Soy Master Stock

Any book on Chinese cooking will have many uses for this stock. Shin beef poached in it will produce the Cantonese salad of Keep It Simple, and, if the stock is substituted for water in the preliminary cooking of the Double-cooked Duck, will give a fair approximation of Cantonese roast duck. The Chinese ingredients here are all available from most oriental supermarkets, apart from the peel, which can be a little difficult to get hold of.

After each use, sieve the stock, bring to a boil and keep chilled or frozen until required again. The more the stock is used to cook meat, the more transference of flavour will occur. Elements of the meats will leach into the stock and the flavouring aspects of the broth will transfer themselves to the meats. Chinese restaurants keep this stock for ever, by boiling it up, or using it every day, with a little top-up on the soy, saké, mirin and aromatics as they do so. This is obviously impossible in a domestic context, so I recommend the strengthening of the seasonings every third use.

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  • 500 ml Chinese light soy sauce (do not use Kikkoman here, it’s too good and too expensive)
  • 300 ml cooking saké
  • 300 ml mirin
  • 1 × 50 g piece fresh root ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 large fresh red chilli
  • 4 pieces dried tangerine peel
  • 6 star anise


Put all the stock ingredients (and the wing tips if using, see previous recipe), into a large saucepan with 1.5 litres water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and cook at a fast simmer for half an hour. Sieve the stock, discarding all the solids, and allow to cool before refrigerating.