Best Stock To Buy in SG

14 Sep, 2018 | Editorials

Introduction:

 

No; not the stock market – I meant cooking stock liquid!

We had a great question from one of our participants; “What’s the best stock to buy?”; when we were cooking off some really yummy French onion soup. I told her; “Perhaps it best if I told you what I look for rather than me giving you a brand”.

  

#1: Stock Types:

 

There are 2 major types of stock for purchase in Singapore. One is cubed or compacted powder; the other in already liquid form or in some dehydrated version a paste or jelly concentrate.

Bottomline: Most cubed, powdered forms, generally, contain a lot of sodium in their content.

#2: Stock Flavours

 

In supermarkets, you’ll find a few different varieties such as: Chicken, Beef, Vegetable, Fish, Seafood or unique to SEA – ikan bilis stock.

While the Chicken, Beef, Vegetable, Fish stocks are pretty straightforward – seafood stock is made from not only fish, but bits of prawn and other shellfish. Ikan bilis on the other hand is made from well; ikan bilis and tastes a little deeper in umami than the generic fish stock.

Yes, there is such a thing as ‘vegetarian chicken stock’! It’s mostly made with roasting onions dark caramel with added salt; sprinkled with dehydrated herbs and spices to emulate the taste of roasted chicken!

Bottomline: If in doubt to use on the dish, use the vegetarian stock – its more neutral in flavour.

 

#3: Check the Ingredients Label

 

This is my MOST IMPORTANT TIP of the day. Check the ingredients label, and if possible the nutritional panel too! 

Here’s a rundown of Product X (Jelly), Y (Liquid) and Z (Powder) as examples, they truly show you how different chicken stock can be made of!

 

Product X (Jelly) Product Y (Liquid) Product Z (Powder)
Salt, Flavourings (Contain Soya, Gluten and Celery), Sugar, Chicken Extract and Fat, Modified Corn Starch, Sodium Isonate and Sodium Guanylate, Yeast Extract, Onion, Trisodium Cirtrate, Edible Gum and Sodium Hydroxide. Chicken Stock (98%) [Water, Chicken, Carrot, Celery, Cabbage, Onion, Sage Extract, Parsley], Salt, Sugar, Yeast Extract. Salt, Palm Fat, Monosodium Glutamate, Sugar, Chicken Meat and Fat, Cornstarch, Soya Sauce Flavourings (contains Wheat, Eggs), Palm Olein, Yeast Extract, Spices, Garlic, Sodium Isonate and Guanylate.
Sodium Content: ~200mg/100ml Sodium Content: ~450mg/100ml Sodium Content: ~700mg/100ml

 

 Here is what I look for:

1. Weird Sounding Science Words: Not all of them are ‘bad’, while some are used for additives other are more common and used as a preservatives (keeping it fresh). As a rule of thumb however; more is bad BUT Google it!

2. Known Bad Science Words: We all know Sodium Glutamate aka MSG to be not good for you in large amounts but other food additives like Sodium Isonate and Guanylate are more like MSG’s evil cousins.

3. Sodium Content: Sodium indicates the approximate amount of salt level that is in the product. Generally the more sodium it has, the more salty is tastes and less ‘real flavour’ is present. Sodium doesn’t do any wonders for your blood pressure either.

4. Order of Ingredients: In most cases, manufacturers have to list down ingredients by order of ‘most’ to ‘least’ in its label. You can generally say that most of the product Z is just made up in majority of salt, fat, MSG and sugar!

Bottomline: Read the ingredient labels and nutritional label! Not marketing labels. 

Conclusion:

 

Choosing between X, Y or Z? – mine would be Y. Somewhere middle on sodium count, but way less chemicals!

If you really have to use store bought stock, look into these criteria above before selecting one that best for you. Instant stock is great if you’re in the rush to cook something, however, none of this will beat a good old fashion stock that’s been cooked at home.

Want a cheater stock recipe for home? Let me know on facebook if you do need one!

As always have fun in the kitchen! – Chef Gary

Print Recipe
Pommes Au Gratin
Otherwise known as Potato Au gratin or Pommes Dauphinoise. Is a classic french dish of serving baked potatoes in creamy white sauce and often grantinee with cheese and/or breadcrumbs.
Course Entree
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 20 minutes
Servings
portions
Ingredients
Bechamel
Other Ingredients
Course Entree
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 20 minutes
Servings
portions
Ingredients
Bechamel
Other Ingredients
Instructions
Making the bechamel
  1. In a sauce pan, melt the butter under a medium heat. When the butter is completely melted, in the flour and incorporate it into a paste. This is known as roux.
  2. When the roux is cooked through, slowly add in your cream, while whisking continuously until you have a thickened sauce. Reduce to low heat and reduce (if req) to thickness.
  3. Add in garlic, nutmeg, thyme, salt and pepper and stir it in. Let it rest until cool.
Completing the dish
  1. Slice the potatoes into even slices. With or without skin.
  2. In an oven proof tray or oven proof dish, lay each layer of potatoes with a layer of bechamel sauce.
  3. At the top spread the cheese until in covers all the potatoes evenly. Bake in the ovens for 20 minutes until cheese is golden and brown and potatoes are cooked thoroughly.
Recipe Notes

Chef Notes:

  1. Potatoes - most types of potatoes will work fine with this recipe, however, potatoes with lower water content and higher starch content will do best.
  2. Extra flavours - you can always add more types of spices or herbs in the bechamel to increase or tweak the flavour profile.
  3. Cheese - Get a cheese that melts evenly, cheese like mozzarella, gruyere, emmenteller or plain old cheddar will work fine.
  4. Seasoning - Season heavy with salt & pepper reminding yourself that potatoes are very neutral in flavour (bland).

Click here if you would like to learn how to cook this dish today!