Thursday, November 25, 2010

Portable induction hob steamboat for winter season - chasing away the winter blues

With central London’s temperature dipping below 5C every evening, Wife and I are desperate for some warm dinner that is relatively fuss free and involves minimal cleaning after. We ransacked the storeroom and pulled out the portable Bistro gas stove that we purchased when we first got here. What more appropriate for late autumn/winter season than steamboat dinners?

Gas+stove+steamboat+London+winter

For the uninitiated, steamboats are essentially hotpots filled with pre-prepared soups. You can get chicken stock soup from the supermarkets or just stick with plain distilled tap water like me. The water has to be distilled or calcium deposits will be built up in the pot with extended boiling.


Essentially, the meal consists of whatever you could scavenge. Slices of meat (you don’t even have to season it), veg (carrots, maize, spinach, kalian etc.) and
even seafood (prawns, squid, fish slices, anchovies). Just add the ingredients into the pot of water/soup bit by bit. The soup would invariably taste flavourful as time goes by. Prepare your favourite dip and you’ve got yourself a piping hot meal, something that can be easily done without any culinary effort.

Back home, despite a year round temperature of 30C, steamboats are often reserved for special occasions. Over here in London, nothing is more welcoming on a wintry night than a hot steaming hotpot. The best thing is that the portions of food thrown into the mix can be easily adjusted according to the size of the dinner party. Imagine having a relaxing evening with your pals or family nursing a warm sake or cool beer with the hotpot bubbling in the background, fresh food ready in mere minutes. Think barbecue with less fuss and healthier to boot.

Induction+hotplate+steamboat+London+winter

The main drawback of the portable gas stove that we used is that gas canister itself. Not only it’s flammable, the stove’s naked fire doesn’t help matters. So we got a Judge induction hob instead. This electronic appliance comes with a temperature setting and is infinitely safer compared to the gas stove. Well, with that settled, I’m already looking forward to winter!

Have you tried a steamboat before? What did you have in it? Any other comfort food for wintry nights?

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7 comments:

Diana said...

I haven't tried a steamboat, but it sounds similar to what we English can Stew - cooked in the oven in a heavy pot for a long time with any ingredients that you have (within reason!). It is perfect for the freezing cold evenings, and the cooking of it also warms the house up and fills it with a really lovely warming aroma.

kyh said...

I lovvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeee steamboat! Lookin' forward to CNY where this is the main meal on the dining table. :D

C K said...

@Diana,
It's a bit different in the sense that steamboat doesn't require everything to be cooked at the same time like stew does. Picture a pot of hot boiling water placed at the centre of the dining table. Raw food can be added into the mix as and when you like it.

@kyh,
Yes of course! Any starters that you'll normally prepare while waiting for the water to start boiling?

Fat Fingers said...

I was going to get a steamboat but after reading your post, i've decided to just get an induction hob like you!

C K said...

@Fat Fingers,
:) Just a word of caution though, you'll need a pot meant for induction stove to use it. Otherwise, the induction hob won't fire up. It's a built in safety function apparently.

Actually, as long as a magnet can get stuck to your pot, that'll do.

William k Wallace said...

I have never tried a steamboat before, but the simplicity of it and the fact it doesn't seem to require too much effort makes it very appealing. Definitely sounds like winter time comfort food...

C K said...

@William,
Trust me, it is. I just had another session just now. If your dining room isn't too big, it doubles up as a heater as well. :)