Kitchn Love Letters

The Brand-New Pantry Ingredient I’m Going to Be Ordering on Repeat All Fall and Winter

published Aug 31, 2021
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Credit: Diana Liang

In 2018, Jing Gao launched Fly by Jing, a line of sauces, spice mixes, and pantry staples inspired by her hometown Chengdu in China’s Sichuan province. The brand’s first major hit was their signature Sichuan Chili Crisp, which soon became one of my favorite condiments. I eat it with everything (think: eggs, rice, tacos, etc!), as it provides the perfect kick of heat for pretty much any dish that could use some livening up.

Credit: Nicole Rufus

Of course the brand has other offerings, and just last week they released their new Fire Hot Pot Base. As a huge fan of everything Fly by Jing, I was extremely excited to hear about their latest addition.

Credit: Nicole Rufus

Hot pot is a communal meal centered around a simmering pot of flavorful, well-seasoned broth. There are a wide array of dipping ingredients that can be added to the pot (think: thinly sliced meat, greens, mushrooms, tofu, and more) and they get added to the simmering broth to cook.

Up until now, hot pot is something that I’ve only ever had at restaurants, but the Fire Hot Pot Base makes it really simple to enjoy it from the comfort of your own home. The weather this weekend was overcast here in Brooklyn, so I decided to invite a few friends over to give this new starter a try. As soon as we opened the package, we knew that we were in for a very flavorful meal. You can see all the wonderful herbs and spices in the base; there are whole peppercorns and sliced chilis, and the broth itself has a beautiful deep red hue.

Credit: Nicole Rufus

For our dipping ingredients, we selected thinly sliced rib-eye, pork belly, enoki mushrooms, baby bok choy, tofu, glass noodles, and pre-made dumplings. To prepare the broth, you combine one package of Fire Hot Pot Base with 6 cups of water and bring it to a boil. We left our pot to simmer on the stovetop, although you’ll often see people using an induction burner to keep the broth simmering at the table. We added our dipping ingredients and waited for everything to cook through.

The hot pot base exceeded all of my expectations. Sometimes store-bought broth bases can suffer from an extreme excess of salt, but the Fire Hot Pot Base is perfectly seasoned and packed with so much rich flavor. As someone who prefers spicier foods, I was very happy with the spice level in the broth. It’s not mild but it’s also not overpowering. Most of all, it felt really nice to enjoy this meal at home with close friends.

As summer slowly starts winding down, I’m looking forward to much more hot pot at home using this base. There’s no doubt that it’s going to be a recurring meal as we head into the cooler temperatures of fall and winter. The brand also suggests using the hot pot base for a stir-fry, which I am very excited to try out as well. Overall, I’d say we have another Fly by Jing winner on our hands!