If you think hot pot is a big project, you’re not wrong—but that’s what makes it worth trying. The coolest thing about hot pot, though, is that you can use up all the leftovers from your fridge—whether veggies or vegan meats, almost everything simmers to deliciousness in the forgiving broth. The broth in hot pot is so tasty, it flavors everything with its savoriness—that’s why hot pot is our zero waste superstar.
The history of hot pot is fascinating—and contested. Common legend has it that it was a Mongolian food, but when the province of Anhui claimed it was the home of hot pot, it sparked a controversy.
What we do know is that from Yunnan to Guangdong to Sichuan, this style of feasting is all about the experience of gathering around a bubbling pot and cooking various ingredients in one or more broths. That’s pretty much where the similarities end though, since broths can be as mild as miso, or as spicy as the fiery broths at Sichuan-founded chain Haidilao.
If your fridge has leftovers, there’s no need to hit the store for anything expect the broth ingredients—and even some of those can be substituted. In other words, don’t hesitate to swap in the veggies or noodles in this recipe, since baby bellas are just as succulent as brown beech mushrooms in this broth, and pretty much any kind of noodle works. Vegan meats also cook up just as flavorfully as the tofu in the recipe. This is the perfect way to zero-waste your fridge, so use up all those leftovers in a big hot pot party.