Monday, 30 March 2009

navire à vapeur

Ok ... pretensions aside ... on Saturday we had the old gang over for Steamboat!!

quel est le sens de navire a vapeur?? (oops I think I just butchered the french language - c'est abominable!!)

Well Steamboat is a chinese dish that is very much like a fondue with stock. You may also be familiar with the nipponese variant called Shabu Shabu!! Essentially you have a pot of simmering stock at the centre of the table, and your guests choose from a variety of raw ingredients which they can put into the stock to cook. At our home, everyone gets their own individual wire baskets and fat arse soup spoon..

I love doing Steamboat, because prep work is sooo easy for this. Although the longer you cook the stock the better. Everyone has their own version of this stock, although the mainlanders prefer theirs a little sweeter, peops in singers prefer theirs a bit more robust, more porky!!

My stock includes pork bones, chicken carcasses, loads of ginger, spring onions and coriander, and at the very end, the addition of prawn stock, made simply from fried prawn shells:

prawn shells being fried
main stock simmering away

Our usual raw ingredients are beef, pork, prawns and an assortment of chinese leafy including choy sum, bok choy, chinese cabbage and crinkly chinese lettuce, along with shitake and enoki mushrooms. We also scored some baby squid - $5 a tray - SUPER!!

The raw meat/fish ingredients I usually marinade in a mixture of pounded ginger, finely sliced spring onions, sugar, soy sauce and chinese cooking wine. The vegetables don't require any preparation apart from washing and cutting and the assortment of fish, squid and beef balls just need to be plonked on a serving plate.

So we spent most of the afternoon veg-ing out while the stock slowly simmered away on the stove. And when our guests arrived and were enjoying pre-dinner drinks outside, we laid the table:

Steamboat is not a quiet meal - it can be very territorial ... "don't mess with my basket of goodies" "get your own" "hey thats my fishball" ... the louder the better ... and of course while you're waiting for your food to cook there's plenty of time for liquid libation!!

  Happy hoarsed-voice and inebriated punters all round.


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