Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The secrets to a superb steamboat!

Just one month ago, Stan invited all of us to his new place to have a steamboat gathering cum house-warming. It had been quite a while since we, the 4 Sickawans (modified from 4 sekawan, get it? :P) met up for a group outing. After all, steamboat is always a good choice for group outings because it's self-service and it's fun! For those of you who have not had a wonderful steamboat session before, let me share with you the secrets to a superb steamboat outing!

Look at our steamboat spread and soup! All that you need are on that table, well within good reach. :)

Steamboat spread

Behold... Secrets Revealed!

1. Magnificent soup
For those who are new to the steamboat idea, especially those from the Western countries, steamboat is actually a method of cooking where one boils his own food in a big pot of soup, shared with everyone else on the table. Then, when it's cooked and piping hot, you dip the food into any special sauce and put it inside your mouth and experience the burning sensation on your tongue. *LOL* The point to make is that, it is of ultimate importance that the soup is made from the best ingredients that you can find, because it will be the determining factor of whether your steamboat experience is zero or hero. Luckily for us, Stan is an awesome cook! He can whip up an amazing meal even with limited resources. :P Anyway, the soups that he prepared for us that night absolutely scored a home run, especially the one with tom yam paste.

2 different soups - Tom yam and chicken

2. Marvellous sauce
As I mentioned in Secret 1, after cooking your food, you're supposed to dip it into any sauce of your liking, to flavour the food before eating. For this special occasion, our dear friend and fellow Sickawan, chiaoju, actually took the trouble to prepare for us this amazing sauce. It was a mixture of garlic, cili padi, onions, vinegar, etc etc which was a great complement to our food. Chiaoju you should put up a post on how you prepared this sauce and share with us! :)

Special sauce by chiaoju

3. Variety of fresh seafood and meat
Of course, when you have the soup and sauce ready, the only thing left would be the food! It is of utmost importance that the seafood that you buy to be fresh! You wouldn't want stale fish flavouring the big pot of soup and spoiling the whole steamboat experience for everyone, would you? Look at the myriad of raw meat and vegetables that we prepared for the occasion! There were fresh fish slices and fish brain (eww!), squids, loads of different balls, (fish, meat and even stuffed balls!) crab sticks, sausages, variety of mushrooms, nicely cut slices of pork, and lots of vegetables.


Of course, you must not leave out the lovely dumplings (sui kow) that are filled with fresh prawns and meat too! They go very well with soup, especially the tom yam soup. :P Yes, I'm biased.

Lovely prawn dumplings

4. Reliable multi-cooker/steamboat pot
Getting the ingredients ready is not enough to guarantee a satisfying steamboat experience, unless you have a reliable and fast-cooking steamboat pot. Many people sometimes overlook this important fact and take things for granted, you see. There was a time I went to Cameron Highlands with my family and relatives and we were all looking forward to our steamboat dinner since it was so cold up there. It turned out that the multi-cooker that we brought up took such a LONG time to boil! Every time we put in some food, we had to wait for an eternity before we could see bubbles forming. So it really kinda spoiled the mood for some. Therefore, one must make sure the steamboat pot/cooker to be in good condition, like the one shown below. :) It boils like a darling, no kidding.

With ingredients

5. Fabulous company
Finally, when everything is in place, the one last thing to ensure a memorable steamboat experience is the company! It would be best if you could invite friends or family that you're most comfortable being around with. This way, you could eat your heart out without anyone judging you and have a great gossip session afterwards. :) My fabulous company that night:

Yen and Mei Kuan

Chiaoju and Hooiju

Chiaoju and witch

Stan the only picture I have of you is a topless one! :S Not advisable to put that in a blog. :P But Stan is the one who prepared the marvellous soup for us, so much so that he did not want to share his secret! :( I could only take a snapshot of the soup remainder in the pot. Stan, quickly tell me how to boil this soup!

Secret ingredients to Chicken Soup

There you have it! The secrets to a wonderful steamboat experience! I bet you are planning to have a steamboat outing soon eh? :)


huifen said...

yup yup.. i like steamboat too.. its fun.. but we dont have special sauce usually.. plus the thing i dont like is when there's still a lot left.. and no one help to clean up.. sad case..

Katetricia said...

Tempting tempting tempting ....Ignore ignore ignore...


You making me CRAVING for another round of steamboat...!!

Heard of porridge steamboat? It's really good too! *winks*

Bamboo said...

Unfortunately, steamboat and BBQ are not amongst my favourite food. They just take too long time to prepare, eat and clean. The food looks nice though...

iamthewitch said...

huifen: Yes, one of the most common mistakes of steamboat is buying too much stuff! Because everyone buys food for everyone, and there's such a huge variety, it'll end up having a lot of leftovers.

katetricia: Hehe.. yes I heard of porridge steamboat. Tried once as well, not that bad, but still LOVE tom yam!

bamboo: Steamboat takes the LEAST amount to prepare if you're talking about group gathering! Everyone just cooks their own food :P

jc said...

bwahahaha nice nice
can still remember the full-ness
my tum-tum bloated to the max hahaha
sorry for leaving early though :p

chiaoju said...

it was a nice outing. I've posted the recipe on my blog. :) check it out! haha...might be a bit ambiguous though...hahahha!

iamthewitch said...

jc: Haha i know! My tummy also bloated!! :P

chiaoju: Yes I saw the recipe! Hehe... Will try it out someday :)