Very often in recipes we come across the need to use a basic stock to make the dish tastier. Of course, we can replace the stock with water but we know that the taste of the dish will be compromised somewhat. So how do you cook this stock that is called for in cooking, I am often asked. Well, this is the basic soup base recipe I use whenever I need to have any stocks added for a Chinese dish. Other possible ingredients to add are dried shrimps, dried cuttlefish and ikan bilis. I use these in some of my soups but since this is a basic soup base recipe for cooking purposes, we’ll go with the main ingredients. If it’s a Western dish that I’m cooking (such as cream of mushroom soup), I’d add 3 bay leaves and depending on the type of dish, maybe 3 sticks of celery too.
Note: If you are using this basic soup base recipe to cook porridge for your baby, you would need to remove the use of the dried scallop in case of allergies.
Basic soup base recipe
2-3 small chicken carcasses and 200-250g of pork ribs, cleaned
a handful of small dried scallops, rinsed
2-3 garlic cloves, washed, keep peel on
Add the chicken carcasses and pork ribs into a pot of water with enough water covering them and bring to a boil. Once it starts to boil, you can turn off the heat and you will see this:
That’s the scum from the meat and bones. We don’t want our soup to turn out looking like this and hence we clean the meat and bones of impurities first before cooking the soup base proper. This also helps to remove the ‘smell’ of meat – some people may add garlic and/or ginger slices in at this step but I feel that it’s usually enough to rid the smell by bringing the meat and bones to a boil.
Get ready the soup bag. It’s made of cloth and it’s especially useful when you are cooking soup with fine bones such as a fish soup. Even for normal soups and this basic soup base, I use the soup bag for convenience. You’ll find out why later. Oh, there’s always the chance of small little pieces of bones that fall off from the pork ribs sometimes and if we’re making this soup base for kids, I’d say it’s wisest to use a soup bag so that the soup is kept clear of the possibility of bones. I used to use disposable soup bags but those don’t seal as well and some of the smaller pieces still manage to make their way out into the soup.
If you intend to consume the dried scallop, don’t put them in the soup bag. Add them directly to the soup pot.
Tie up the soup bag and place it in the soup pot of about 3.5L of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 hours.
When the soup is done, simply remove the soup bag and you have your basic soup base! 🙂 Now you know why I said I love my soup bag? You’d have to use a fine sieve to sieve out what you don’t want in your soup if you don’t have a soup bag or don’t want to use one.
I can’t believe I took so many years to finally write this basic soup base recipe here! I’ve been repeating myself about how to prep the ingredients in my soup recipes and now I can finally just hyperlink it to the instructions here!
Now you may want to hop over to my latest recipe which calls for using stock: crab meat sheng mian (crispy noodles).
Click the link to view the full list of soup recipes (with thumbnails).