An example of this communal broth, formed by adding ingredients and poaching them in the increasingly flavoursome broth.
Peel and finely chop the garlic, ginger and chilli, but keep separate.
Peel, trim and cut the carrots into 2-3 cm chunks.
Heat a large wok to a medium heat and add the oil.
When shimmering, add the ginger and chili and stir for 30 seconds.
Add the garlic and carrots and continue to stir for another minute.
Add the chicken stock, turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then down to a gentle simmer.
Cut the baby sweet corn in half lengthwise, through the cob.
Cut the mange tout into thirds.
Pick the stalks from the mushrooms and cut into slices.
Wash and drain the bean sprouts.
Drain the bamboo shoots.
Roll the pork mince into approximately 3 cm balls.
If necessary, dehead, devein and shell the prawns, the head and shells can be used to infuse the stock for extra flavour.
When the carrots are still firm, begin to add the other ingredients, beginning with the corn and the meatballs as these will take the longest to cook.
When the soup is nearly completed, add the noodles and allow to gently cook until 'glassey'.
Try to avoid breaking them as the length of the noodle is a symbol of longevity, glass noodles themselves are a symbol of a 'silver chain'
If available, season the ingredients with 'Sha-sa' sauce to finish, a traditional barbecue style sauce made with minced dried shrimps and chilli.
Finish the soup with soy sauce to taste and serve.
The symbolism in the food can come not only from the colour and shape, but by by it's 'homonym', or a word that has the same pronunciatin but a different meaning.
Here are the ingredients that we have used and their meanings:
Bamboo shoots: wealth
Bean sprouts: to your hearts content
Carrots: red color means good luck
Long noodles: longevity
Shiitake Mushrooms: longevity, sizing up opportunities
Pork mince: strength & wealth, rolled into meatballs also means reunion
Snow peas: unity
Sweet corn: growth and increase
Tofu, fried or freeze-dried:gold and wealth
If you choose to use tofu in your hot pot, cut the tofu into centimetre slices, this should be dried or fried tofu, which is a slightly yellow colour, this will not only be firmer to poach in the soup, but soft fresh tofu is also white , which is considered an unlucky colour denoting death.
«Traditionally, the ingredients are added to the pot to poach in the broth with either chopsticks or a slotted spoon for a 'Fondue-style' meal and eaten from the pot as they are cooked; the noodles go in last and are served with the broth to finish.»