“Hot pot cooking is easy,” assures Amy Kimoto-Kahn. “It has unlimited variety and embodies Asian culture.” Plus, she says, you don’t have to follow recipes to a T to make a great meal. At least not the recipes she includes in her new The Asian Hot Pot Cookbook, released last month by Tuttle Publishing.
A Boulder-based author, personal chef, mom, and model (she graced the cover of this magazine in January 2023), Kimoto-Kahn shares that hot-pot cuisine is super approachable, and it can be enjoyed by anyone who cherishes sharing a warming meal of hearty soup with family and friends—so, basically, everyone. And, she says, it’s a quintessential Asian dining experience—a complete one-pot meal that can be customized for anyone.
Inspired by Asian hot pots from across the region, the book includes a variety of recipes for broths and sauces— the foundation of any good hot pot—spanning not just Japanese-style dishes, but also Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, and more. “I was influenced by the spices and local ingredients found in these countries,” she says, developing her recipes by bringing together some of her favorite Asian ingredients. In the book, she also offers guidance on the essential equipment you’ll need to get started, plus some recipes for side dishes and desserts inspired by the flavors of the region.
Her cooking style is both accessible and user-friendly, highlighting ingredients that are readily available and easy to find at local grocery stores or online—even to those with little experience in Japanese cuisine. While the beautiful dishware, intricate knife cuttings, and attention to detail may be part of the beauty of Japanese presentation, the core ingredients are actually quite simple—so following her recipes is easy-peasy as can be.
As a yonsei, or a fourth-generation Japanese-American, Kimoto-Kahn is proud that her cultural heritage remains strong. “Our Japanese traditions and culture have been passed down through generations,” she shares. “My mom cooked Japanese food quite often, and we always had steamy, fluffy Japanese rice in a rice cooker at the ready.”
Ultimately, it’s the communal nature of hot pots that led her to create this book. “Hot pots are meant to be shared at the table, with family and friends helping themselves from a communal pot,” she says. “It’s such a fun way to bring people together.”