My first thought after we finished our meal was, "Why haven't we done this before?" Thai tom yum hot pot has been on my to-do list since the beginning, but we missed out on years of amazing, easy hot pot because it wasn't a priority.
I would call this a Thai-inspired or Thai-flavored hot pot recipe, but a more authentic Thai hot pot, or Thai suki, would have a milder broth and a tasty dipping sauce. (Thai suki is on my to-do list.) In fact, in Thailand you add the sauce to your soup as you're eating, but that would make this hot pot uncomfortably salty and spicy.
You can use any tom yum soup recipe to make tom yum hot pot. Next time, I might add some coconut milk to the broth to make a tom kha hot pot. I love coconut milk and it dampens the spice while adding some sweetness.
Even though some of these ingredients might be a little unfamiliar to some tabletop cooks, let me make it very clear: This is a super easy hot pot recipe!
While you can make a passable tom yum soup with just the paste, I would encourage you to doctor it up with the extra galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. I took my cue from this Thai hot pot recipe from Danang Cuisine, but I used dried dried galangal, dried lemongrass, and dried kaffir lime leaves instead of fresh because that's what was available at our local grocery store during the holidays when everything else was closed.
You can buy these ingredients online if you can't find them where you live. Don't leave them out, though! Once you smell how fragrant these herbs are, and how indicative they are of Thai food, you'll understand why you really want to include them in your tom yum hot pot.
I tried to stick with the Thai flavor profile here, so we didn't add our usual Japanese fish-paste shapes to the broth. Instead, we cooked Chinese fish balls, meatballs and hot-pot-ready slices of pork and beef, and tofu. We also added lots of vegetables including corn, Napa cabbage, morning glory, straw mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms.
Cooking rice sticks or rice noodles in the broth would have been a more Thai way to end this meal, but we used udon noodles because that's what we had a lot of them in fridge and I really like udon noodles.
We used our electric hot pot to prepare this tom yum hot pot because it's so convenient to use and easy to clean. A traditional Thai steamboat would have been really cool, but we are in between steamboats at the moment. (We'll get one soon, and I'll use it when we make Thai suki.) Of course, you can also cook this meal on the table with a portable gas burner and a big pot.
Ingredients for the soup base
Optional: Thai bird chilis, chopped
Note: Add as many chilis as you like, but keep in mind that most of the heat comes from the seeds. Also, it is best to handle them with plastic food service gloves if possible. If you get any of the oil from the peppers in your eyes or your nether regions, you're in for a wild ride.
Hot pot ingredients
Here are the ingredients we added. Take them as suggestions and add what you like:
Cut and plate the meat and tofu. Wash, dry, and cut the vegetables. Arrange everything on the table so that each person can reach the ingredients and the hot pot.
Each person should have a bowl, some chopsticks, and a spoon. If you do provide dipping sauce or condiments, make sure everyone has a small finger bowl or sauce bowl. Make at least one ladle, some tongs, and a sieve available for everyone to use as needed.
Guests can ladle the soup from the pot into their bowls as they feel the urge. As the meal is winding down, add the noodles to the pot. When they are cooked, everyone can take some noodles to eat.
Or check our full recipe index for even more ideas!
Some of my favorite online stores might have just what you need for your next tabletop meal!
Asian Food Grocer has a great selection of essential ingredients and many hard-to-find items.
Cilantro Cook Shop has a great selection of quality raclette and fondue sets.
For The Gourmet has an amazing selection of cheeses and chocolates.
Sephra specializes in chocolate, caramel and fruit fondues... and fountains.