This is the foundation of nearly every soup in Chinese cuisine. It is also used in small quantities to flavor many dishes and as the basis of countless made-in-the-wok sauces. We dissolve cornstarch in a little cool chicken broth instead of water when we want to thicken sauces so that the taste of the sauce is not diluted. Unlike Western stocks, which are flavored with vegetables and seasonings, Chinese broth aims for pure chicken seasoned only with a little ginger and scallion. Making your own stock requires very little effort; once the initial skimming is complete, the broth simmers unattended for hours. Freeze the finished broth in small containers to be heated in a saucepan or wok whenever you need it. Canned broth may be substituted in a pinch, but the flavor of homemade broth is much superior.
© 1981 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.