Uuhhhh fresh seafood?? And hot steamy chicken broth simmering in front of me... and the steam rushing through my nostrils screaming STEAMBOAT time!!!!
Similar to the Western Fondue, here is an Asian fondue.. well, my version of the infamous hot pot, that is. I guess this is more Chinese - the use of chicken broth and quail eggs besides the fresh selection of meat such as thinly cut chicken and seafood.
Today is dad's birthday and he wanted mum to make steamboat. So here is dad's steamboat for lunch! I helped mum prepare some of this and it really takes the whole morning, from waking up to be the early birds to the fresh local market to the time we put everything up on the dining table. The effort was not wasted - we rarely make steamboats but when we do - everyone LOVES it.
One of the first we prepared : The chili sauce. Using fresh red chilis, garlic, and a little ginger, all blended smoothly and cooked with a dash of sugar and salt. Later, a ton of chopped garlic (well maybe not really a ton but it felt that way during chopping it...) is fried until brown and crispy. This is added to the chili sauce when you are about to eat. This also adds a nice flavour to the chicken broth!
Raw meat does not look appealing to me at all. I don't really eat raw... but here goes. As steam boat is all about cooking a selection of fresh dishes on the dining table itself, it's best to have really fresh, clean meat on the table. So all the chicken, fish, squids and prawns are cleaned and cut to small pieces.
Kinda expensive to get everything together, especially if you are serving a large guest list... what more during the coming Chinese New Year... but dad catches the fish and prawn so - we are lucky to save some $$$ here!!!
Besides meat there are fish balls, tofu, cute quail eggs, noodles and vege to make steam boat more interesting. With all this, I just couldn't wait to throw everything in the hot pot and eat them!
As out dining table seems to be getting smaller with the hot pot sitting in the middle of it, I could not be bothered to put each item in separate bowls... so you can see the fish balls are best friends with the eggs here. And the prawns are with the tofu? Not my idea but think of it - you're gonna throw everything in the hot pot anyway!!
Mum says steamboat is not steamboat without fresh yummy squids. Well, there are 2 types of squid here - small fresh ones and the dried big cuttlefish which is soaked in water to become "fresh" again. AKA sotong kering as we call it in Bahasa Malaysia. Surprisingly I like the squid in the hot pot!
My favourite of all - and I guess the attention went to the minced beef with green onion won tons, proudly wrapped beautifully by myself. hehe... Who says beef does not taste nice in wrapped won tons??? The minced beef is just a small little portion wrapped in the won ton skins, and it cooks easily in the hot pot.
With all the meet and poor tofu alone, the fresh green salad is here to add some green in the hot pot. Mum loves vege, and salad are perfect for this dish - they are crispy, even when lightly dipped in the hot broth.
As the whole family arrived, we started putting the items in the hot broth, covering it for a few minutes until it boils, and share around the good food and the good fun - many many rounds of it.
That is what steam boat is about - sharing and cooking together, and enjoying good food.
Happy Birthday Daddy. We had a great fun lunch today.