Easy Entertaining With Soup: Asian Hot Pots

Cold-weather entertaining doesn't get much easier — or cozier — than throwing a hot pot dinner party. Not only is a hot pot dinner an economical, low-stress way to feed a group, eating bowl after bowl of soup warms you to the core, making this the ideal meal for chilly evenings. The only work involved is making the broth, gathering the equipment, and prepping the ingredients beforehand.

THE BROTH
The broth is the foundation of a hot pot, so make it a good one! Here's our comprehensive guide to stocks and broths:
Your Guide to Making Homemade Stock & Broth

THE EQUIPMENT
A butane-powered burner requires replacement fuel canisters, but also doubles as an outdoor stove and is a useful addition to a kitchen emergency kit. Electric burners, on the other hand, are quieter and don't require the additional expense of fuel, but they do have drawbacks. They can't double as emergency stoves during a power outage, and their power cords can potentially get in the way during dinner.
Max Burton Table Top Burner, $30.57 at Amazon
Waring Pro SB30 1300-Watt Portable Single Burner, $59 at Amazon

While any large, heavy pot can be used to make the soup, if you frequently cook hot pot meals, a specialized Japanese pot called a donabe is useful. Made of clay, these pots retain heat well, and are wide and low, so they accommodate a lot of ingredients which can be plucked out of the broth with ease. If you are really serious, consider a donabe from Iga, Japan, where they have been making pottery since the 7th century.
Sumikannyu Ceramic Donabe Hotpot, $37.99 at Amazon
Classic Iga-Yaki Donabe, $65-$120 at Toiro

THE METHOD & INGREDIENTS
Steamboat, Hot Pot, Shabu Shabu: Like Fondue, But Better: Faith's Chinese-style hot pot party included spicy dipping sauces and a divided soup pot, which held two types of broth.
Cooking Japanese: Nabemono: This post on Japanese-style hot pot includes a comprehensive list of suggested ingredients.

What's your favorite way to cook a hot pot meal?

Related: 20 Broth-Based Soups to Nourish and Satisfy

(Image: norinori303/Shutterstock)

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