What are the must-have steamboat ingredients that must never be missing at a traditional Chinese New Year steamboat?
Here are five of our must-haves at every steamboat dinner, so make sure to buy them before their prices increase.
1. The essential meats.
Sliced beef, wagyu beef, mutton/lamb, chicken fillets, and sliced pork are the essential meats when it comes to a great steamboat.
The thinner the slices, the easier these meats cook – you can buy these in advance and store them in the freezer. Fancy some eggs for your steamboat session?
Instead of normal ones, try quail eggs – they’re unique and provide a different flavour.
2. All the mushrooms.
Out of all the mushrooms available, the enoki (golden mushrooms/金针菇) has gotta be my favourite. They taste absolutely divine with their crunchy texture. Other than that, there are also your canned button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms…and even the 木耳(black fungus mushroom). I personally find that mushrooms go well with spicy steamboats – not to mention that mushrooms have unique health benefits which everyone would appreciate as well.
3. Your seafood assortment.
There are SO many fishes you can choose from – from the grouper to the tilapia, you’ll never run out of options. If you’re an adventurous seafood lover, you can even try out mussels, cuttlefish, clams and fish maw.
Fish maw, in particular, is a delicacy, although preparing it needs some work. To avoid the infamous fish maw“smell”, soak them in water until they’ve gone soft and fluffy.
Abalones are seen to be auspicious and are a common favourite. Consider some yong tau foo too. If you’re feeling up to it, you can even hand-make your own fish balls or wontons with your secret ingredients – people will love you for the personal touch.
4. Your vegetables,‘cuz you need greens.
When it comes to steamboat ingredients, the greens are the most important. Pretty much all vegetables work well with a steamboat, but vegetables like tang oh, baby bokchoy, yams, potatoes, tomatoes, lotus roots taste fantastic in a steaming pot of boiling soup. White radish, in particular, is a great ingredient as it helps “sweeten” whatever broth you’re having, and corns are always a traditional favourite. Also, don’t forget your tofus!
5. Where them carbs at?
Some believe that noodles are a symbol of good luck and longevity – so if you’re serving noodles, don’t cut them up! Noodles are great for filling up your stomach (just in case the other ingredients haven’t been doing that for you), and they’re nice and easy to consume. There are many different noodles for you to try out, but I personally love tang hoon as it’s the smoothest.
Other tips: if you practically live off spicy food, then don’t hesitate to sprinkle a healthy dose of chilli padi over your concoction. Or maybe you can head out and get some of those ready-made dipping sauces to liven things up.
Don’t forget your drinks – some iced tea or beer works wonders with steamboat (but if you feel that indigestion is incoming, have some green tea instead).
Otherwise, eat up and enjoy!
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