4 Hai Di Lao-Style Steamboat Soup Bases To DIY At Home In Minutes

Hai Di Lao hotpot soup recipes

Nothing beats a hotpot meal which involves everyone in the cooking process, while filling the table with smiles, laughter, and most importantly, good food. But making a hotpot broth from scratch at home with loads of depth and flavour is no easy feat, and can take hours. While instant soup stocks are a welcome addition, their flavour might lack that oomph and homeliness, and are often saturated with sodium.

Inspired by the soups at Hai Di Lao, we’ve come up with 4 recipes that are easily replicable at home. Tasting similar to the real McCoy, these lip-smacking soups are bound to satisfy the whole family.

P.S.: When shopping for ingredients, DBS/POSB Cardmembers can take advantage of the current Groceries promotion, where you can get a sure-win gift of either cash credits or e-vouchers simply by registering on the DBS Lifestyle App. Read on to find out more.

1. Sichuan Spicy Ma La Soup

Yield: Serves 6
Cooking time: 15 minutes

This fiery soup is not meant for the faint-hearted, but spice lovers would surely demand for this at every steamboat meal.

Start by frying the ginger in oil. This simple hack greatly amplifies the soup. The garlic, star anise and cinnamon stick also lend a rich and robust flavour that simply cannot be found in instant soups.

The complex nature of ma la means that making it at home would be a highly challenging task. Save yourself the hassle and get a hot pot base from the supermarket instead. Each brand is made with its own secret formula so don’t be afraid to try out as many as possible and pick your favourite from there.


  • 1 packet spicy hot pot soup base
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 whole yellow ginger, sliced finely
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 pieces star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2L chicken stock or water


  1. In a large pot on medium heat, cook the ginger with the oil for about two to three minute to release its flavours.
  2. Add the garlic, star anise, and cinnamon stick. Cook for an additional two to three minutes. At this point, the kitchen should be full of the rich aroma of spices.
  3. Add in the hot pot soup base and fry for another minute or so, mixing thoroughly with the spices.
  4. Add in the chicken stock or water and bring the soup to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and serve in a steamboat.

2. Mushroom Soup

Yield: Serves 6
Cooking time: 15 minutes

This vegetarian soup is bound to be a hit for everyone at the table. A medley of mushrooms is used to produce a rich soup with an intensely earthy aroma. I also like how the mushrooms can be fished out and eaten afterwards.

Cutting the shiitake finely results in a greater surface area for the mushroom to dispense more flavour. Feel free to add as many mushrooms as you like. I simply used a packet of each mushroom in this recipe for a nice balance.

Goji berries, or wolfberries, give a slight bitterness that adds complexity and depth to this tasty soup.


  • 150g shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 100g enoki, separated
  • 150g oyster mushrooms, separated
  • 150g shimeji mushrooms, separated
  • 2L water
  • 2 tablespoon goji berry


  1. In a large pot on medium heat, add in all the ingredients and bring them to a rolling boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and serve in a steamboat.

3. Tomato Soup

Yield: Serves 4
Cooking time: 45 minutes

Fresh tomatoes are used to give a pleasant sour tang to this addictive tasty soup. Be sure to add in a good sprinkle of sugar – this helps to balance the soup’s acidity.

Gently sweat the garlic and onion in oil to fully extract their sweet flavour. Be patient with this step and you’ll be rewarded with an aromatic and robust soup base.

Adding in tomato paste gives a strong and intense boost of umami to the soup.


  • 7 medium-size tomatoes
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2L water
  • Salt and white pepper to taste


  1. Cut four of the tomatoes into quarters and the cherry tomatoes lengthwise into halves.
  2. Slice the other three tomatoes into wedges and reserve them as a garnish.
  3. In a large pot on low heat, gently cook the onions and garlic in vegetable oil until softened. This should take around 10 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste, sugar, and gently cook it with the onion and garlic mixture for another two minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cherry tomatoes and gently crush with a spoon while stirring occasionally. Cook for another five minutes
  6. Pour the water and bring the soup to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  7. Add in the wedged tomatoes and serve in a steamboat.

4. Chicken Soup

Yield: Serves 6
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This nourishing and 100% natural chicken soup is made using an entire chicken instead of bones. This fortifies the broth and gives it an added level of finesse. The meat can also be shredded and used as an additional form of protein, saving you on extra ingredients.

The classic trinity of onions, carrots, and celery takes this dish to the next level. There’s no need to chop them up finely, as a rough chop is enough to impart a whole lot of flavour.

Skim occasionally from time to time. This removes the fats and impurities, giving the soup a beautiful clear consistency.


  • 1 whole chicken, roughly chopped
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 3 large celery sticks, diced
  • 8 crushed garlic cloves, crushed


  1. Place all the ingredients together in a large soup pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for 1 hour. Skim the stock occasionally with a spoon.
  2. Strain the stock through a fine strainer and serve in a steamboat.

Get a sure-win gift when you shop for groceries with your DBS/POSB Card

All the ingredients you need for these DIY Hai Di Lao hotpot broths can easily be found at supermarkets islandwide. You’ll even be able to receive cash credits to offset the costs, or get foodpanda, Toast Box, or Chope e-vouchers when you pay using your DBS/POSB Credit or Debit Card.

All you have to do is:

  1. Download the DBS Lifestyle App (iOS, Android)
  2. Register for the DBS Groceries Promotion – registrations are limited, so be quick!
  3. Shop for groceries using your DBS/POSB Card and hit your spend goal
  4. Receive a push notification to within 2 days of meeting your spend goal, and click “play” on the promotion tracker within the app
  5. Find your sure-win gift in your coupon wallet

If you’re preparing for a huge family feast, set a higher personalised spend goal and aim for a bigger reward. This promotion will be running from now till 31st October 2019.

Find out more about DBS’ grocery promotion here

This post was brought to you by DBS.
Photo credit: Tan Wen Lin.

Suphon Liao

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