All together now…

A steamboat dinner certainly seems very popular these days for the Chinese New Year’s Eve reunion dinner or the one on the night of Chap Goh Meh, the 15th Day on the Chinese lunar calendar and other occasions. For one thing, I guess it symbolises togetherness as everyone is involved in the cooking (or throwing everything into the boiling soup) and at the same time, everyone will be eating from the one same pot.

I remember when I was young, my family would join everybody at my maternal grandmother’s house for the New Year’s Eve dinner (31st December) and during the day, my mother would join all the rest in the preparation. I remember there would always be steamboat – the traditional style with hot burning charcoal…and I loved it when whoever that was slicing the canned abalone (now over a hundred ringgit or more a tin) would let me eat a piece or two. Yummm…it was so fragrant and so very sweet unlike the ones that we may get these days at the restaurants.

Nowadays, with the electrical ones, it is easy to have a steamboat dinner or party anytime but the purists would insist that it is not as nice. Anyway, I have one in the house and we had steamboat earlier this week for Chap Goh Meh. My problem was that my mother is allergic to prawns and all crustaceans so that ruled out quite a number of things that I could include…and besides, both my parents cannot eat meat – they find it too tough and they are not able to chew so I had no choice but to use minced meat instead.

First, I prepared the stock by boiling a whole lot of meat bones with lots of garlic in a big pot of water and let it simmer to get the sweetness into the soup. In the meantime, I got ready all the things that would go into the steamboat…

STP's steamboat 1

- quail eggs, tofu, bean curd sticks, tang hoon (glass noodles), young baby corn and golden needles mushrooms.

I also fried some stuffed tau kwa (bean curd cake) and rolled some minced meat balls and I had fish balls too…

STP's steamboat 2

…but I did not bother to go through the hassle of preparing my own.

I bought some sea cucumber, beef tendon and fresh fish fillet…

STP's steamboat 3

…and I also boiled some of the seaweed noodles that I received sometime ago but I can’t for the dear life of me remember who sent it. Was it you, Yee Ling or was it somebody else? Gosh! Old age is certainly catching up fast and my memory is no longer as good as it used to be, it seems.

Of course, there must be some vegetables – and I had some local lettuce and cabbage for the steamboat that night…

STP's steamboat - vegetables

…and I had to chop the garnishing – spring onions and daun sup (Chinese celery)…

STP's steamboat - garnishing

…and my missus made this out-of-this-world chili dip to eat everything with…

Mrs STP's chili dip

So that was what we had that night at my parents’ house…

STP's steamboat

…for Chap Goh Meh - just a simple steamboat dinner, no doubt, but at least, we got to preserve the age-old tradition that is steeped in meaning and significance…and the members of the family who are around here had the chance to sit and eat together during this auspicious occasion and that was what mattered most.

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17 thoughts on “All together now…

  1. D meat ball looks nice….
    For me I always have thin slice of pork…..
    D chili dip should b d perfect combination.. Red n spicy….
    So many quail eggs.. My wife forbid me as it is one of d top cholesterol food

    I’m good at rolling balls… Oops!!! Muahahahahaha!!!!! Ya…my dad would always grumble about quail eggs,,,but never mind. Never eat them normally, just when having steamboat and that’s once in a blue moon. ;)

  2. quail eggs are nice to have in steamboat… great food great company,that’s what life is.

    Looking forward to that when all of you are here. ;)

  3. wow! look exactly like the one outside! even the sauce! haha
    hmmm well for my house tradition, chap goh meh usually will cook the “zap cai th’ng” or “boey cai th’ng”, something like a sour soup with mixing all in, so usually the ingredients would be all those the leftover from those chicken, pork etc etc for praying one.
    and steamboat is like a new thing to my house. hhaha
    hmmm, i also got short term memory! =( u gotta eat more ginko!

    Oh? Sounds like there are great cooks in your family? Nyonya? Oh?….Praying? I thought you’re Christian – since you have a very English name… ;)

  4. a little sick of steamboat now, because we have steamboat for reunion dinner every year since more than 10 years ago without fail.. and not only that, in order to clear the stock we normally have steamboat for few consecutive days during CNY, hahahaha!! but of course yours is slightly different, ours is teochew style~~ :p

    Hah!!! I took care not to prepare too much – we finished the bit left over the next day…and besides, we seldom have steamboat – can’t stand the heat so it’s all right. Hmmmm…I wonder what Teochew steamboat is like.

  5. oh you did steamboat too! so did I! haha, my first steamboat reunion dinner with the wife’s family.. just pretty sad mum couldn’t make it that time, but all is well now, thank god :)

    Ya…I saw that in your blog. That was for CNY Eve. What did you have for Chap Goh Meh? Just the two of you in KL, I guess or did you go back to Penang again?

  6. my family used to have steamboat on cny eve. easy to prepare and cook! and everybuddy will sit together waiting patiently for the pot of stuff to boil! and conversation going here and there. <3

    Yes, would be nice for a cordial gathering…without the hassle of running here and there and serving and refilling and what not.

  7. Wow!!…all the things for steamboat looks yummy. Always nice to have simple dinner together with great company of family members.

    Would be nicer of we could have prawns and crabs and since everybody else wasn’t a big eater, I made sure I did not prepare too much. Would have added more stuff otherwise. :(

  8. Wow, long time I did not have steamboat. This makes me drool. Ipoh got really good steamboat but I have yet to find one that I like in KL.

    I had one at Cameron – charcoal but just so so although I must say it was perfect for the cool weather up there….and I had the eat-all-you-can BBQ steamboat in Penang. Very nice. We have that here too but the buffet spread isn’t really great. :(

  9. Very nicely done! I like that you take the trouble to arrange everything nicely..very senonoh. I didn’t know that on the 15th day of CNY, people would get together to celebrate. My family don’t have this tradition although we invited some friends over this year for some bbq. Talking about quail eggs, it is Justyn’s favourite but so susah to beli in NZ. We do have them but only in gourmet deli and so expensive….cheaper to buy abalone!

    Oh? They’re cheap here… You can buy and smuggle them back next time you come and remind me to buy lots for him to eat. Ya…I memang very senonoh one, you should know that by now. Hehehehehehehe!!!!!

  10. I had that during the CNY… but yours is so neatly arranged.. not like ours… just “campak” there only. :)
    Hope you are not so exhausted now… take care.

    LOL!!! Presentation’s important also mah… ;) Ya…all’s back to normal now, thank goodness.

  11. We love steamboat, we had it quite often at home.

    Every Chinese New Year, me and hub sure will have steamboat at home once, since most coffee shop still closed and we don’t know what to eat. Steamboat is the most easier.

    Wah! All the ingredients so nicely arranged! Just like those serve in restaurant.

    Hehehehehehe!!! Must have a bit of style mah. ;)

  12. Aahhh, steamboat – lovely! I like steamboat, and it’s always so nice to ‘steal’ what someone else has put in to cook, heh heh! Wah, your pre-cooking display is so senonoh, and even when it’s cooking in the pot, also so senonoh – one section for eggs, one section for tofu, one section for noodles – memang senonoh. I love this word, senonoh. The word sounds quite ‘naughty / hiao ‘, when said in a different tone. Try it… ;)

    Dunno how to sound different… Must have a naughty person to say it…so I ‘ll wait till I meet you in person and then you say it to let me listen. LOL!!! :D I would say that generally, I’m a neat person…everything neatly arranged and placed. ;)

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