Learn how to make the BEST chicken and pork stock for Asian cuisine! This complete guide will take you through all ways you can cook with it, including Grandma’s tips for a clear and sweet broth. Make a large batch to keep in the freezer for emergency meals!
When I think of all the marvellous dishes that have brought culinary magic to my childhood, they all have one thing in common: a rich chicken and pork stock base.
I can’t begin to describe how fundamental a stock is to the success of so many dishes for our family.
That’s why I’ve made it my duty to ensure that you leave this post with all the tips and tricks you’ll need for perfecting your very own.
What this recipe will yield is an delicately sweet and savory stock that’s brewed with finesse!
Table of contents
- What Is Asian Stock?
- Which Meat To Use
- How To Make It
- Making It Meatless
- How To Store It
- Culinary Uses
- Want More Homed Cooked Recipes?
- Join The Family!
What Is Asian Stock?
Chicken and pock stock is the foundation to many Chinese and Vietnamese dishes.
It starts off with bones and meat that are boiled in water for a few hours until you have a broth that you can use as a base for most meals.
Our family often lets it simmer on a low heat for at least 3 hours, but this can be adjusted depending on the time that you have available.
Without any additives, the taste is plain. There is a slight sweetness and savoriness to it, but that can be quickly changed as soon as you add other ingredients. If there is a large pork ratio, there may be a mild gamey flavor.
The soup itself is very light, which is why it’s the perfect start to many recipes.
Depending on how concentrated your pot of bones and proteins are to the water, a meat broth contains lots of nutrients. A bowl will have many vitamins, fats and minerals including iron.
These are especially good for muscle repair as well as maintaining the health of your bones, skin and cells.
Before Mum was a vegetarian, she used to always tell me to drink my soups for more youthful skin!
Which Meat To Use
To start, there are a few meat options to prepare your stock. You can use any variation, ratio and quantity of these.
But remember: the higher the meat to water ratio, the more concentrated your broth will be. Also, the less fat on the meat itself, the clearer the liquid.
Below are some of the meats we usually use. Normally, we just opt for one or two of the options.
We love using this because it produces a clean and sweet taste without any additives. The pieces also come with lots of bones, which is perfect for getting that marrow flavor in the soup.
Old hen, pronounced ‘lo gei’ in Cantonese, are older chickens that produce an incredible depth of flavor. Typically, we only use one in each pot because they take up so much space.
You can get your butcher to quarter them so they can fit.
Otherwise, a standard free range chicken will work just as well. Just make sure to eat the meat after!
Chicken backs are the parts remaining after the wings, legs and breast have been removed. There isn’t too much meat on them, but they do provide lots of flavor.
I still remember seeing Grandma requesting for these from the butcher for the first time. I asked her why she chose to use chicken backs and her response was: “Because they fit in the pot better than a whole chicken.”
If you go and ask your butcher for raw bones, there’s an unspoken understanding that you’re making a broth (unless, of course, you’re planning to feed them to your pet).
After the meat is cut away, a carcass doesn’t have much else except for flavor that can be extracted from within the bone. It’s a cheap and surefire way to enrich your broth.
Here’s our family’s next favorite meat source. Like chicken, pork also has a clean and sweet taste. But the main difference is it adds a depth that is unique to this cut.
Keep reading to find out which portions we use!
Grandma usually goes for the cheaper cuts since it’s just used to add another layer of taste. We also choose cuts on the leaner side for a cleaner flavor.
When our family makes noodle soup dishes, which is generally saved for weekends or special occasions, we make sure to include pork bones.
They’re thicker and chunkier, but if you have a large enough pot, you won’t miss out on the balanced sweetness pork bones adds to the standard chicken flavor!
Pro Tip: If you’re already planning to use poached meat (like pork belly for Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls or chicken for Chicken Salad with Congee), then you can save yourself the trouble of buying extra meat and just use those instead.
How To Make It
Put simply, making chicken and pork stock is really just boiling bones and meat in water.
It can be done in an instant pot, pressure cooker, large pot, small pot or even a rice cooker! You’ll find our family recipe towards the end of this guide, but here are some things to keep in mind:
Tips For The Best Results
While making a meat broth is a relatively simple process, there are a few techniques that Grandma uses to ensure she makes a pure, clean and undeniably sweet stock.
This is a must for a purer stock. To do this, set a pot of water to boil and wash the chicken and/or pork. Throw it in when you’re done (the water doesn’t have to be boiling) and bring it to almost a boil.
Note: You’ll notice a lot of scum floating on the first boil. Don’t worry about skimming it just yet. This pot of water will be discarded.
Remove The Loose Bits
After the first boil, pour the contents of the pot into the sink then thoroughly wash the all the meat and bones. Pull off any loose bits hanging off the meat.
Pro Tip: If you have pork bones, Grandma uses the flat parts to rub them together under running water. The more thoroughly you clean, the clearer the liquid will be.
In the meantime, fill a clean pot with water and bring it to a boil. Make sure there is enough to cover the chicken and pork once it’s put inside.
After the wash, the bones should have less scum. Put all the chicken and pork into the boiling water a second time.
It will stop bubbling (depending on the heat of your stove), but make sure to bring it back to a boil. Once it reaches that point, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and keep the pot lid partially on. You’ll be gently simmering for a minimum of 3 hours.
If you would like to add any aromatics like spring onions, ginger or you favorite seasoning, you can do so now for the first layer of flavor. Otherwise, do that step towards the end after the simmering is done.
Skim The Scum
As the water comes to a simmer, impurities will rise to the surface. Make sure to use a ladle to scoop just the bubbles, floating oil and scum to keep the liquid pure.
Double boiling it will help with reducing the amount of scum in the pot, but it’s one of those things that are unavoidable.
Pro Tip: Just remember that skimming does take some practise and it’s well worth it. We repeat this step roughly every 30 minutes.
Cook It Over Two Days
I suppose this actually makes it a triple-boil, but if you want that concentration and intensity of flavor, it’s a step you cannot miss.
I’ll admit that our family doesn’t normally use this technique unless we’re hosting a party!
It involves double boiling the stock as per the first technique, then leaving the pot in the fridge (or on the stove if it’s cold enough) overnight.
The next day, bring the pot back out and reheat it again on a low simmer for a few more hours. A general rule for stocks is the longer you cook it for, the more intense the essence.
You can then discard the bones or scoop them out to eat with soy sauce!
Making It Meatless
Mum makes INCREDIBLE noodle soups without any meat. For her Vegetarian Tapioca Noodle Soup (Bánh Canh Chay), Spicy Noodle Soup (Bún Bò Huế Chay) and Tomato Noodle Soup (Bún Riêu Chay), she uses a range of vegetables and mushrooms to create that sweet taste chicken and pork stock is known for.
The only difference? It’s entirely vegetarian!
How To Store It
The great thing about a meat broth is that you can keep it in the freezer, ready for your next emergency meal.
All you have to do is let the liquid cool completely before transferring them into freezer-friendly containers. We use plastic ones, but you can opt for anything that you prefer.
Once they’re sealed tightly, keep them in the freezer until ready for use.
To defrost, reheat in the microwave or let it thaw enough to slide out of the container and into a pot where you can bring it back up to a boil.
How Long Does It Last?
The broth will generally last in the freezer for up to 3 months. In the fridge, you’re looking at about 3-5 days. Make sure that wherever it’s kept, the container is sealed tightly to prevent any unnecessary bacteria from entering.
Chicken and pork stock is a MUST in our household. It comes in handy during weeknights for comforting soups and works wonders when you want to host a party with noodle soups.
Here are our tried-and-true ways of using the liquid gold:
Get your faovrite noodles, then use the meat broth as the start to a deliciously satisfying fmaily meal!
Chicken Tapioca Noodle Soup (Bánh Canh Gà)
Wonton Egg Noodle Soup
Satay Beef Noodle Soup
Fermented Fish Noodle Soup (Bún Mắm)
Pork and Prawn Clear Noodle Soup (Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang)
Chicken Glass Noodle Soup (Miến Gà)
Use a homemade meat broth as a base, then add whichever ingredients you like for a nutritious soup!
Lotus Root Soup (蓮藕汤)
Chicken Feet Soup (雞腳汤)
Fish Maw Soup
Chinese Watercress Soup (西洋菜汤)
Stuffed Bittermelon Soup (Canh Khổ Qua)
Crab and Asparagus Soup (Súp Măng Cua)
Substitute For Water
If you have any stock around, make sure to use it instead of water. It’s the same logic as braising meat or fish with coconut water – more flavor without additives. The liquid is ideal as a sauce base too!
Rice Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Rice
Mapo Tofu with Mince (麻婆豆腐)
Ginger Scallion Lobster (蔥薑龍蝦)
Certainly! You can go for anything you prefer, including turkey, lamb or roasted meats. We’ve even used duck for our Vịt Nấu Chao (Vietnamese Duck and Fermented Bean Curd Hot Pot) and beef bones in our Braised Honeycomb Tripe.
This is entirely up to personal preference, but Grandma generally seasons it after the second boil when the meat is cleaned and in the pot. It adds the first flavor layer and gives it enough time to infuse.
If any more seasoning is needed, it can then be adjusted 15 minutes before serving.
Want More Homed Cooked Recipes?
Chicken and Pork Stock for Asian Cooking
- Large pot
Any Variation of These Ingredients
- 1 free range old hen
- 500 g / 1.1 lb lean pork meat
- 500 g / 1.1 lb chicken backs
- 1 kg / 2.2 lb chicken bones/carcass
- 1 kg / 2.2 lb pork bones
- 7 1/2 L / 31.7 US cup water
- Set a pot of water to boil and wash the chicken and/or pork.
- Throw the meat and bones in when you’re done (the water doesn’t have to be boiling) and bring it to almost a boil.Note: You’ll notice a lot of scum floating. Don’t worry about skimming it just yet. This pot of water will be discarded.
- Pour the contents of the pot into the sink then thoroughly wash the all the meat and bones.Pro Tip: If you have pork bones, Grandma uses the flat parts to rub them together under running water. The more thoroughly you clean, the clearer the liquid will be.
- In the meantime, fill a clean pot with water and bring it to a boil. Make sure there is enough to cover the chicken and pork once it’s put inside.
- After the wash, the bones should have less scum. Put all the chicken and pork into the boiling water a second time.It will stop bubbling (depending on the heat of your stove), but make sure to bring it back to a boil.
- Once it reaches that point, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and keep the pot lid partially on.
- Simmer for a minimum of 3 hours, skimming the scum every half an hour.Note: If you would like to add any aromatics like spring onions, ginger or you favorite seasoning, you can do so now for the first layer of flavor. Otherwise, do that step towards the end after the simmering is done.
- Optional: Leave the pot in the fridge overnight. The next day, bring the pot back out and reheat it again on a low simmer for a few more hours.
- Double boil. This is a must for a purer stock.
- Remove any loose bits. After the first boil, wash the meat and bones and pull off any hanging bits of fat or skin.
- Clean the bones. Any impurities will end up in the broth, so clean them well.
- Skim the scum often. Run a ladle along the rim of the pot to catch any floating scum and oil. Try not to get too much of the stock itself.
- Cook it over two days. This brings out even more flavor because it gives the meat and bones a chance to release more of its essence.
This post was originally published on 11/06/19 and updated with tips and FAQs in April 2021.