How To Make Soup For Your Shabu Shabu At Home

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You can make shabu shabu at home! Also known as a hotpot in Chinese cuisine, this Japanese method of cooking is a cook-and-eat-at-the-table dining experience.

What's great about this dining concept is that it's doable to recreate at home. All you need are a few specialized equipment and ingredients to make your dining experience just as delicious at home as it is at a restaurant.

The equipment you need to make shabu shabu at home is usually a specialized pot that commonly has sectioned parts in the pot itself. This is placed over a flame or heating pad to keep the pot and its contents hot and the broth simmering while you're eating. This simmering soup effectively cooks your ingredients. 

Photo by Shutterstock

The shabu shabu ingredients list can be a long list but the wonderful thing about this is that it doesn't need to be. Pick and choose your favorite dipping ingredients and multiply it! Love the beef? Order a kilo for your eating satisfaction! Need fresh mushrooms? Chop those up and have it swim the broth to add its umami-packed flavor in every sip you make. 

If you're new to the shabu shabu eating experience, you can start off with or choose from this list of common hotpot ingredients: 

  1. 1 thinly-sliced meat (beef and/or pork) 
  2. 2 seafood (fish fillets, shrimps, crab legs, etc)
  3. 3 meatballs (squid balls, fish balls, crab balls, beef balls, etc.) 
  4. 4 hearty greens (bokchoy, napa cabbage, etc)  
  5. 5 fresh mushrooms (shiitake, enoki, button, etc.) 
  6. 6 tofu
  7. 7 carrots, camote, and other root crops
  8. 8 noodles (sotanghon, vermicelli, etc) and steamed rice 
  9. 9 sauces and dipping sauces
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However, this isn't complete without the broth or soup base, and it's this that will not only cook your food but also flavor it as well. There are two ways to go about it: use a premade soup base for hotpots or make it yourself.  


1 Use a premade soup base pack.  

You have to love these packs that remove the effort of having to buy numerous ingredients. There are two popular soup base packs that you might want to try. There may be other soup packs on the market but a few have not passed the FDA standards of quality assurance

Photo by Lee Kum Kee

The line of Lee Kum Kee soup bases is a basic soup base. Each is already a well-balanced and flavored sauce that you dilute in simmering water. The seafood is particularly flavorful since it contains dried scallops while the pork soup base is simmered pork bones. Add a touch of freshly ground black pepper to enhance its flavors even more.

Photo by Haidilao/Lazada

The Haidilao soup base packs are led by its signature tomato soup base, a tangy red broth that's perfect with a fish and seafood themed hotpot. It's also got a spicy soup base called Mala or numbing. This spicy concoction is made with green and red Sichuan peppercorns along with a variety of chili peppers. It's the Sichuan peppercorns that give it that spicy, numbing sensation that make it so unique. 

Lee Kum Kee soup bases (starting at P46.20/50-gram pack) are available at the international section of your local major supermarkets as well as on Lazada and Shopee. Haidilao soup bases (starting at P120/200-gram packs) are available online at Lazada and Shopee

2 Make the soup base broth from scratch. 

The soup can be as simple as a stock cube or granules dissolved in water. The ingredients that you add to the soup later will eventually flavor the soup. However, there are some who prefer an already flavorful soup base even before ingredients are added. This is where you can become creative. 


Take your cue from your favorite Filipino and Asian recipes. Here are tweaked soup base recipe ideas to try: 

  1. 1 Tinola is a simple chicken soup with ginger slices.
  2. 2 Bulalo is beef broth with corn and sometimes cabbage.
  3. 3 A pochero-inspired broth can be a pork broth with tomato sauce stirred in for added tang and flavor.
  4. 4 If you want a thicker soup base, add coconut milk and bagoong for a laksa-inspired soup base. 
  5. 5 Stir peanut butter into pork or beef broth for a slightly soupy kare-kare soup.     
  6. 6 Add lemongrass to the soup for a regional taste and sampaloc or tamarind for a kansi soup. 

Do you have a hotpot waiting for you to use? Take advantage of your pot, and make a delicious meal and a unique dining experience at home that you might only get at a restaurant. 


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!


Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here.


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