Spencer and I had Singapore Hot Pot, in (of all places), Singapore, on our honeymoon. My first thought was “Asian fondue!” Well, not exactly.
We went to one of those huge open-air markets that serve a dizzying array of delicious street food. The one we went to was close to Chinatown and just a few blocks from the water. One thing about Singapore is that it’s very clean. It’s probably one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever been to. So we had no fear of eating from the vendors. The hotpot or “steamboat” as it’s sometimes called, is served in an elaborate pot with a burner, similar to a fondue. You cook your own meal at a little outdoor table in the square, by adding the ingredients to the bubbling broth.
Hot Pot, Steamboat or Fondue?
Singapore Hot Pot, sometimes called a Steamboat, is a method of cooking fresh, raw ingredients in a simmering soup base. Similar to cooking in a fondue pot, each diner chooses and cooks the ingredients of their choice right in the pot. The difference is the broth the meat and or vegetables are cooked in and the sauces or accompaniments that would be served with each dish. The Singapore hot pot is delivered to your outdoor table in the center of the market. First arrives the hot pot with a very simple, almost flavorless broth. Then a large platter of whatever meats, seafood or vegetables you’ve chosen. Depending on what meat or seafood you choose, you grab the wafer thin meats with your chopsticks and then lower it into the pot. Cooking rarely takes more than a minute. You can add vegetables and fish them out when they’re tender. Just like fondue, you can dip your meat or veg into a sauce.
Singapore Hotpot is super healthy!
While I don’t believe in counting calories, a few times a year I just need to give my body a break to get back into the cycle of healthy eating after December. January is one of those times when the family begs for this “clean” soup. Even when there aren’t holiday parties to go to, there are cookies and candy to make, and foodie gifts that arrive in the mail or are delivered by thoughtful neighbors. “I’ll have just one“, turns into sampling more than my fair share of calorie-dense food. Soups are a great way to feel full without extra calories. Since I’ve been revamping my website and trying to dig up older recipes that fit into Whole30, gluten free, Paleo or Keto, I’ve discovered that I already had plenty that fit into a healthy life-style, and this is one!
This hot pot is versatile for a lot of diets!
I developed this Singapore Hot Pot recipe based on the soups we had in Singapore and Malaysia. It is a nice soup for “divided” households, where one or more family members are vegetarian. Serve the chicken, shrimp or beef separately, and you won’t have to cook twice for your vegetarian! This is also a fantastic soup to serve to someone who is feeling a bit under the weather. Add more garlic, ginger, and chili oil to help clear up stuffy sinuses!
Though the broth starts out very plain, the magic comes with the condiments. Put out small bowls of ingredients like Asian chili oil, Thai fish sauce, gf soy sauce or coconut aminos, chopped peanuts or cashews, extra bean sprouts, and fresh cilantro. Add your choice of condiments, and the simple bowl of broth becomes a hot, sour, salty, spicy or sweet soup, depending on how you jazz up your own bowl.
There are no “rules” when it comes to the base soup. Start with vegetable or chicken broth, add sliced onions, thinly sliced carrots, fresh ginger and lots of minced garlic. Just a few minutes before serving, add snow peas, cubed tofu and bean sprouts. I used to add udon or glass noodles, but since discovering shirataki noodles, I add those to the broth for a gluten free, low-carb alternative. Shirataki noodles are made from white yams, and they have a similar texture to glass noodles. I purchase them from the produce section of my local grocery store.
Here’s the recipe for my Singapore Hot Pot. Enjoy!
Some of the items used in this post are available at my Amazon Affiliate Store.
Singapore Hot Pot
- 2 quarts chicken broth (or vegetable)
- 1-2 limes juiced and zested
- 2-3 cloves garlic of minced or sliced
- 1 Tablespoon ginger freshly grated
- 2 Tablespoons Asian sesame oil
- Any combination of vegetables you choose such as:
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 2 carrots peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 stalks celery thinly sliced diagonally
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 1 head Baby bok choy (or spinach)
- 4 ounces snow peas sliced diagonally (add last)
- 1 bunch green onions sliced diagonally (add last)
- 4 ounces bean sprouts (add last)
- Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Season broth with juice and zest of lemon or lime, fresh ginger, and minced or sliced garlic. Then add vegetables from firm to soft, starting with onions, carrots, celery, bok choy and mushrooms. Simmer gently until all vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
- If serving protein separately, (beef, chicken, shrimp or tofu) cook and place in separate bowls. If not, feel free to add to the soup, cooking until meat is done.
- 5 minutes before serving add sliced snow peas, green onions and bean sprouts. Season to taste with sesame oil and fish sauce if desired.
- Serve soup in large bowls with condiments on the side so that each person can season to his or her liking. Condiments can include: Asian or shirataki noodles, hot chili oil, extra lime wedges, additional sesame oil, chopped peanuts or cashews, cilantro, extra bean sprouts, fish sauce, rice vinegar, coconut aminos or soy sauce.
Condiments to add to the hot pot
- Asian or shirataki noodles, hot chili oil, extra lime wedges, additional sesame oil, chopped peanuts or cashews, cilantro, extra bean sprouts, fish sauce, rice vinegar, coconut aminos or soy sauce.