"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.
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.