Wanderings from Beijing Hot Pots to Asian Dumpling Steamboat in My Thirroul Kitchen

A favourite memory was definitely a Hot Pot Restaurant in Beijing where you select all your ingredients – meats, vegetables, sauces, noodles, dumplings and then steam at your table – see Pics 2 & 3. We’ve tried to recreate it back home in Australia for our Sunday night family dinners with Nan, who has always been adventurous with Asian foods.

Sometimes we’ve cooked Hot Pot at the table using our Swiss Fondue Pots – other times we’ve pre-steamed in a stainless stockpot on the cooktop & then transferred to the table. I generally like to use lots of Asian Greens, fresh prawns & sliced chicken with dumplings in a giant stockpot – especially in the cooler months. So plenty of leftovers later on for busy weeknights after soccer training etc.

I’ve been inspired by Steamboats in Charmaine Solomon’s encyclopaedic “Complete Asian Cookbook” & Kylie Kwong’s nostalgic “Recipes & Stories” (p 106-113) as well as “Heart and Soul” (p 180-183). Not to mention Tobie Puttock’s Beijing theme in the July 2008 issue of Oz Delicious Magazine (p75) – see also his Lifestyle Channel show. Interesting as Tobie Puttock is better known for Italian cooking, and not Asian cuisine.

I experimented with Kylie Kwong’s Steamboat from ABC, as well as Taste.com.au, Ho Mai’s & Australian Better Homes & Gardens suggestions….

in the end I developed my own Steamboat Stock

2 litres chicken stock
1 shallot sliced finely
1 tablespoon finely sliced lemon grass
2 teaspoons fresh ginger (crushed)
2 teaspoons garlic (crushed)
4 dried Chinese Mushrooms
shake of salt
6 Szechuan peppercorns
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce – more if you prefer
1 tablespoon Mirin
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 to 2 teaspoons Maggi Seasoning – Kylie Kwong’s “magic ingredient in her Delicious Fried Rice”

Add all of the above to large stockpot & heat till boiling

Add your choice of sliced vegetables – fresh – nb canned Chinese Vegetables will help in emergencies with unexpected visitors
fresh prawns – peeled, deveined and chopped into 2 to 3 pieces
thinly sliced chicken breast or beef fillet steak
dim sum / dumplings – again frozen varieties from specialist Asian Grocery Shops will help in emergencies with unexpected visitors

nb after cooking as above – remove the Chinese Dried Mushrooms from the stockpot and slice before returning to stockpot

Do not overcook – especially the veges and prawns

Usually we serve from the stainless stockpot at table & ladle into Chinese Rice/Noodle Bowls

When reheating for midweek meals – I ladle into a pot on the stove top & add sliced fresh bok choy and sometimes additional fresh prawns before heating gently until hot but not “stewed”.

Too easy after a busy day followed by soccer, Girl Guides (Scouts) !