Growing up travelling to and from Hong Kong, I have formed a special connection to the flavours and aromas of Chinese food. A steamboat combines the flavours and aromas along with special family time. This is a fantastic family meal – one to share and interact in a relaxed and non-rushed manner. A way to share food and thoughts at the same time. A steamboat is a simmering metal pot of stock placed in the centre of the dining table. The stock is kept simmering. Ingredients are added to the stock by each individual and cooked. Ingredients usually include deli-thin sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, dumplings, noodles and a variety of seafood. Here’s my take on this nutritious and healthy meal. Oh, and you get to drink the soup as well – full of all the nutrients from the ingredients cooked in it! Gather your family around you and enjoy!
Lay everything out and let everyone choose what they would like to cook. A great way to please everyone because they can cook only what they like to eat. And the chef gets the night off cooking to enjoy everybody’s company. It is traditional to place the steamboat in the centre of the dining table. However, because there were going to be thirty of us, it was simpler to lay everything out on my kitchen benchtop. The two steamboats were placed on the gas stovetop to heat. Everyone still cooked for themselves only at the stove instead of the table. Notes: I used my home-made chicken stock but you could use beef or vegetable and if pressed for time you could use a good quality store bought stock. You will need some chinese ladels for the soup and also some wire basket spoons to scoop out the cooked meats etc. Also, Chinese soup spoons for drinking the soup and of course chopsticks for eating. These are readily available at asian food stores and may even be found at Coles. The steamboat itself is available in a gas or electric version and is available from asian food stores. Use a variety of fish and seafood, whatever is on special at the time. You could also use un-shucked clams or mussels, pippi’s etc.
Enjoy the steamboat over several hours and allow people to come back for seconds and/or thirds! This is a meal to be savoured slowly and has the added benefit of being light and healthy. Enjoy!
images: Linda ~ Pleasures of the Plate