipping sauce, dunk some ingredients into the broth and scoop it out into your bowl. Much like cheese fondue, hot pot is a buffet of mix-and-match ingredients perfect for customized social gatherings.

Depending on the region of China, the broth and chosen protein will vary, with Northern China favouring lamb, and Cantonese hot pot commonly filled with fresh seafood. To make at home, you don’t need to choose a region. It just involves a bit of preparation.

Hot Pot Tips and Tricks

Equipment 101: To keep the broth simmering on the table, you need a portable burner. Whether you choose a butane burner or portable induction stove, look for butane burners in camping stores or online, and be sure to purchase the fuel every few hot pot dinners.

The Right Pot: The ideal pot has a divider in the centre to allow for two different broths (cool, right?) and is often called a shabu-shabu hot pot with divider. I have a wide, shallow pot with a fitted lid that accommodates a selection of protein, vegetables and broth while cooking quickly.

Tool Time: You’ll need chopsticks or forks/small tongs for dipping in the pot and eating. Strainers, spoons and small plates or shallow bowls for eating, and small bowls for dipping sauces. Remember, you are dipping into a communal pot, so you will need separate tools to dip the ingredients, retrieve and eat. No one likes double dippers!

Spice is Nice: Decide on the type of broth you will serve, whether you make your own from scratch or purchase the many flavoured packages offered in Asian grocery stores. Choose from a basic chicken broth with mild flavouring agents i.e. onion, ginger, daikon, or a tomato-based, mushroom-based or spicy broth (it’s called Hot Pot for a reason!).

Ingredient Buffet: The choice of ingredients fit for a hot pot is too long to list, and with no hard and fast rules, it’s a mix-and-match game. You want a little bit of everything, and balance is critical when it comes to vegetables. You want texture, satiating veggies and complementary choices for the remaining ingredients.

Hot Pot Ingredient List

Greens
Hearty and leafy, look for greens that retain texture after cooking like bok choy, watercress, snow pea leaves, Napa cabbage, Chinese spinach, gai lan and green onions.

Root Vegetables
Look for daikon, carrots, small potatoes and either cut into cubes or thinly sliced. For larger pieces, let them simmer in the broth to flavour it, and thinly slice for a slight crunch.

Mushrooms
More than an umami-rich flavour agent, reach for enokis, small cremini or shimeji mushrooms for quick cooking and sliced king oysters for a meaty choice. Add the small mushrooms the last minute of cooking; they’re ready as soon as they start to wilt, and king oysters can handle a longer cooking time.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a staple in many Asian soups and stews. Cut tomatoes into quarters and simmer until softened for the acidity to balance the spice.

Squash
Kabocha squash is my first choice for its bright hue, rich texture and sweetness to balance the stew. Winter melon, also known as bitter melon, is wildly popular in Asia for soups and stews with a mild flavour and absorbs the characteristics of the other ingredients. The skin and seeds must be removed, and while the flesh is firm, it can become mush if overcooked.

Other Vegetables:
Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, bean sprouts, corn, green beans.

Dipping Sauces
Often, the hot pot is not the source of big flavours; it’s the personalized dipping sauce that sings and heightens the experience. You drop your protein and vegetables into the broth, or allow them to cook for a few minutes, scoop them out onto a plate or bowl, then sink the protein/veggie into the dipping sauce before eating. Choices of sauces include: Soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese black vinegar, Hoisin sauce, Chinese chili oil and Chinese sesame paste.

Soup Base
The broth is the foundation of any hot pot, and you can make your own with prepared chicken, beef or vegetable broth, then layer with flavour agents such as fresh or dried chilies, fish sauce, Chinese rice wine, garlic, soy sauce and vinegar. The easy solution is to venture out into your local Asian market and look for the many Hot Pot Soup Bases. You will be spoiled for choice: Tomato Broth, Mushroom Broth, Sichuan Pepper Broth, Mild Broth, Spicy Broth, Vegetable Broth.

For a homemade spicy broth, fry dried whole chilies in vegetable oil until they turn red. Scrape into the hot pot with prepared chicken broth with star anise, sliced ginger and chunks of green onions.

Protein
Just about any protein will be utterly delicious in a hot pot. Buy thinly sliced lamb, beef or pork belly (often found frozen in Asian grocery stores) for pure ease of enjoyment. Dip a slice of your chosen protein a few times in the hot pot and, it’s done in about 30 seconds. For chicken, look for chicken cutlets and thinly slice into strips.

Seafood
Shellfish additions are as endless as the sea and promise to add even more flavour to the pot. The current favourite is shrimp, and don’t be afraid to leave the shell and head on. Scallops come in all sizes, oysters should be shucked and can be purchased frozen, shucked. Mussels are sustainable, and you need only to remove the beards and cleaned, clams need a good scrubbing too, and the littlenecks are best for hot pot for their quick cooking time, and they take up little room.

Fish Balls and Fish Cakes
Fish of all varieties when thinly sliced are great in a hot pot. Place salmon, halibut, and bass in the strainer during the cooking process to catch all the flaky pieces.

Fish balls are pressed fish paste, cuttlefish, shrimp and lobster and can be round, square, oval and even come in a variety of colours from white to brown to pink. Look for them in the freezer section of any Asian grocery store, when they’re already cooked and frozen and need a minute or two in the hot pot to thaw. When they float to the surface, they’re ready for dipping.

Tofu
Medium-firm or firm will work, the soft or silken variety won’t survive the jostling dippers from all angles. Fried tofu is pre-cooked and needs only warming.

Noodles
Traditionally, rice noodles are an excellent choice for its quick and clean cooking. Wheat noodles will thicken the broth and leave a cloudy soup.

From a party of two to an elaborate gathering, hot pot is a warming, fun and creative dinner idea, and the most deliciously entertaining.

We’ve also rounded up last-minute party appetizers that are beyond easy. You should also try your hand at this easy, cheesy fondue board for entertaining.