For those who are unfamiliar with this style of cooking, a brief introduction:
Steamboat begins with simmering stock to cook a range of raw (or pre-cooked) ingredients at the table. Everyone at the table participates and take turns fishing out their cooked treats. Various sauces are used for dipping.
Personally, I prefer a beaten raw egg with a little oil, soy sauce and chili. The egg helps to cool the food so that you can eat it fairly quickly.
Other names include hot pot or Chinese fondue. Many different cuisines have a variation of this and are known as Shabu shabu in Japan, Thai suki in Thailand and Lẩu in Vietnam.
It’s easy to overeat at a steamboat because you never really know how much you have eaten. So you cook a piece and eat a piece until you can’t do it any more.
Steamboat is usually a big social affair and with lots of people, there are usually lots of different dishes. This time it was just my parents, sister and The Koala and I for a mid-winter dinner. With only 5 of us, we still had a decent range of dishes. Salmon, beef, Chinese style pork and beef meatballs, deep fried wontons, tofu (2 kinds, chinese turnip, tong ho (chrysanthemum leaves), watercress and vermicelli noodles. My favourite part of the steamboat is the amazing broth at the end. This stock was enhanced with 3 kinds of meat, 3 kinds of vegetables and some other bits and pieces. Divine!
These delicious slices of beef only needed a few seconds of cooking so don’t lose your beef in the pot! Wire basket ladles are a good way to keep things in 1 position so that it doesn’t get “lost”.
For me and my family, steamboat is a social meal eaten at home in the winter. Although I there are a few in Auckland, I have never been to a steamboat restaurant. I guess it weird going to a restaurant to cook your own food. But if you want to try it and don’t want to buy a cooker for the occasion, then a restaurant is a good way to try out this dining experience. It’s actually through my parents’ steamboat restaurant experience in Hong Kong that my parents brought back with them the latest knowledge in steamboat cooking.
Deep-fried wontons was something I’d never seen at a steamboat before. If you cook the same things at home for 30 years, you might miss out on the newest steamboat craze.
Because everything cooks at different times, some ingredients get a head start so we can begin eating right away if we like.
Fat slices of salmon. Om nom. These are to be watched carefully so they don’t overcook in the steamboat.
- Getting the right balance of people can be tricky. More people means more variety. Less people means it’s easier to keep track of what is in the steamboat. Experiment to see what works for you.
- Try a variaty of dishes and sauces.
- Open a window or turn on the dehumidifier.
- Interacting with your food and your fellow diners. Cooking and eating together.
- Barely cooked tender slices of beef.
- The broth at the end.
- Melt in your mouth, just cooked salmon.