If you are a fan of Chinese food, or you’re looking to branch out and try something new, hot pot soup is one of the must-have Chinese dishes. The soup takes several ingredients and some effort to make, and you need to be careful to add the correct mixture of ingredients to get the best results. There are some things you must have to make your spicy hot pot soup worth the name.
Here is a list of nine spicy things to add to get the best hot pot soup base:
- Red chili peppers
- Bay leaves
- Star anise
- Black cardamom
This article expounds on all these ingredients to make the best spicy hot pot base. So let’s begin.
Ginger is a plant in the Zingiberaceae family; it has its origins in Southeast Asia and is closely related to species such as turmeric, galangal, and cardamom. People have used ginger for cooking and its medicinal values since time immemorial. The underground part of the stem is the one used as a spice.
You cannot make the best spicy hot pot base without this crucial spice. Ginger is very versatile, and you can use it fresh, dry, and ground, as juice or oil. It is also prevalent in processed foods and cosmetics.
Apart from its use to give flavor to your food, it has many more benefits to your body. People have used ginger in Chinese and Indian medicine for millennia, and ginger has many antioxidants that may help prevent or treat inflammation and some types of infections.
It also helps relieve nausea and vomiting, aids in digestion, and may decrease the risk of diabetes and other health problems. So, to get the best spicy hot pot soup base, ginger is essential not only for the flavor but the additional benefits too.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a bulbous flowering plant belonging to the genus Allium, with origins in Central Asia. Its loud, potent scent and flavor is similar to its close relatives – chives, leeks, and onions. Garlic has been used for cooking for its flavor and medicinal values for countless centuries.
Garlic has a chemical known as allicin that gives it its unique smell. Allicin is also the chemical that makes garlic work for some medical conditions. To make the best spicy hot pot base, you need garlic to give it a unique aroma and flavor.
Besides the fantastic flavor that garlic gives your spicy hot pot soup base, you also get additional benefits. Garlic has been used worldwide for a long time to treat many diseases, including:
- High blood pressure
Garlic also contains antioxidants that help protect the body against cell damage and aging, and it also reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. To get the best spicy hot pot soup base, always use garlic to get the best flavor and reap the medicinal benefits.
3. Red Chili Peppers
You cannot mention spicy and not talk about red chilies. Red chilies belong to the Capsicum family of plants, and they were first grown in modern-day Bolivia before making their way to the rest of the world. Red chilies are known for their hot and spicy taste. To make a yummy spicy hot pot soup base, you must include red chilies in your recipe.
Capsaicin is the main compound in chili pepper, and it gives the chili its distinct taste. There are wide varieties of chilies, and they have different intensities. Many dishes use red chili to add intensity. Many Asian dishes use red chili; however, you should be careful when testing different varieties as some may be too hot. When you test a very hot chili, do not take water; take a piece of bread or chips to absorb the heat.
Besides being a great addition to hot pot soup, chilies have additional benefits. If you want to lose a few pounds, chilies are good. They increase the rate of metabolism in the body and act as an appetite suppressant which helps in weight loss.
Chilies also help alleviate migraines; they are also known to bring relief to people suffering from ulcers. Additionally, chilies help in clearing running noses and scrambling pain signals. It’s another ingredient that’s spicy, tasty, and very good for you.
4. Bay Leaves
Bay leaves are sweet-smelling leaves from the laurel tree, with origins in India, used as herbs. Bay leaves are either used fresh, dry, or ground. Add bay leaves to slow cooking recipes, like soups and stew, and remove the leaves before serving.
For hot pot soups, use dried bay leaves as they have more fragrance than fresh ones, giving your hot pot the coveted sweet aroma. There are two main culinary bay leaves, the Mediterranean bay leaves, and the California bay leaves. Some varieties of bay leaves are poisonous, but you shouldn’t have to worry about them as they are not sold as culinary herbs.
Apart from giving your spicy hot pot soup base a sweet aroma, bay leaves have many additional health benefits. Some studies indicate that the use of bay leaves helps to prevent diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. Bay leaves also contain linalool, a compound known to help alleviate stress and anxiety.
Bay leaves also help to reduce inflammation, according to researchers. You will get a tasty, healthy spicy hot pot soup base and additional benefits with bay leaves.
Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices around. It’s obtained from the inner bark of several tree species of the genus Cinnamomum. You can use it as an aromatic condiment, and it is used in many dishes as a flavoring additive. The main component, cinnamaldehyde, gives it its aroma and flavor.
Indonesia and China produce most of the world’s cinnamon; it is, therefore, no surprise that it is used to make the hot pot, one of the most popular Chinese dishes. Apart from the delicious cinnamon taste, it has been used for its curative benefits. Cinnamon is made by extracting the inner bark of the cinnamon tree and removing the woody part.
The barks dry to form strips known as cinnamon sticks which You can grind to make cinnamon powder. According to a medical review, cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar, thus helping prevent diabetes. Some animal studies have also shown that cinnamon helps reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Moreover, cinnamon has prebiotic properties that help restore the bacterial balance in your gut and boost digestive health. Cinnamaldehyde, the main element in cinnamon, has been known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Studies show that it also helps in the short-term reduction of blood pressure.
Cinnamon is not only great for making the best spicy hot pot soup base but also offers great benefits to your body.
6. Star Anise
With its origin in China and Vietnam, star anise features an interesting shape that looks like – you guessed it! – a star. This spice is taken from the Illicium verum and dried. It has a sweet flavor and is a popular ingredient in Chinese dishes. Star anise is a must-have for hot pots. It has a seed in the star-shaped shell that gives your food a wonderful flavor.
Like the bay leaves, it gives flavor to your hot pot soup base. It is best to use bay leaves in slow-cooking dishes like soups, stew, and broths. You put the whole star anise in the pot and remove it when the food is ready. You may also use ground star anise in your dishes; just a small amount will give your food the sweet licorice flavor.
In addition to the strong, distinct, warm, sweet, and spicy flavor, you can derive more benefits from star anise. It is rich in bioactive compounds like:
- Gallic acid
- Shikimic acid
These compounds give star anise its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
Some animal research shows that star anise has anti-cancer properties, such as reducing tumor sizes. Star anise is also used in pharmaceutical research and product development and in manufacturing some antiviral drugs.
Star anise is the primary source of shikimic acid used to make medication for influenza. So, using star anise will not only make the best spicy hot pot soup base but also give you great medicinal value.
Cloves are an aromatic flower bud of the evergreen clove tree, Syzygium aromaticum. They originate from the Maluku Islands in Indonesia, and many consumer products use them as a fragrance. If you want to make the best spicy hot pot base, use cloves to give your dish an exceptional kick.
Cloves can be used as a whole and dried or can be ground. Cloves do not just give your food a pleasant aroma and spicy warmth; they also have many health benefits. They contain essential nutrients such as vitamin K and manganese, vital in maintaining brain function and building strong bones.
Additionally, cloves have antioxidants like eugenol, which help to reduce oxidative stress. Some test-tube studies show that some elements in cloves may decrease the growth of cancer cells. They are also known to have antimicrobial properties, and studies show that cloves help stop the growth of bacteria.
For most people, a savory recipe is not complete without onions. This is especially true for soups and stews, as onions add a ton of flavor to them.
Onions are in the Allium family with garlic, chives, and leeks. They have been around for centuries, and according to the Food and Agricultural Organization, China is the world’s biggest producer of onions. The major characteristic of onions is their strong smell, as anyone who’s ever chopped them can attest. To make the best spicy hot pot soup base, include onions in your recipe.
Onions cause watery eyes when chopping; however, these are not the only things onions are known for. They also have many health benefits. According to researchers, the risk of colorectal cancer was 79% lesser in people who consumed onions and other allium vegetables regularly. Onions are also a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps stop the formation of free radical compounds linked to cancer.
Onions also support collagen building and maintenance, essential for healthy skin and hair. Quercetin, a compound found in the onion skin, helps lower blood pressure, according to a 2019 review. Quercetin also reduces the signs of bladder infections and promotes prostate health.
Onions not only make the best spicy hot pot soup base, but they also help you maintain good health with their antimicrobial and anti-cancer properties.
9. Black Cardamom
Black cardamom is a spice belonging to the Zingiberaceae family native to India. Black cardamom grows in pods on herbs. The pods are tough, dry, and have wrinkly skin and tiny seeds inside. They have a powerful aroma with a citrus and eucalyptus flavor.
There are various black cardamom spices that you can use to make hot pot soup bases. The type popular in Indian dishes is Amomum subulatum; it is smaller than Amomum tsao-ko, used in Chinese dishes. There’s also Aframomum, an African variety. Black cardamom has a strong smoky flavor.
Black cardamom is not only suitable for making your best spicy hot pot soup base, but it also has additional benefits for your body. Some studies show that the daily use of cardamom can help significantly reduce blood pressure, and the antioxidants in cardamom highly contribute to this effect.
Black cardamom also helps alleviate several digestive disorders and supports fighting stomach ulcers. They are also helpful in oral health as they fight teeth and gum infections while keeping your breath fresh.
Black cardamom is also rich in vitamins that help keep your hair and skin healthy. The antioxidants help to rid the system of toxins and boost blood circulation, and they also help prevent scalp infections and provide proper nutrition to the hair.
To get the best spicy hot pot soup base, add black cardamom. It will give your food a fantastic flavor and numerous health benefits.