The perfect party on a cold, cold night.
Steamboat is quintessentially Chinese. A group of friends surrounding a pot of simmering stock - sharing food and chatting away their worries. There are no rules, and preparation time is minimal. You can get as much ingredients as you want to go with your preferred stock. And the best part? Your guests can't blame you for lacking cooking skills.
Can't decide on one stock? Get a split steamboat pot. Ours is filled with delicious homemade chicken stock and spicy prawn stock. Chicken stock is made by simmering a whole chicken with ginger and spring onions for 45 minutes. Spicy prawn stock is made by stir-frying 1.5 kg of prawn shells and heads with Malaysian sambal, and then simmering them in water for 2 hours.
If you can be bothered, make some dumplings for your guests. Otherwise, the pre-made variety from most Asian grocers is also fine.
The dumplings are simple to make. A concoction of pork mince, garlic chives and fresh shitake mushrooms flavoured by the usual suspects - soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and white pepper. Leave the marinated ingredients in the fridge for a couple of hours before wrapping the dumplings.
To cater for the carnivorous, buy thinly sliced pork belly and good quality beef from your butcher.
Radicchio is not exactly Chinese, but they are only 1 dollar and look pretty next to the crispy iceberg lettuce.
My guests also enjoy this United Nations of fish balls from a fishmonger in Cabramatta. Colourful and delicious, they also give us a bonus MSG-kick afterwards.
MSG is offsetted by a healthy dose of fresh button mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, firm tofu and tofu puffs.
The seafood section is also represented by fresh prawns from the market - deshelled, deveined and butterflied. Mussels, scallops and fish meat are also suitable.
Let's dig in, shall we?