Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Seafood Balls and Veggies Hotpot (Steamboat)

Hot pot style of preparing and eating food is not only satisfying but also fun and fulfilling. Apart from the fact that hot pot is a truly tasty stew and soup dishes combined into one which, due to increased level of excitement in the preparation, could cause diners to somehow over-eat and feel really full afterwards, it is also a source of personal fulfillment and pride. The participation of the diners with the associated form of control in the cooking process somehow provides a feeling of accomplishment or achievement of sort, both in the dish and in the meal.

Hot pot or steamboat refers to several varieties of stew in a metal pot prepared at the center of the dining table. It consists of a simmering broth or stock and many other ingredients cook right on top of the table. While the hot pot is simmering, typical hot pot dishes such as thinly sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg, dumplings, noodles, seafood and various types of Chinese balls are placed into the pot and cooked through and then eaten with a dipping sauce.

This is among our favorite Chinese food and usual orders whenever we are dining in a Chinese seafood restaurant, either in the Philippines, here in Sri Lanka or elsewhere in Asia. On several occasions, we have also tried this at the comfort of our home using electric rice cooker and even conventional pot and single burner stove. This is quite easy to do and a constant hit to families and friends. This is worth doing whenever you have time especially during the rainy and cool season when piping hot soup is the preferred meal by everyone.

Through the years, we have tried many variations. One particular version which we really enjoyed and have been doing often is the use of different types of Chinese balls, particularly seafood types, and some select vegetables. When in countries where there are an abundance of Chinese balls like in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, the Philippines and Singapore, this is very handy and relatively inexpensive. So you can enjoy it as much as you want.

Some colleagues prepared this dish while in Singapore. They were deeply elated by the numerous types of available seafood balls they chanced upon in the supermarket such as shrimp balls, crab balls, prawn balls, fish balls and many more that they immediately decided to re-create hot pot in their house.

To prepare this seafood steamboat we need the following ingredients: 1 pack each of the following Chinese balls - crab, cuttlefish, prawn, fish, tofufish, "siomai" and dimsum or any other flavors you want and several types of real fresh vegetables such as - 1 pack abalone or oyster mushroom, 1 pack round spinach, 2 packs baby corn and 1 medium head broccoli, again you are at liberty to use any other veggies you like. Additionally, we need a handful of glass noodles or “sotanghon”, 1 pack of soup base for seafood hotpot, a bottle of lime chili sauce for dipping sauce and several cups of stock or water.

If you have eaten hot pot before then you know the process is fool proof and very easy. Arrange your cooking implement on the table. If you have a hot pot and a single burner stove or better yet profane or portable butane fueled stove then it should not be difficult. Alternately, you can also use electric or induction version cooker/hot pot or even rice cooker but boil the stock first in the oven for faster action.

Pour the stock or water in the hot pot and let to boil on medium heat. Add in seafood soup base and taste the broth. Season it with salt and ground pepper, if still necessary. Add in different types of Chinese balls in batches, depending on the number of diners. When the broth is boiling again and balls are partially cooked add the vegetables and noodles, also in batches.

Simmer until the balls and veggies are cooked through. Transfer to individual bowls, slather with the tasty broth, serve with the dipping sauce and start eating with friends and family. :-)

Like the “kabuteng mamarang” soup, the broth of this dish is distinctly tasty. I am a big fan of Chinese balls, mushroom and broccoli so this dish is like heaven to me. So invigoratingly yummy! Enjoy! c“,)


  1. really superb.... yummy and will ask for another bowl.



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