With the Chinese New Year fast approaching, it is an excellent time to attack the supermarkets to stock up on the fresh foods. The best foods must be on this sumptuous yearly event. The centerpiece of the reunion dinner is undoubtedly the steamboat or hotpot meal. A tip: you can prepare steamboat throughout the year.
There are a number of reasons as to why a steamboat makes an ideal meal at any social gathering. It is quite easy to cook, involving a healthy dose of logistics (read: ingredients) and not much cooking expertise. Anyone can prepare a delicious meal. You can also vary the quantity of food prepared by the simple variation of the ingredient quantity.
The principal attraction of a steamboat party, other than the food, is the dish’s easy promotion of bonding and interaction. You and your family members or friends can sit around your table as long as you can, letting the food cook slowly. It also helps that steamboat is a healthy meal, as it is prepared in a hot broth. The food is the furthest away from being greasy. You also have the advantage of selecting any ingredient for the hotpot based on your budget and personal preference. It could be simple or sinfully lavish, with ingredients like abalone and lobster.
You need about eight ingredients to cook up a sinfully delicious steamboat.
- Soup bases: These can be divided into three types- home brewed, ready made or plain broth. The home brewed, as the name points out, can be made by you. The outcome depends on your personal taste. The ready made takes the advantage of instant stocks. You should focus on a particular theme, like tom yum or kimchi to give it character. The plain broth is made with boiling water, sweet corn and carrots. The broth will taste sweet at the end of the meal.
- Sliced beef or pork: These should be thinly sliced and are perfect for steamboat. Do note that since the meats are thinly sliced, they will cooked within a space of few seconds after they are dipped into the hot broth.
- Fish and other different meats: The list of eligible fish includes salmon or white fish. You can also put in boneless chicken fillet and sliced pig’s liver.
- Seafood: The list of popular seafood for steamboat include prawns, abalone, imitation crab stocks, fish maw and pacific clams. You can add mussels and other seafood items like crayfish, oysters and squid.
- Vegetables: Garland Chrysanthemum or tang oh is popular when trying to make this dish. This vegetable is abundantly found during Chinese New Year time. Other popular vegetables are napa cabbage and baby bok choy.
- Mushrooms: There are a diverse number of mushrooms that can be dunked in the hotpot. Examples include hon-shimeji, shiitake and button. If you prefer, you can also put in canned button mushrooms. Enoki mushrooms are a gastronomic favorite.
- Non-meats: These include tofu, tomato, daikon, carrots and corn. Eggs are also put in at the end of the cooking process.
- Carbohydrates: A few hold te belief that cooked rice symbolizes good luck during Chinese New Year. You can also use long strand noodles.
Wash down the steamboat with warm sake or any liquor like vodka or choya. For tropical places, accompany this delicious meal with ice cold beer.