Having steamboat in cold places is a fun thing to do. When I was in HK during the winter months, I made steamboat almost everyday. It is so convenient there because having steamboat seems to be the Hongkies favourite past time. You can buy everything from the supermarket. Seafoods from Japan like scallops, oysters and lobsters. Crabs from China. Beef from Japan. Imported foodstuffs are cheaper there compared to Malaysia.
Eating steamboat in Malaysia is no fun. Before you start eating, you will probably be sweating already. By the time you start savouring the hot soup and foods, you will feel like exploding. I do not like enclosed, air-conditioned restaurants because the ventilation is bad and the whole place smells.
But, having steamboat in a cold place like Cameron Highlands is nice. So each time I go to Cameron Highlands, I will bring my electric steamboat along. Usually, we stay in service apartment which provides basic facilites.
With just a power point and a coffee table, our steamboat session is ready. Everyone sat on the floor, enjoying the view from the balcony.
I am impressed that my Canon A10 camera gives me such clear photo. There is nothing fancy in our steamboat as we can only get basic stuffs like chicken and some fishballs. However, the joy is in crowding there on the floor, around the steamboat with the kids. It beats eating in crowded restaurants filled with loud tourists. Moreover, I use only the food we like and can have them in any portion.
RECIPE FOR STEAMBOAT
Boil for an hour or more the followings:
3 liter water
Chicken bones and ikan bilis
1 clove garlic
1 head Chinese white, long cabbage
Carrots/corns or any hardy vegetables to provide sweetness
Basic food stuffs good for steamboat
Chicken meat, slice thinly (season with some salt and pepper)
Vegetables – best choice is the chrysanthemum like vege called ‘Tang Oh’
Mushrooms – any type of mushroom is lovely
Fish balls/sotong balls/anything
Tofu, fried tofu pok
If you do not have a proper steamboat, any pot will do. Use an electric or gas stove. Otherwise, even a rice cooker can do the job.
Scoop out the soup stock and put into the steamboat. Let it boil and start cooking the food.
Usually, at the end of the cooking, add in noodles like yellow noodles/green pea vermicelli or beehoon. By now, the steamboat soup will be rather salty but tasty. Knock in eggs to cook with the noodles.
Serve the steamboat with cut spring onions, chilies, soya sauce, chillie sauce and garlic oil.
TOMYAM SOUP VERSION
If you like a spicy soup base, use the same method to boil the stock.
2-3 stalks smashed lemongrass (serai)
4-5 kaffir lime leaves (daun limau purut)
6-7 bird eyes chillies
Juice of several limes (sourness according to taste)
Tomyam paste (recommended type – those paste in bottles)
Having steamboat is a nice way to bond. Chinese usually have steamboats on the eve of Chinese New Year. Everyone can sit down and cook their own meals while chatting.
I highly recommend our non-Chinese friends to try making steamboat. It is a whole new way of eating.
….coming next, my own barbeque on the balcony