On a trip to Malaysia, I was introduced to a dish called Chinese Steamboat. It is very much like a fondue or hot pot, with a large pot on a burner in the center of the table in which everyone cooks their own food.
I found that it's also a perfect dinner when you're in a hurry because most of the cooking is done at the table. The vegetables and meat are dipped into chicken stock to cook and then dipped into a savory sauce. To finish the meal, the hearty broth is poured into soup bowls with the dipping sauce and eaten like soup.
To serve this dish in the Chinese manner, you will need a fondue pot with a burner or a sauce pan placed on a portable electric or gas burner. An electric frying pan or wok would also work.
Failing that, you can still enjoy this meal using the alternate directions below.
This meal contains a total of 569 calories per serving with 15 percent of calories from fat.
Fresh Chinese noodles can be found in the produce department of most supermarkets. Dried Chinese noodles can be used.
Buy sliced carrots in the produce section.
A quick way to chop ginger is to peel it, cut it into small pieces and press through a garlic press with large holes.
Wine suggestions: This recipe uses the typical, spicy Chinese flavorings of ginger and soy. With it I like wine with a hint of sweetness -- say, an off-dry chenin blanc or a California gewurztraminer, or even an extra-dry (which is to say slightly sweet) sparkling wine.
32 ounces fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced onion
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1- 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 medium peeled shrimp
1/4 pound Chinese or Napa cabbage
1/4 pound button mushrooms
1/4 pound Chinese noodles
6 tablespoons low-salt soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
3 scallions, sliced
1 inch piece fresh ginger, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
Place broth in saucepan with carrots and onions. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove fat from chicken and cut into strips about 2 inches by 1 inch. Place in bowl and mix with sesame oil. Place the bowl on platter large enough to hold all ingredients to be cooked. Slice shrimp almost in half lengthwise and spread open. Wash cabbage and slice on the diagonal in 1-inch pieces. Wash and quarter mushrooms; cut into sixths if large. Place shrimp, cabbage, mushrooms and Chinese noodles on platter and set on the table. Mix sauce ingredients in a soup bowl and pour half into a second soup bowl. Place in front of each diner.
To cook: Place heating unit on heat-proof mat on table. Pour boiling broth into fondue pot or electric pan and place on table; the broth should continue to gently simmer. Using chopsticks or fork, each diner adds chicken, shrimp, cabbage and mushrooms to the pot, removing them when they are cooked (about one minute). (Note: use separate forks for raw chicken to eliminate any chance of salmonella contamination.) Remove pieces as they are cooked, dip them in sauce and eat them. When the platter is nearly empty, add noodles and remaining vegetables to pot and cook about 5 minutes, until noodles are cooked through. Ladle into bowls with remaining dipping sauce and eat as soup. Makes 2 servings.
Alternate directions: In a saucepan, bring the broth to a boil and add the carrots and onions. Simmer 10 minutes. Prepare all other ingredients. Add noodles and remaining vegetables to broth. Cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken and cook about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook 1 minute. Divide the dipping sauce into two large soup bowls and pour the soup over it.
Per serving: 569 calories (15 percent from fat), 9.6 g fat (1.9 g saturated, 2.9 g monounsaturated), 178 mg cholesterol, 57.1 g protein, 66.7 g carbohydrates, 7.2 g fiber, 1989 mg sodium.