Best Stock To Buy in SG
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.
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