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Does anyone do a Mongolian hotpot or Shabu at home?

I'd like to buy a hot pot for a friend of mine for her birthday (for entirely selfish reasons). I've been looking online, and can't really tell what the best method would be. It looks like an electric hotpot would be easiest. But there are all sorts of electric hotpots, as well as electric woks and saucepans. And I can't find reviews on any of them.

Does anyone do hotpot at home? What do you use? Do you have a specific style of pan you like?



ps- Here's what I'm looking at right now: http://www.amazon.com/Shabu-Hot-Elect...

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  1. Hey there,

    My family has been doing hotpot at home for years. There's several ways to do it. Nowadays, the electric one is the way to go. I haven't used one of those, but it looks conveinent. What we've always done in the past, by using a single electric burner and medium size stockpot. We also have one of the old tradition hotpot which allows you to insert coal to use as a heat source. Also you can use a Portable Table Top Butane Stove as well. This work pretty nicely as well.

    1. For special occasions, we do shabu-shabby over a single burner gas grill. We use a traditional Japanese Donabe. I wouldn't think an electric, stainless steel donabe wouldn't feel right to my family. I think the open flame on the earthenware vessel is part of the charm.

      Besides, I think a cord draped over the table, down the side and across the floor to a plug would be more dangerous than a table top burner.

      Another benefit is that when the power goes off, the gas table is still usable.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bkhuna

        Did I type that? Shabu-shabby? Sounds like a new concept restaurant.

      2. My family and I have done table top sukiyaki and shabu shabu for 55 years using an electric skillet. Something like a Presto or West Bend 16" for $30 - 40 would do the trick.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Ah yes, but sukiyaki was intended for a "skillet" type pan. Part of the joy of a traditional shabu-shabu (as well as the new Shabu-Shabby's coming to a neighborhood near you) is the cooking of udon in the wonder broth that is left over after all the veggies and meats are consumed. For that, I think a little more depth would be preferable.

          1. re: bkhuna

            Electric "skillets" are about 3 inches or more deep.

          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Growing up we using a electric skillet for doing hot pots. My Mother never that skillet for anything else. In fact it is in the garage somewhere.

            We now us a butane burner with a two section pot available at local Asian markets so that we can have more than one cooking base. The butane burner has been better for use for two reasons. First we do not have deal with a electric cord and is easier to use.

            Years ago before me finding chowhound the family drove up to Johnson Oyster farm up at Point Reyes (CA) did a hot pots (3 for 15 peoples) of seafood, meats, vegetables and the star of the meal fresh oysters fresh from the ocean. Making myself hungry this early in the morning.

            Wish I still had the recipes for the spicy dipping soy sauce mixture for the oyster.

          3. my family does the portable butane as well. with the table all loaded up the dishes, sauces, and eventual drips of whatever, a cord is pretty awful to deal with.

            1. The electric hot pot in your link looks pretty similar to what my family has used for decades. The four liter size would be great for a 4-5 person group, but you could consider something smaller if it's just going to be for the two of you. I don't have a brand recommendation (my parents have an obscure Chinese brand that probably no longer even exists). Just make sure there's a way for you to adjust the temperature, ideally not just to low, medium or high, but with some nuance.

              1. Yup all the time. It's our "go-to" meal for holiday get-togethers, incl. Thanksgiving, Xmas, New Years, etc.

                You can get a shabu-shabu setup at most Asian grocery stores.

                Zojirushi makes a good shabu-shabu setup.
                See here: http://small-appliances.wowshopper.co...

                1. yes all the time. even more often during cold months. in China i see they have fancy electric burners, wow! i use a simple electric burner like this one [http://www.global-b2b-network.com/dir...] and a wide enough pot. now i want a sectioned pot for 2 different broths.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Pata_Negra

                    Yes, we've done hot pot at home but not for a long time. We've also done that fad of the early 70s where you cook meat, etc. in boiling oil tableside. It's quite thrilling, with a hint of danger from all that hot oil. You then dip the cooked meat in a variety of sauces.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      tucked in the the back corner of the kitchen cabinet - the fondue pot with a set of forks. Is it harvest gold or avocado green?

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        haha they still do that here where i live [Netherlands]. table top cooking with a raclette set is called 'gourmetten'. they have fancy rigs. some rigs have both little raclette pans and stone grilling surface. 'gourmetten' is very popular here, just not in my house where hotpot reigns supreme :)

                    2. When I was growing up, we used an electric skillet so that's what we use now. There might be better appliances now but it works fine, plus you have it on the table in front of everyone.

                      1. We do Shabu Shabu - japanese broth based hot pot. We use a butane stove - purchased for less than $20 at a chinese market. Electric is a pain with the cord etc and we can take our stove other places and set it up for pot luck happy hours etc. We usually have shrimp, clams, beef ribs, chicken, squid, fish balls, watercrest, veg, mushrooms and assorted noodles with soya and hot sauce for dipping. Yum.

                        1. Wow, thanks everybody, this is a lot of great information. I think I may do the butane + pot combo. My friend has a toddler, so the cord on an electric pot might be cumbersome. I'll let you know how it goes!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: aielee

                            Three things: a) those butane cartridges last for a very short period of time, b) the cord leading to the electric "skillet" has a low friction plug in the side of the pan. Someone accidentally drags the cord, it will - if aligned properly - pull out at the base of the pan, which itself is normally weighted towards the bottom for stability, and c) with a butane stove, you have to worry about the pot sliding off the burner.

                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                              The best place to stock up on the butane cartridges is the same low cost Asian grocery. $4-5 for a pack of 4 cartridges seems about the going sale price these days.

                              Since I have an electric stove, the butane stove is my back up when I need gas. I use if for ceramics (Chinese Sand pots, Spanish cazuellas). It also works for burning the skin on peppers (in conjunction with a Japanese grill). It is also a good choice for Korean style table top grilling.

                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                Actually I have had very good success with the butane - I have never used an entire can in one sitting and they are quite inexpensive. I also have a stove on our sailboat that I take for pot lucks and it works great.

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  One other thing (for me at least) is that it takes more time to heat the stock and cooling it off with electric while the butane is quicker to react when you turn on and off the burner.

                                  I have never seen a pot slide off a burner the one we have if I remember right has a "rack" to hold the pot in place.

                                  I will agree that the butane cost more. But we do not do a hot pot more than a couple times a year.

                                  It is interesting that the OP is asking this question this time of the year. We normally have hot pots during the winter months when we get to have hotter food and the cooking of the food help to heat the house. We have already put of pots and burners away already for next winter.

                                  In the past when we had six or more for dinner we used two split pot on two burners with four cooking stocks. One pot for seafood and one for meats.

                                  Have not done this last year. Should try again next year.