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Chinese Master Stock and Red Roasting

Posted: 29 August 2013 By Teage Ezard

Teage Ezard reveals his master stock recipe and offers a few pro tips for getting the most out of your stock.

Chinese is one of the world’s great cuisines and is a major influence on our modern way of cooking. Classic Chinese dishes such as san choi bao, Peking duck and steamed fish are but a few common examples.

However there is also a lesser known but equally important form of cooking which originates in China – cooking with master stocks and red roasting. Red roasting is not what the name suggests. Rather, the food is actually cooked twice, first in a master stock and then fried. Most Chinese dishes are cooked in steamers or fryers to conserve fuel, whereas conventional ovens are used for commercial applications.
In Asian kitchens a master stock is treated with utmost respect and can last for many years. While there are many variations the recipe below is quite simple and the final result is fantastic, and gets better with time.

Cook whole chickens, pork shoulders rolled in muslin and tied, pork hocks or even whole ducks in this stock. Once cooked, remove from the liquid and hang to dry in front of a fan for an hour or so, or leave overnight in a refrigerator. To finish, heat some oil in a fryer or large wok then deep fry the chicken or pork or duck. This will give you a dark and crispy skin with wonderful flavours in the skin and flesh. Serve your red roasted meats with steamed rice, bok choi, spring onions, finely shredded ginger, cucumber and some hoi sin sauce.

Ingredients

3 litres (12 cups) water
500 ml (2 cups) shaoxing rice wine
300 ml light soy sauce
200 g yellow rock sugar
6 garlic cloves, bruised with the back of a knife and peeled
50 g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
7 whole star anise, lightly toasted
4 cinnamon sticks, lightly toasted
5 cardamom pods, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon sichuan peppercorns, lightly toasted
3 whole cloves, lightly toasted
6 black peppercorns

Method

Place all of the ingredients in a stockpot or large saucepan and simmer for 25 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Pour the master stock into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Note: If you are not using the master stock all the time, store it in the freezer, then thaw and bring to the boil when you wish to use it. Every second time you use it, add half of all the dry ingredients (i.e. half of the rock sugar, garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom pods, fennel, sichuan peppercorns, cloves and peppercorns) and a third of the liquids. You want to retain the balance of flavours in the aromatic, glossy stock. If it starts to get too strong, add more water. It needs to be brought to boil every time you use it, and adding some more shaoxing wine will help to keep it.

Recipe from Gingerboy: Creative Street Food by Teage Ezard & Chris Donnellan. Signed copies available in our online store.

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