Basic Chicken Stock

Tori-Gara Dashi

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    a generous


Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

Since the Japanese have an aversion to animal fats, they prefer to use lean necks and bones when they make stock with a meat base. Still, the Japanese tend to be queasy and want to leach out any residual impurities with salt and a “rinse” of boiling water before cooking the bones. The subtle chickeny infusion that results is used in a number of soups and several simmered dishes.


  • 1 ½ pounds chicken necks and assorted bones OR 1 lean carcass
  • teaspoons salt about 2 quarts boiling water
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 25 square inches dashi kombu (dried kelp for stock making)
  • teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 leek and 2 scallions OR 4–5 scallions
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1 egg white and shell from egg (optional)


Rub the chicken necks and bones with teaspoons of salt and let them sit on a plate, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Transfer them to a colander and pour half the boiling water over them. With tongs or chopsticks, turn the bones over and rinse again so that all surfaces are exposed to the remaining boiling water. Drain well, and place the bones and necks in a large pot with the cold water and dried kelp. Over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Remove the kelp and save it, if you wish, for use in other recipes, such as Simmered Mushrooms and Kelp. Skim off any froth and season the stock with the black pepper. Keep the broth at a simmer.

Cut away the roots and wilted pieces of the leek and scallions. Rinse the leek well to remove any grit or sand. Cut the white and green parts of the vegetables into 2-inch lengths. Add the leek and scallions to the pot and lower the flame to keep the stock gently simmering for 1 hour. Remove the wilted pieces of leek or scallion, add teaspoons of salt and the rice wine, and continue to cook for 1 more hour.

Pour the stock through a cloth- or paper-lined strainer or colander, discarding the solids. If you want a clear stock, clarify it. To do this, return the strained broth to the pot, making sure that the liquid fills no more than half of it and that there’s ample headroom for foam that will form. Bring the chicken stock to a rolling boil and stir in one egg white and the shell from the egg. Keep the stock boiling for 3–4 minutes. Strain the stock again and discard the solids, then allow it to cool completely before storing for future use.

Chilling will help solidify some of the remaining fat and make it easier for you to remove. This stock will stay fresh covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week; it also freezes well for up to several months. This recipe may easily be doubled.