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
Singapore Carrot Cake
When you google for carrot cake probably you will get two versions of it. One is the sweet carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and the other one is the savory version which is stir fried with egg omelette. Carrot cake is a teochew dish and its commonly found in hawker centre. It is a favorite breakfast dish among Singaporean. Carrot cake is a steamed rice cake made up of shredded white radish, rice flour starch and water. For my recipe, I actually added some dried shrimps to add some umami flavor to the rice cake. It is best to chill down the steamed rice cake completely before cutting them into smaller cubes for frying. Personally I find the texture to be the best when chilled in fridge overnight. You can even find ready made carrot cake in the supermarket but I can guarantee you that it taste nothing like the one you made from scratch as those you find in supermarket doesn’t have the same QQ texture and you can’t taste radish in it. You can make them in large batch and freeze them in the freezer. So when you feel like eating carrot cake for breakfast the next morning, just defrost them the night before by leaving it in the chiller. Traditionally carrot cake comes in two versions, white or black. The black version is simply adding the sweet caramel soya sauce to it. And if you order this carrot cake dish in Malaysia, you may even find beansprouts inside! If you are feeling adventurous, you can even be creative by adding cheese, salted egg yolk or even mala sauce to the carrot cake! Let us know if you have another versions of carrot cake!
Course Mains
Cuisine Singapore
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 90 mins
Passive Time 3 hours
Servings
people
Course Mains
Cuisine Singapore
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 90 mins
Passive Time 3 hours
Servings
people
Instructions
  1. Slice the radish into long strips. (Do not use a grated as it produce too much water) and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the rice flour, wheat flour, corn starch, tapioca starch, sugar, chicken powder. Mix well and set aside.
  3. In a heated pan, add 2 tbsp oil and fry the dried shrimps until fragrant. Add in the shredded radish and fry for 5-8 mins.
  4. Pour in 650grams of water and bring to boil or till radish turns soft.
  5. Pour in the batter mix and mix well. Fry until the batter become thick and smooth.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a pan. You may want to oil the bottom to prevent sticking.
  7. Steam the mixture for 1 hour.
  8. After steaming, leave to chill for 2 hours in the fridge.
  9. Take the carrot cake from the fridge and cut into cubes for frying.
  10. In a heated pan, add in the lard oil and fry the garlic and salted radish until fragrant. Add in the green onions and continue frying for few mins.
  11. Add in the carrot cakes cubes and fry until the sides turn golden brown.
  12. Add in the beaten eggs.
  13. Sprinkle more spring onions over and drizzle some fish sauce over the eggs.
  14. Flip over the eggs and continue frying until the eggs are cooked. You may add in some sweet dark soya sauce for the dark version.
  15. If you prefer a more salty version, you may drizzle in more fish sauce.
  16. Dish up! Garnish with spring onions and serve.
Recipe Notes

Click here if you are interested in learning how to make other local cuisines!