Instant Pot Hot Pot at Home: Your Ultimate Guide to Easy, Delicious Dining

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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Imagine bringing the vibrant and communal experience of a traditional hot pot right into your cozy kitchen, without the fuss of multiple pots and burners. An Instant Pot hot pot does just that, combining convenience with the joy of shared cooking. Originating from East Asia, hot pot has been a beloved meal for centuries, where friends and family gather around a simmering pot of broth, cooking a variety of ingredients right at the table.

Ingredients

Gather your ingredients to bring the traditional East Asian hot pot experience into your Instant Pot. Everything you need, from the broth to the dipping sauces, is listed below for a delightful communal meal.

Broth Ingredients

  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 slices of ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 scallions, chopped into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Meats

  • 1 pound thinly sliced beef (like ribeye or sirloin)
  • 1/2 pound boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Vegetables and Tofu

  • 2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (shiitake or button)
  • 1 block of firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 bunch of spinach, washed
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • Soy Sauce Dip:
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
  • Peanut Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Water to thin as needed

Prepare to enjoy a feast that’s as fun to cook as it is to eat! Gather all these ingredients and follow the next steps to create your Instant Pot hot pot.

Equipment Needed

To embark on your Instant Pot hot pot journey, you’ll need a few key pieces of equipment. These items will ensure that your cooking experience is efficient, safe, and enjoyable.

  • Instant Pot: Naturally, the cornerstone of making hot pot in this style is your Instant Pot. Any model will do, but one with a sauté function is particularly handy.
  • Steamer Basket: This accessory is crucial for cooking items like vegetables and seafood simultaneously without merging flavors too much.
  • Divider: If you want to enjoy more than one type of broth, a divider for your Instant Pot can allow you to split the pot into sections.
  • Slotted Spoon: Perfect for retrieving cooked items from the hot broth without getting too much liquid.
  • Soup Ladle: To serve the broth and ensure everyone gets a share of the flavorsome liquid.
  • Chopsticks or Fondue Forks: These are not just for tradition but for practicality, allowing each diner to select and cook their own ingredients in the communal pot.
  • Bowls and Plates: Having separate smaller bowls and plates for individual servings of sauces, cooked food, and raw items helps keep the experience organized and clean.

Prep Work

Before you dive into cooking, let’s get everything ready. Proper preparation makes the process smoother and more enjoyable.

Preparing the Broth

Start by selecting your broth base—either a rich beef bone broth, a light chicken broth, or a vegetarian mushroom broth. Pour approximately 6 cups of your chosen broth into the Instant Pot. Add spices such as slices of ginger, star anise, or a stick of cinnamon to infuse deeper flavors. For a spicy kick, consider adding a couple of tablespoons of chili sauce or paste. Secure the lid, select the “saute” function, and let the broth simmer while you prepare the other ingredients. This slow simmering will meld the spices beautifully into the broth, setting a flavorful foundation for your hot pot.

Slicing the Meat

Choose high-quality cuts of beef and chicken for the best texture and flavor. For beef, ribeye or sirloin provides a tender, marbled texture, perfect for quick cooking. For chicken, go with the breast or thigh, which remains succulent when thinly sliced. Place the meat in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes until firm but not frozen solid; this makes slicing easier. Using a sharp knife, slice the meat against the grain into thin slices, about 1/8 inch thick. This ensures each piece will cook evenly and quickly when dipped into the hot broth.

Cutting Vegetables and Tofu

Select a colorful variety of vegetables—think thinly sliced carrots, pieces of bok choy, mushrooms, and spinach. Wash all vegetables thoroughly, pat them dry, and slice them into bite-sized pieces, ensuring they’re not too thick so they can cook promptly when immersed in the broth. As for the tofu, opt for a firm variety that holds up well in soup. Drain the tofu well and cut it into generous cubes or slices. Arrange all vegetables and tofu on a large platter in neat groups for easy access during the meal.

Cooking Instructions

Now that you’ve gathered your ingredients and prepped them according to the previous instructions, let’s proceed with the cooking process, which promises a flavorful and exciting dining adventure right in your kitchen.

Setting Up the Instant Pot

  1. Install the Divider:
    If you’re using multiple broths, insert the divider into your Instant Pot to keep them separate. Ensure that it fits snugly to prevent the broths from mixing and diluting their distinct flavors.
  2. Add the Broth:
    Pour your chosen broth or broths into the compartments created by the divider. Make sure each section is filled evenly to ensure consistent heating across all broths.
  3. Select the Right Setting:
    On your Instant Pot, select the ‘Sauté’ function to begin heating the broth. Bring it to a slight simmer — this is key as you do not want it boiling vigorously, as hot pot is traditionally enjoyed with a gentle simmer.
  4. Arrange Your Tools:
    Have your slotted spoon, soup ladle, and other utensils ready by your side. Place chopsticks or fondue forks alongside the bowls and plates you’ve prepared for easy access during dining.
  1. Begin with Meats and Tofu:
    Start by adding slices of meat and pieces of tofu to the broth. These items take longer to cook and will benefit from a simmering broth that enhances their flavors.
  2. Add Vegetables:
    After the meats have started to cook, gradually introduce the vegetables into the broth. Start with the denser vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes, which take longer to soften, followed by leafy greens like bok choy and spinach.
  3. Adjusting for Doneness:
    Use your slotted spoon or ladle to check and adjust the doneness of the ingredients. Remove items that have cooked to your preferred level of tenderness or crispness, and transfer them to your plates.
  4. Dipping and Seasoning:
    As ingredients finish cooking, dip them into any of the flavorful sauces you’ve prepared. Enhance the broth with additional seasonings if needed to keep the flavors robust and enjoyable throughout your meal.
  5. Continuous Addition:
    Continue to add raw items to the pot as space becomes available. This not only keeps the broth hot but also ensures there’s always something cooking, mimicking the communal and continuous eating style of traditional hot pot dining.

Enjoy the dynamic flavors and engaging eating style of your Instant Pot hot pot, a delightful twist on a beloved culinary tradition.

Assembling the Hot Pot

Now that your ingredients are prepped and the Instant Pot is ready, let’s move on to the exciting part – putting together your hot pot!

Arranging Ingredients

Start by placing the divider into your Instant Pot if you’re using multiple broths. Pour your chosen broths into their respective sides of the pot. Next, you’ll organize the thinly sliced meats, vegetables, and tofu around the table for easy access. Arrange them on separate platters to keep the different types organized and avoid cross-contamination.

  • Meats: Place beef, chicken, and any other meats on a large plate, slightly overlapping the slices for an appealing display.
  • Vegetables: Group vegetables like mushrooms, bok choy, and corn on another plate. You might want to separate softer vegetables from harder ones, as cooking times vary.
  • Tofu and others: Set tofu and any additional items like fish balls or noodles on a separate dish.

Ensure dipping sauces are in small bowls and spread them evenly around the table so everyone can reach them without stretching. Place your mesh ladles, tongs, and chopsticks next to each plate for guests to use for cooking and eating directly from the pot.

  • Timing is key: Encourage your guests to add their items into the pot based on cooking times. Start with ingredients that take longer to cook, such as root vegetables and thick meat slices.
  • Layer flavors: Suggest placing aromatic vegetables like green onions or garlic into the broth early to infuse it with flavor.
  • Keep it going: As you and your guests consume the cooked items, continue adding fresh ingredients to keep the broth rich and flavors evolving.
  • Adjust heat as necessary: Be mindful of the broth level and temperature. Add more broth if it gets too low or adjust the heat on your Instant Pot to maintain a gentle simmer.

Utilize these tips to keep the meal enjoyable and ensure that the food is cooked just right, enhancing the communal and dynamic nature of the hot pot experience.

Make-Ahead Tips

Maximizing your Instant Pot hot pot experience not only involves the right ingredients and equipment but also fantastic timing and preparation. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable cooking session, here are some make-ahead tips that will benefit you:

Prepare Your Broth Early

Start by preparing your broth a day in advance. This allows the flavors to meld together beautifully, creating a richer, more complex base for your hot pot. Simply select your preferred broth base, add the desired spices, and let it simmer for an hour. Cool it down and store it in the refrigerator overnight. When you’re ready, reheat the broth in your Instant Pot before your guests arrive.

Pre-Cut Meats and Vegetables

The essence of hot pot is in the variety of ingredients. Slice your meats like beef and chicken into thin, manageable strips that will cook easily. Chop your vegetables, tofu, and other desired additions into bite-sized pieces. Placing them on separate plates or in containers and refrigerating them can save you time and streamline the cooking process during your gathering.

Sauce Prep

Dipping sauces enhance the flavor of your hot pot ingredients. Prepare these sauces ahead of time by mixing the necessary components. Common sauces include sesame oil with minced garlic, soy sauce with chili, and peanut sauces. Keep them refrigerated in small bowls or sauce dishes. This step not only preserves the flavors but also makes for a quick setup.

Organize Cooking Tools

Ensure all necessary tools are cleaned and arranged beforehand. This includes strainers, ladles, chopsticks, bowls, and plates. Having everything in place ensures a hassle-free dining experience where you can enjoy the meal rather than worry about finding what you need during the hot pot session.

By following these make-ahead tips, you can focus more on enjoying the moment with your friends and family, indulging in a flavorful and engaging hot pot experience straight from your Instant Pot.

Conclusion

Ready to dive into the delightful world of Instant Pot hot pot? You’ve got everything you need to transform your dining room into a bustling hot pot hub. With your broth flavored to perfection and your ingredients prepped and waiting, you’re all set for a night of fun and flavor. Remember the joy is in the journey—from slicing ingredients to the final dip in your sauce. So gather your loved ones around the pot, cherish the moments of laughter and conversation and make your mealtime a memorable one. Here’s to many savory adventures in your culinary future!

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