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
Laksa
Sweet, spicy and full of texture and mouth fullness that is Laksa. Nowadays comes with myriad of topping but ours is simple and basic. You can take this base and make your own!
Course Mains
Cuisine Local
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
portions
Ingredients
Spice Paste (Rempah)
Liquids
Garnishes
Course Mains
Cuisine Local
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
portions
Ingredients
Spice Paste (Rempah)
Liquids
Garnishes
Instructions
Cooking the Curry
  1. Using a grinder or pestle and mortar, grind the list above except for the 200ml of oil to a fine paste.
  2. Using a big stock pot, add oil and slow fry the paste until the oils are released and the paste thickens. The oil should also turn a vibrant red. This may take up to 10 - 15mins.
  3. Add you chicken stock and water, and slowly bring to a boil.
  4. Pour roughly 3/4 (750ml) of coconut milk, and bring to simmer for about 30 mins. Do not boil the solution as the coconut milk will separate.
  5. After simmering, you may add the remaining coconut milk to consistency.
Serving
  1. Make sure to blanch the bean sprouts, cook the eggs, and slice up the fish cakes. Also prepare your garnish by fine chopping laksa leaves.
  2. In another stock pot, bring water to the boil and add in your noodles in a sieve. Wait for about 30 seconds, then remove them into a room temperature pot of water to chill. Repeat one more time, then place your noodle into the serving bowl.
  3. Add your bean sprouts, sliced fish cakes, tofu puffs and boiled egg then top off with an appropriate amount of curry sauce. Garnish with chopped laksa leaves and optionally a dollop of sambal belacan.
Recipe Notes

Chef Notes:

  1. Rempah - The base of the entire dish, so don't stuff it up. Slow saute until the colour and texture correct. The oil should be a bright, almost plastic like red before continuing with the recipe.
  2. Chilli Paste - This is normally a blend of shallots, garlic and chilies. You can buy it or you can easily make it yourself.
  3. Dried Prawns - Small tiny shrimp which are sun dried contribute an earthy seafood aroma and flavour, much like dried anchovies.
  4. Garnishes - Other versions include: Cockles, Shrimp/Prawns, Shredded Cooked Chicken, Soya Chicken, Hainanese Chicken, Crayfish. You can easily add them in yourself.
  5. Service - Start with the spice paste and curry, and the intervals while you're waiting you can cook off your garnishes! This is to save some time!