Friday, August 20, 2004

Steaming the night away: Part 2

Winter is almost over and yet we havent managed a decent steamboat or hotpot together. A get-together was much talked about over the past few months but nothing has been done. To cater for everyone's request, it was decided that steamboat might just do the job with minimal effort needed by the hostee.

Just in case you were wondering, the requests on get-together were:
- cheap
- somewhere nice and comfy
- somewhere where we could chat long time
- yummy food

♥ foodies date: 07 August 2004
♥ where: k's place, st leonards

We had clear broth pot and kimchee pot last time. So we wanted something different. This time, we had only one pot since we only had 7 people attending and that we all can fit snugly at the dining table.

At first we were thinking of doing a tom-yum broth but that, we did it a long time ago.
3 girls scratched scratched scatched their heads.
Nothing inventive came out.
Brain cells and creativiness were down.
Oh well. Let's go shopping and we shall see.

So shopping it was we went (right after yumcha at fookyuen). We discovered satay broth from the Campbell Soup Swanson broth range! It's specially for hotpot too. We have never tried a satay hotpot before so satay steamboat it is this time. Now, shopping is really therapeutic. *grin*

We used one whole pack (1 litre) of the satay broth in our first pot. It said on the pack that the broth can be used straight from the pack without diluting. We found the broth a tad too thick so we decided to dilute it in a 1:1 ratio with water. We were worried that the thick broth might be just a tad too thick as a hot pot broth and could have an adverse effect on our appetite. If we had 2 pots, then we might have used the broth without diluting.

♥ Warming up the broth
Notice how the broth has a creamy caramel colour. Some veggies were chopped up and added into the satay broth. Bring it to a boil on the stovetop and let simmer until all veggies are soft and tender. This is done before serving it on the table. By doing so, the sweetness from the veggies are able to dissolved into the broth.

In the pot were:
chinese cabbage (tian jin bai cai)
Dried chinese mushroom (soaked before use)

♥ cute chinese cabbage
I can't help but to show you how cute the chinese cabbage we bought. It was so cute that we didnt want to 'kill it'. But alas, our hunger won over our sympathy so the chinese cabbage was granted a new life in our hotpot.

♥ chinese pork and cabbage dumpling
In fact, the cabbage ended up with 2 new life. One bathing in the satay broth, the other one in the form of chinese dumpling. There was simply too much cabbage leftover, so we decided to make pork and cabbage dumpling.

On the left was the pork mixture before adding in the cabbage.
On the right was freshly made dumpling. You can plonk them into the hotpot too to warm it up a bit but we just ate it as it is. We also had another plate of pan-fried dumpling. No pic here. I was too busy eating to snap pics.Tthe plate of pan-fried dumpling was snatched up really fast and we all reckon it tasted a lot better than just its normal boiled peers.

One of the best thing about having hotpot is the amount of time needed in preparation. We only started preparing about half an hour before dinner. Off we went chop, chop, chop. Cut, cut, cut. It was simply a matter of washing up veggies, slicing and chopping them. With the ready-made food, simply took them out from their plastic packages and arranged them nicely on plates!

♥ hotpot ingredients #1
Clockwise from top:
Tofu-fish ball (dou fu yu)
Cuttlefish ball (met yu yun)
Sliced zucchini
Baby corns
Canned bamboo shoots

♥ hotpot ingredients #2
Clockwise from left:
Deep-fried beancurd (dou fu pok)
Mushrooms of all kinds: oyster, enoki and button
Fresh silky beancurd

♥ hotpot ingredients #3
White: fish dumlping (laurel brand)
Yellow: egg dumpling (laurel brand)
Red: seafood stick
Orange (top left corner): chinese fish cake

Of course, we also have very thinly sliced meat. The beef is a must-have at all steamboat. The chicken was there because one of us dont take beef. We skipped pork and lamb this time. We would love to have seafood in our steamboat but our theme this time is a low-cost get-together. So seafood was out.

♥ Satay hotpot
When everyone has arrived, we plonk the pot onto our electronic burner.
Chuck what you want to eat.
Wait until the pot starts boiling.
Then dig in!

Another good thing about steamboat is you are able to pick what you like and want to eat and just cook them.

The satay broth didnt have much of a satay taste. We must have diluted it too much. So we added another half a pack of satay broth, undiluted, half way into our pot. The soup turned thicker yet the satay taste was not very distinct. We were slightly disappointed but this did not dampen our spirit to enjoy the steamboat. Afterall, this is an occasion for everyone to meet and be merry! Let's not ruin it with something this tiny.

The steamboat was followed by yummy dessert: bubur cha-cha. it's a nyonya sweet delicacy of taro (yam) and sweet potato that has a thick coconut cream flavour. It's extremely easy to make. While shopping we discovered ayam brand coconut milk now comes in pandan flavour! wow. That saves us the time to go hunt for pandan leaves.

The dinner bill came up to $8.60 inclusive of everything from drinks to desserts. not to mention We had a large pot remaining and half a pack of meat not finished. So i guess it's not too bad.