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AA Gill's final column for Gourmet Traveller

We mourn the loss of a treasured member of the Gourmet Traveller family who passed awayon December 10, 2016. British writer AA Gill was a contributor to the magazine from July 2004. Gill’s travel column was as insightful as it was witty, funny as it was thoughtful – he was without peer. This is the final piece he wrote for Gourmet Traveller; it appears in the December issue, 2016. - Anthea Loucas Bosha, Editor

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Coconut crab and green mango salad

"This salad bursts with fresh, vibrant flavours and became a signature on my Paramount menus," says Christine Manfield. "I capitalised on using green mangoes in many dishes as they became more widely available. Blue swimmer crabs from South Australia have the most delicious sweet meat. It's best to buy them whole, cook them yourself and carefully pick the meat from the shell - a tedious task but it gives the best flavour. This entree also works well with spanner crab meat (you can buy this in packs ready cooked from reliable fishmongers). The sweetness of the crab, the richness of the fresh coconut and the sourness of green mango make a wonderful partnership. It's all about harmony on the palate and using the very best produce."

Steamboat


"It's your steamboat and you'll steam if you want to," says Dan Hong. "This list of ingredients is just a guide. It's the stuff my family likes to have when we eat steamboat and there are usually a lot of us. Scale up or down the amount of options according to your taste or budget. The main thing is making sure your stock is perfect; the rest is up to you. I don't know the origins of supreme stock, but it's also known as superior stock. It's the base for shark-fin soup, and since shark-fin has very little flavour, the dish is nothing without a tasty stock. Supreme stock is also the basis of many other great soups, so this is a good recipe to perfect. It's traditionally made with Jinhua ham in China, the Chinese equivalent of prosciutto, while the rest of the ingredients vary. Mr Wong's recipe uses smoked ham hocks because they create that extra dimension of flavour. We also use dried shrimp and scallops to elevate the umami. Boiler chickens are fantastic to make stock with because they have a more chickeny flavour. Big flavour equals tasty stock. Jow Yu and I came up with this recipe at Ms G's and I've used it ever since. It's a winner. For the steamboat, it's developed into seasoned supreme stock. Things you'll need on the table: a portable gas burner, perforated ladle, soup ladle, a couple of pairs of little tongs and chopsticks." The supreme stock takes eight hours to cook, but can be made ahead.

You'll need

1 packet konnyaku noodle bundles (see note) 500 gm cooked fresh egg noodles 200 gm fried tofu puffs (see note)   Seasoned supreme stock 2 boiler chickens 2 smoked ham hocks 1 kg chicken bones 500 gm chicken feet 100 gm dried shrimp 100 gm conpoy (see note) 2 onions, peeled and halved 5 spring onions, trimmed 6¼ tbsp flaky sea salt 95 gm caster sugar 200 ml konbu extract (see note)   Seafood 15 raw king prawns, peeled, with heads and tails left on 1 kg blue mussels, washed, beards removed 1 kg calamari, cleaned, saving the tentacles, tubes scored and cut into 5cm pieces 20 scallops   Meat 500 gm wagyu Scotch fillet, thinly sliced 500 gm beef balls (see note) 500 gm chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2cm cubes and tossed with 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp sesame oil   Vegetables 400 gm shiitake mushrooms, stems removed 300 gm enoki mushrooms, separated 150 gm washed chrysanthemum (tong ho) leaves, including stalks (see note) 1 bunch garlic chives, snipped into 10cm lengths 3 baby bok choy (pak choi), quartered 20 fresh baby corns, halved lengthways

Method

  • 01
  • For supreme stock, put the chickens, ham hocks, bones and feet into a large stockpot. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. As soon as it reaches a rolling boil, drain the ingredients into a clean sink, discarding the water. Wash everything under running water to remove impurities and clean the pot. Start the process again by filling the pot with the washed chickens, hocks, bones and feet and covering with cold water. Bring to the boil. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface using a fine sieve. Reduce the heat to low and bring to a slow simmer. Add the dried shrimp, conpoy, onions and spring onions. Simmer for about 8 hours, skimming occasionally. Strain and refrigerate. Stock can be frozen for up to a year or refrigerated for up to 4 days. For seasoned supreme stock, bring 5 litres of supreme stock to the boil and add salt, sugar and konbu. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your palate. Keep warm.
  • 02
  • Arrange seafood, meats and vegetables on separate platters. Have another platter for the konnyaku, egg noodles and tofu puffs. Steamboat is all about presentation, so be sure to fan everything out neatly on large platters like an abundant feast.
  • 03
  • Put stock in a large saucepan that is wide and shallow so everyone can keep an eye on what they’re cooking. Put the saucepan on a portable gas burner in the middle of the table. Turn the burner on high and bring the stock to the boil.
  • 04
  • Here comes the fun part: everybody puts what they want in the stock and cooks it themselves. Just be careful not to forget what you’ve put in – the seafood and wagyu beef will take less than 5 seconds. The broth will accumulate more and more flavour as the ingredients cook.
  • 05
  • Have a range of condiments for diners to flavour their bowls of broth. Soy sauce, chopped fresh chillies, fish sauce, XO sauce and lemon wedges are all good. Customising your dipping sauce is the best thing about steamboat so everyone should have a bowl and a dipping-sauce ramekin.

Note Konnyaku noodles, fried tofu puffs, conpoy (a dried scallop product), beef balls and chrysanthemum are available from Asian grocers. Konbu extract is available from Japanese food shops; simmer a large piece of konbu in the stock as a substitute. This recipe is from Mr Hong ($49.99, hbk), published by Murdoch Books and has been reproduced with GT style changes.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 - 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 - 10 people

Drink Suggestion

A light, fresh white with a dry finish – an Australian riesling such as KT Peglidis Vineyard Watervale, Clare Valley.

Featured in

Nov 2014

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