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Spicy hotpot

This spicy Asian soup is great for a dinner party - guests choose what goes into their soup, then ladle over the spicy broth.

Make sure you have separate utensils for your guests to use to transfer the raw ingredients into the stockpot, and clean utensils for eating - this reduces the chance of cross contamination from the raw ingredients and your guests' serving plates.

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For the spicy soup stock base

  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 3-4 long dried Sichuan chillies or long dried chillies
  • 50g/2oz whole Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp chilli bean sauce (available from Asian grocers)
  • 1 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 1.7 litres/3 pints hot vegetable stock
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 6 dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 1 small handful dried tangerine peel (available from Asian grocers, or subtitute with the zest of 1 orange)
  • 1 large spring onion, roughly chopped
  • 250ml/9fl oz chilli oil
  • 2.5cm/1in piece fresh root ginger, peeled
  • 2 red chillies, de-seeded, sliced
  • 250g/9oz ready-made fish balls (available from Asian grocers) (optional)
  • 1 small handful Chinese cabbage, thickly sliced
  • 1 small handful deep-fried tofu
  • 1 small handful fresh tofu, cut into 2.5cm/1in chunks

For the vinegar, chilli and soy dipping sauce

For the Taiwanese dipping sauce

To serve