Thrifty Chinese Hot Pot

  • Thrifty Chinese Hot Pot
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  • 1.5 kg gristly stewing meat, in pieces (with bones)
  • 40 g dried shitake mushrooms (soaked in boiling water)
  • 50 g dried black fungus (soaked in boiling water)
  • 225 g tin of sliced bamboo shoots
  • 1 Tbls finely chopped ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 Tbls honey (clear runny)
  • 2 tspn chinese five spice powder
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander (chopped) or 1/4 cup dried
  • 2 Tbls sesame oil
  • 1 tspn coarsely ground black pepper (or more or less to taste)
  • 225 g tin of water chestnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 handful red chillies, chopped (optional)
  • 200 ml oriental cooking wine
  • 100 ml soy sauce
  • 1 Tbls chicken stock powder
  • 2 handfuls bean shoots (optional)


This is a very versatile recipe that is a family favourite for using up cheap and tough cuts of meat. Amounts can be varied according to one’s needs.

For the meat, I use whatever is cheap and available at the local abattoir, as long as it has gristle. Most often I use a combination of pork spare ribs and beef ribs, but it can be jazzed up by choosing more popular/expensive cuts such as lamb shanks or osso bucco.

The soy sauce depends on what you have in your kitchen or your personal preference. I use half dark, half light, but I’ve also achieve pleasing results with mushroom soy.


Add the stock powder to the mushroom/fungus water, then combine all the ingredients except the meat and bean shoots, adding the cooking wine and soy sauce at a ratio of roughly 2:1 to make enough sauce to cover most of the meat. (Use sherry if you can’t find oriental cooking wine.)

Mix in the meat and slow cook on lowest setting for 8 hours. (Alternatively, this can be cooked in the traditional manner in a ceramic hot pot/casserole in the oven.)

Add bean shoots towards the end, just before adjusting the sauce.

Before serving, add more stock powder and/or soy (as necessary according to taste) and thicken with corn flour (mixed with water).

Serve on steamed rice (or boiled noodles) accompanied by Chinese vegetables (such as steamed choy sum or buk choy) with oyster sauce. Garnish with fresh coriander and chopped spring onions if desired.

(Please note that photograph is of the dish when it is still uncooked.)

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