The conviction to make my own stocks for cooking was borne out of my desire to have healthy, nutritious yet tasty meals for my young family, then. I have been doing so for several decades. During those hectic ex-pat years, as soon as we unpacked and got everything squared away, I continued to make home-made stocks. Everyone of my helpers have been taught and continue to make them.
These stocks are one of the most easily digestible nutrient dense food you can feed a all; from a young toddler to an octogenarian. A rich source of gelatin and minerals especially calcium in a bio-available form.
My belief is that animal husbandry involves the use of too much chemicals and drugs. We also worry about the mercury levels in the sea with regard to seafood. In many situations, even more chemicals are added to ensure better preservation before the food actually reaches the supermarket shelves. Hence, since I am able to be in control of this stage of the food-to-table offerings, I do my part.
Which child doesn’t like instant noodles and eating at the hawkers? My kids adored going for sleep-overs at my friend’s home not only for the company but also for instant noodles were served with that packet of essence which was taboo at home.
IT IS WORTH the effort and time. It takes just a bit planning to make flavourful stocks. Use bouillon cubes only when absolutely necessary.
Any special Equipment required?
A pressure cooker is a great help in reducing simmering time. Use the pressure cooker according to manufacturer’s manual. Many people tend to have reservations about using a pressure cooker as they are so afraid that it will explode when they are trying to open the cover. I have been enjoying the benefits of one for decades and all my past and present helpers have been taught to use it successfully. In recent years electric pressure cooker may be found in the market place as well.
Besides the pressure cooker, I have started using vacuum cookers or thermal pots. Mine is the Thermos Shuttle chef. Such a practical gadget to make home-made stocks, stews and braised meats. It saves energy and time. They use significantly less energy than other cooking methods. Bear in mind that since the inner pot is sealed in, very little evaporation occurs. This translates into better preservation of nutrients and flavor, and less reduction of liquid. There are several other brands such as “Tiger”, “Zojirushi”, “La Gourmet”. The image below explains the theory behind this gadget.
If you are used to using a slow cooker, it can be used as well to make home-made stocks of any variety. My friend used her Tanyu claypot.
What’s the bottom-line? Just use any deep pot that you posses. It is the cooking time and the amount of liquid that is lost during cooking from evaporation that will vary.
A Vacuum cooker or Thermal Pot
Aromatic Ingredients forms the base of which variety of Stock you decide to cook
Start will these basic aromatics as the base for all types of home-made stocks. They are readily available and easily purchased. Simplify further – you don’t need both types of peppercorns, either black or white will suffice.
Other ingredients are added to the basic ones depending on what type of stock you are making, for example chicken, fish, beef or pork. To add a new layer of flavour, additional ingredients are included depending on whether the stock forms the base of an Asian dish or a Western dish. If you have a craving for home-made soups, please don’t resort to using stock cubes. Even if you only have these basic aromatics and a meat or fish without all the other types of aromatics, please go ahead and make your stock. Your efforts will reward you with a flavourful and definitely healthier soup.
HINT: A bunch of celery can be put to different uses. Here’s how
List of the Robust Stocks which I cook
Here is a list of a variety of flavourful and robust stocks that you can enjoy too! Each type will be posted separately as soon as I am able to do so.
- Vegetable (Click here)
- Chicken (Click here)
- Pork (Click here)
- Prawn (Click here)
- Fish (Click here)
- Soya Bean + Ikan Billis
- Ham (Click here)
Homemade Stocks versus Home-made Chicken/Beef/Liver Essence
These stocks are nutritious and tasty but they are different than Homemade Chicken Essence or Homemade Pork and Liver Essence etc. Such essences are served to mothers-to-be during post-natal periods and to those who are convalescing and the aged. Click here for Homemade Chicken Essence. My post for Pork and Liver Essence will be published soon.