I got bored of our regular meals so I made Chinese steamboat for the weekend dinner. For a large family like mine, it is not worth it to go for steamboat buffet because the total price for six persons is exorbitant and we get lousy quality of foods. Moreover, my sons all have their quirky picky food choices so it is a dread to eat with them. One only eat prawns. One eat only meats, not seafoods. One doesn’t like to eat. So, let’s have steamboat at home.
STEAMBOAT SOUP RECIPE
If you have really fresh seafoods and meats, you do not need any flavour enhancing soup. I boiled a pot of 2 liter soup using only chicken bones and Chinese long, white cabbage with a bulb of garlic and some salt and pepper.
What goes into your steamboat is entirely your choice. Usually, Chinese steamboat has a balance of meat, seafoods, vegetables like tang oh, mushrooms and whatever fancy fishballs you enjoy. I bought some really fresh garoupa, squid and large prawns. For the chicken and fish, I season them with a bit of cornflour, soya sauce and pepper.
I made some deep fried meat balls. You can use either chopped prawns or minced meat. For about a handfull of meat, add one egg and 4 tablespoon of flour. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Deep fry these tiny meat/prawn balls. The purpose of the flour and egg is to soak up the delicious steamboat soup.
I also bought some soyabean sheets which have been deep fried and crispy.
Usually, steamboat soup taste very flavourful towards the end. So, we added some noodles and egg for the ultimate enjoyment.
Sauces are very important as dipping sauce for the cooked meat and seafoods. However, my kids don’t take chillies so I didn’t bother. I deep fried some dried sole fish and pounded them. It is really delicious to scatter the sole fish on the noodle soup.
Basically, steamboat is really easy to make at home. The cost of my steamboat is probably below RM30 and I have huge, fresh prawns, really sweet and fresh garoupa and squids. Since it is an impromptu preparation, I didn’t have the time to grab some nice beef or it would have been much nicer.
When I was in Hongkong, they sell pre-packed steamboat soup in cartons, premade sauce packs which can be added to water to make the soup and all kinds of delicious seafoods imported from Japan like fresh oysters, scallops and other fancy items. It was so convenient to make steamboat because you can pick up whatever items you like and enjoy.
However, in Malaysia with such hot weather, eating steamboat is not so fun. If you go to one of those aircond restaurant, the place reeks of the fishy smell. If you eat al fresco, you sweat buckets.