Whether you call it “hot pot” or “steamboat,” the Asian cooking method of simmering thinly sliced meat, seafood and a wide variety of vegetables in a pot of broth makes for a fun and delicious familial eating experience. The literal hot pot of broth is placed in the centre of the table, and everyone takes turns cooking their food in said broth, then dipping it in various sauces. If you are a seasoned hot pot home cook, you probably have a dedicated hot pot pot and freestanding burner; if you don’t, you can use your pressure cooker.
After all, pressure cookers have a heating coil built right into the bottom, which you can activate with the “Sauté” function. Place the appliance in the middle of your table, add your hot pot broth, press the “Sauté” button (or the equivalent on your machine) and then press the “Adjust” button. Once the broth comes to a boil, lower the heat to keep it at a simmer, then start swishing your meat, vegetables, noodles, tofu and fish cakes.
If you plan to make your own broth and dipping sauces, you have many cuisines and recipes to choose from, and I won’t claim to be an expert in any of them. It only recently occurred to me that I could use my pressure cooker to enjoy hot pot at home, a theory I confirmed with some paper-thin steak and chicken broth. Now that I am aware I have this ability, I’m looking forward to making Sichuan hot pot, Japanese shabu-shabu and Cambodian ya-hon to start.
You can buy thinly-slice meats ideal for hot pot preparation at your local Asian grocery store, or you can cut your own. Pop it in the freezer for an hour to make it easier to slice, and make sure you use a super sharp knife — thick, uneven slices won’t hot pot as well.