There are some old tales from down Chinatown way, where Chef’s argue about the most expensive price ever paid for a pot of this liquid gold. Arguments about stocks passed down through generations of restaurants ranging anywhere from the hundreds, to $35,000 for a pot filled with the flavours and aromas of a century.
It’s a smell you might recall if ever you wander by an Asian soup kitchen and see pots filled with simmering broths or indeed hawker market stalls with folks queuing for a bowl of this restorative broth.
Schezuan peppercorns, Jasmine Tea, garlic, five spice powder, brown sugar, chillies, shitake mushrooms, garlic & more…
Sometimes when I was little, mum used to make a slow braised chicken with medicinal ginseng, I’m certain that had some amazing healthful qualities to it but boy oh boy, did it taste good!
This is the sort of dish which keeps on giving.
Fact: Century old practices dictate that the broth is reused time and time again, imparting a depth to the overall flavour and appearance. I’m not one to keep gallons of stock on a low simmer for the next five years, but I can add that freezing a good portion of this in easy use ice cubes or zip lock freezer bags for occasional use is more fitting in the modern day.
However, if you would like to follow the old masters methods in reusing the stock, see here on the wikki
I’ve referenced a couple more masters here, the links are worth checking out to see the variations listed below. As with all things substitute the ingredients which you dislike, with the items you do!
Time: 45 mins, plus cooking time for your choice of protein.
A few Garlic cloves,
Couple of knobs of ginger
A few shallot stems or a medium onion
Star anise buds x 2
1/2 cup of Soy sauce
1/2 cup of Wine (shaoxing is preferable, but I don’t have any with the recent move so opting for sweet wine as a substitute instead,)
A few small lumps of Rock sugar or (I’m using 3 tbsp of brown sugar in place of rock sugar today, which you can do too)
Handful dried shitake or other chinese mushrooms,
A few Coriander stalks
1 tbsp Five spice powder
Schezuan peppercorns x 5
Dried chillies (a few)
A heaped tablespoon of Chinese tea, I’m using a jasmine.
Protein of your choice, Chicken or Duck, Pork Belly or Beef Chuck (with marbling,) would be ideal. Ideally something which benefits from poaching or braising.
Garnish: (optional) Use some spring onion cut on the diagonal, along with some asian fried crispy shallots.
<strong>To serve</strong>: fried asian shallots, chilli oil & coriander, I’m also serving steamed broccoli, snow peas and steamed rice.
You’ll also need a large pot, (5L is ideal or 3L,) a ladle and some tongs.
Combine all the dry ingredients & coriander stems and shallots into the pot. Cover with cold water halfway up the pot and add the soy sauce & wine. Bring to a rapid boil and begin to prepare your condiments and sides.
After half an hour, the broth should be smelling fragrant. Reduce the stock to a slow simmer and gently lower in the whole chicken (duck or your choice of protein)
Leave the pot uncovered and gently poach the meat for at least 45mins-for chicken or duck and up to two hours for the braise.
I like to ladle the stock gently over the meat (so to <em>hopefully</em> not break up the skin, too much.)
Allow the meat to cool in the poaching liquid afterwards, ideally you would cool to room temperature before serving to impart more flavour and colour into the meat.
This also allows that glossy skin to form on the chicken.
After use, strain the stock and discard any debris.
Freeze the stock in ice cube trays for easy to use portions & add to other meals to impart flavour (following the old masters methods in reusing the stock,)
Tossing the cubes into a hot stir fry would also work for smaller portions too.