Hotpots: Sichuan hot and spicy and Black pepper with pork bone

How about celebrating Australia Day and cold days with a twist instead eating two separate dishes for the occasion. Let’s have Steamboat; it has sliced meats as well as salad and dessert with other CNY dishes to go with rice.

Checkout my Sweet and Sour tofu with vegetables, Kung pao chicken with capsicums; link is at the bottom. If you don’t want Hotpot, you can just eat rice with the additional recipes mentioned above. As it’s a day apart each occasion; make it a fun loving, cozy, reunion with family at home.

Steamboat as Malaysian and Singaporean would call it: boiling stock/ base until its bubbling, fresh ingredients cooking in it produced sweeten and have fragrant smell. It is a Chinese tradition, a meal where family and friends sit at a table and fill thinly sliced meats, seafood and vegetables into a boiling stock/base. Out there, others call it hotpot.

Little steamboat baskets are used as net for putting/scooping food into and from boiling stock and can buy from specialty Asian grocers. Chopsticks are also a helpful form of dipping utensil; but it’s not hygiene, using it and eating from it.

We serve hotpot in Malaysia not only on Chinese New Year’s Eve; with other traditional Chinese food as all family gather around the table for a delicious, comfort and satisfying meal. But anytime when family from overseas visit or when we do have holiday and family are able to gather together for reunion dinner.

I use a special hot pot for this dish; it has a cone in the middle like tagine cover and I cook it on stove instead of portable gas burner in the middle of table where everyone picks their favourite fresh ingredients using the little basket – keep it boiling and more flavour to stock. You can use normal pot but have to watch that the stock doesn’t dry up and keep adding water.

Back then in Malaysia, once a year having a pot of hot, bubbling soup loaded with lots of fresh ingredients and talking of memories old time is luxurious memoirs that had been going on in my family. It’s surprisingly to think about it; it didn’t stop us from eating hotpot despite its hot weather.

My family usually make hotpot during winter months, especially on cold nights. Normally, fresh ingredients is placed alongside the hotpot, where everyone have a bowl, steamboat little basket, saucer, and a pair of chopsticks to enjoy the meal.

Most Malaysian/ Singaporean hotpot uses two main ingredients: chicken stock and white pepper like my grandma would use. Nowadays, you can have all type of stocks ready for use in many Asian groceries.

The fresh ingredients I added are Napa cabbage and kai lan, fish balls, sliced lamb and beef, fried fish balls, fish cake, lotus roots, fried tofu balls, firm tofu, firm fried square tofu and mushrooms.

One of my sisters bought Basa fish fillets, my other sister made pork balls, my mother showed me her method of making garlic oil and my other sister brought steamboat little baskets and tongs. All the men set the table and in charge of beer, wine, soft drinks and minding kids. Let get cooking and enjoy the hotpot!!!!!


1/4 bunch Napa cabbage sliced
4 bunches kai lan (Stir fry with garlic separately and add in as individual like)
4-6 packets fish balls
4 packets of thinly sliced lamb
4 packets fried fish balls
3 packets firm tofu
3 packets fish cake
2 packets of thinly sliced beef
2 packets fried tofu balls
2 packets lotus roots
2 packets fried firm square tofu
2 packets shiitake mushrooms sliced
1 packet enoki mushrooms
1 packet oyster mushrooms
1 packet bean curd rolls
1 packet vermicelli (opt)
2-4 eggs (opt)

Garlic Oil

1 bulb garlic peeled and minced
5 tablespoons vegetables oil


1 pouch soup base black pepper and pork bone
1.5 L water
1 pouch soup base Sichuan hot & Spicy
1.5 L water
6-8 Tbs XO chilli oil


soy sauce
red cut chilli (opt)
XO chilli oil (opt)
Extra hot chilli sauce
tomatoes sauce


Add oil and minced garlic in a bowl, microwave 20 seconds a few times until garlic turn light brown. Let cool. Place Pots on medium to high heat with water to bring it to boiling point about 20-30 minutes. Add Sichuan hot & spicy stock, water and XO chilli oil – added next day. Do the same for black pepper and pork bone.

Once stocks bubbling, add Napa cabbage first and add some garlic oil on top cook for 2 minutes; Stir to mix well. Then add each ingredient into both Pots in batches – 1 packet of each fresh ingredients. Do not use up all the ingredients at once. The ingredients should be cooked in the hot pot in 2 to 3 batches – an ongoing dinner till your stomach is so full.

While waiting, fry kai lan with garlic and oil. Once cook transfer to plate. Leave in the middle so everyone can help themselves to it with the Condiment. As some people don’t want kai lan.

Ladle ingredients with steamboat baskets and use soup ladle for some soup into serving bowls and serve immediately. After you finish the first round, continue to cook remaining ingredients in the soup until all ingredients are used up. (You might need to add water – if stock dry up as you go along; so, have water onside).

Notes: You can get different kinds of fish balls in Asian supermarkets. They come in different shapes or form. They are all very tasty. I normally get combination fish balls – run out of stock so I use plain fish balls, and fried fish balls (round shapes).

Cut all your fresh ingredients and meat thinly except all balls. Peel and deveined prawns too; don’t remove head and tail shells. Arrange the fresh ingredients on plates. Arrange same kinds of ingredients on the same plate if you are using gas burner on the table and for presentations. You can make your own pork balls. I didn’t make them as my sister brought pork balls. You can omit ready thinly slices and roll up beef and lamb. I had them on as my brother in laws wanted lamb and beef.