Monday, March 14, 2016

Steamboat Party with the FoodNewsies!


It has been quite several moonths since I last hosted and cooked for my ex-colleagues so it was timely for this post-CNY steamboat edition. Moohehe.
Instead of dinner, we decided on a Saturday lunch slot and what a chill one it turned out to be! Yay. Steamboat also meant that the cooking was actually done by the diners so all I needed to do was prep the ingredients and soup base, and have a beer. Easy-peasy.
Speaking of soup base, my favourite one has got to be the Japanese dashi stock which is commonly used for shabu shabu. My family used to boil pork bones, carrots and cabbage for a few hours to get stock for steamboat but after I had introduced dashi to them, we haven't reverted back to the pork-based recipe. Moohehe.
Making dashi is simple, quick and yummy-umami. Only two ingredients are need- katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and kombu (dried kelp).
Below is the simple recipe I use for dashi stock.
1) Add kombu into a large pot of water and bring to just about boiling point.
2) Lower the heat and add a big fist-full of katsuobushi and simmer for about 15 minutes before turning off the heat. Do not let it boil.
3) Allow kombu and katsuobushi to steep for another 15 minutes before straining them. The basic dashi is now ready. 
1) The basic dashi stock can be further enhanced by adding salt, soy sauce and/or miso to taste. Because my family prefer lighter flavours and salt intake, we usually just use the basic stock on its own.
2) The strained kombu and katsuobushi can be used again in a fresh pot of water for a second less-intense stock.  
The beauty of using dashi stock is that it is very light and clean-tasting, allowing the natural flavours of the steamboat ingredients to be better appreciated. It enhances their tastes with a lovely umami note. Simply add meats, seafood, mushrooms, tofu, vegetables and udon for a satisfying steamboat meal.
The perfect tipple to pair with the bubbling steamboat is well.... bubblies! Moohehe. We cracked open these 5 bubblies and sipped our way through a refreshing Cremant D'Alsace, delicate Pierre Gimonnet Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs NV, biscuity Seppelt Salinger 2008, floral and snow skin mooncake-nose Bottega Rose Gold and lastly, a fruity and sweet Wolf Blass Red Label Moscato.
Needless to say, everyone was happy. :p Aiyah, we missed Marie in the group photo!

Good catching up with this bunch of former colleagues (and now foodie friends) who have been nothing short of supportive, sincere and wonderful teammates. Only folks who have been through shit challenging times together will understand this beautiful bond. A couple of drinks might also help. Moohehe.

Chew On This:
Another good part of eating steamboat is that the next meal is essentially a quick, tasty, dump-leftovers-into-a-pot one. Moohehe.

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