Most Asian countries make some sort of large seafood hotpot and Malaysia is no different. It is a wonderfully warming, exotic dish that should be shared.
350g dried rice vermicelli noodles
2 litres chicken stock
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp grated palm sugar
250g skinless white fish fillets, such as cod, ling or pollock
250g cleaned squid bodies
250g medium prawns
250g fresh clams (or about 10 mussels), cleaned
125g choi sum
a handful each of fresh Thai basil, mint and coriander
red chillies, sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges
Soak the noodles in a bowlful of hot water for 10-20 minutes until softened. Drain well, shake dry and set aside.
Pour the stock into a large saucepan set over a medium heat. Add the fish sauce and sugar and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat but keep warm.
Next prepare the seafood. Remove any bones from the fish and cut into 2.5cm cubes. Open out the squid body by cutting down one side and score the inside flesh with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern. Cut into 2.5cm pieces.
Peel the prawns, leaving the tail section intact. Cut down the back of each one almost in half and pull out the black intestinal tract. Wash and dry the prawns and set aside.
Trim the grey muscle from the side of each scallop and set aside.
Arrange all the seafood, cooked noodles and choi sum on a large platter on the table.
Place a portable gas burner in the middle of the table and pour half the chicken stock into a smaller saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer (keeping the remaining stock warm on the stove). Place the bowls of garnishes next to each guest along with a serving bowl and noodles.
Using tongs, the guests can then cook the seafood and choi sum in the hot stock, which will become increasingly flavoursome. As the food cooks, spoon it into the serving bowls with some noodles and a little of the stock and top with fresh herbs, chillies and lime juice. Top up with more stock as required.
Extracted from Ramen (Ryland Peters & Small, approx €11.50). Recipe by Louise Pickford. Photography by Ian Wallace.