I had a steamboat (also known as Chinese fondue) party recently... hmmm in actual fact I'm pretty reluctant to post this up but never mind lah I suddenly feel very generous to divulge our family secret recipe to a great steamboat stock!
With our simple and easy recipe (well if you think it's a recipe at all hahaha) you can forget about toiling over in the kitchen preparing a large pot of stock of the usual chicken carcass or meat bones!!! Can you imagine all the cleaning, blanching, more cleaning before boiling the bones for hours... on top of the washing, cleaning and cutting of steamboat ingredients, you get the drift??? Urghhh... Fret not, so here I am sharing our family secret recipe which will no longer be secret after I click Publish Post button *giggle*
The secret ingredient used for the stock is *tada* dried squid! All you need to do is wash the dried squids (I guesstimated for about 4-5 litres of stock, I've used 2 medium sized ones), then soak them with some water (roughly around 500-700ml, just enough to soak in everything) for a few hours until soften. Then gently remove the squids and save the water cos this WATER is your STOCK base! Yup, as simple as that! You can strain the water if you find some impurities inside. Next, pour this stock base into a stock pot and add in more water (to how much you think you'll need). Boil it then add salt to taste. You can now pour this stock into your steamboat pot. Simple or not?
We find this stock is the best as the chicken/bones stock clouds out all the seafood and steamboat ingredients. This stock will produce a very clear and sweet taste. Try it and do tell me what you think. Oh, there is another item which is essential in our recipe... deep fried shallots (lots of them) oil. Now, with these 2 basic ingredients... you can fly now (literally).
We usually have some sort of rules when it come to having steamboat. First, we will try to avoid too much of those processed stuff made out of fish paste. Usage of chicken and pork meats; and seafood are encouraged. You can use innards too but since I don't know how to handle them, I've omitted them. Second, the first couple of rounds after adding the ingredients, we tried not to scoop and drink up the broth (but it's so hard to resist haha). It is these ingredients that will lent a natural sweet taste to the broth, hence I usually eat last cos the broth will be the best by then. Also, try not to add too much stock as you go along as this will dissipate all the sweetness and goodness of the broth.
Enough with the basics, let's see what kind of ingredients I've prepared for this time.
Fish fillets which has been marinaded with some shallots oil and soy sauce.
Chicken meat, I've used the thigh parts. Mix in some soy sauce, shallots oil and wee bit of cornflour. Let them marinade in the fridge.
Did the same with some lean meat. I bought a pack of pork shouder slices meant for shabu-shabu and just left them as it is.
Some seafood like prawns which I've kept the shell on as this will enhance the taste of the broth, sliced the softened dried squid and I'm not sure why I went and buy a bunch of lala (clams) which is not a very great idea so don't use them. Had wanted to get some scallops and mussels but can't find nice succulent ones. For the prawns, I will always remove the sharp front and end with a pair of scissors as it's pretty dangerous to stuff them in the mouth trying to remove the shells. Check out the pics below on which part to remove.
Had some obligatory fish balls and processed fish products - this round I've the large Hock Chiew ones with pork in the centre, meat ball with dried octopus, seafood tofu, "flying saucer" (a named most of coined due to its shape but I think it's known as fish wanton) and etc.
Sidekicks of mushrooms and some vegetables like chrysanthemum leaves (tong hoe in Cantonese, which sort of like tasted better in such occassion) and iceberg lettuce for guests who don't fancy the strong flavoured chrysanthemum leaves.
Instead of rice, bee hoon or yee meen; we find it is the better to have loh shue fun to be served with the ingredients and broth. Just blanched the noodles quickly in hot water and drain them. Set aside and let guests scoop as much as they want.
Kicking off the meal, we'll have the stock boiling before adding the ingredients that take longer time to cook. Scoop some shallot oil in together with loads of the fried shallots Cover and wait for it to boil. Scoop out ingredients and eat with assam chilli sauce dip that one can find in the wet market specially made for steamboat. Next round, add more ingredients and shallots, cover and wait for them to be cooked. Just repeat until all ingredients are exhausted or all stomachs are filled to the brim heh! *Burp*
Steamboat parties are one of the party I favour as we get to chat whilst waiting for the ingredients to be cooked, guests can pick which ever item they wanted, eat and stop when they liked, best of all, as a host, there isn't much running around nor preparation at our end. Fantabulous isn't it??
Pardon for the blurry pics as I had to do the job quickly before the guests arrive.
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