It is a Chinese tradition to have steamboat/hotpot (or some people here call it Chinese fondue) with the entire family for the New Year's Eve dinner. It is probably the most important meal of the lunar year, and the biggest even prior to the New Year. Like almost anything about Asian cultures, it is all about food, and the reunion dinner kickstarts this 'omnomathon'.
Dumplings are a staple at any new year's steamboat because their dumpling shape resembles gold ingots. There are also raw meats and veggie to cook together, and it is always a lot of fun. We don't have hot pot, so we used the 'cook' function on our rice cooker to keep the soup simmering while we eat, and surprisingly, it worked out fine.
This year, we welcome the year of the water dragon and we decided to hold a small steamboat dinner at our place. It was a cosy affair with two other friends from around the area, but we had a lot of fun.
Ingredients for Stock
- pork and chicken bones
- green onions
- cilantro stems
- pork and cabbage dumplings
- marinated pork
- marinated chicken
- marinated beef
- bok choy
- tang hoon (mung bean vermicelli), soaked in cold water
- steamed rice
Ingredients for Dipping Sauce
- soy sauce
- sesame paste
- sesame oil
- peanut butter
- cilantro, chopped
- chives, chopped
- garlic, minced
- chili paste
- black vinegar
- To cook the stock, add a bunch of pork bones and chicken bones to the pot with the stalks of green onions, garlic and cilantro.
- Fill the pot with water, and let this come to a boil. When the stock comes to a boil, lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for 30mins to an hour.
- Skim away the scum on the stock surface to get clear stock.
- Pour the stock into a hotpot, and cook the raw meats and other ingredients thoroughly before consuming them.
- I let my guests concoct their own dipping sauces. The traditional dipping sauce is soy sauce, but my family likes satay sauce while I often concoct mine with garlic, soy sauce, sesame paste and sesame oil.
- Have fun, and Happy New Year!