Last year, Bone Broth became a trend all over the world. Suddenly, it was being celebrated as a "super food" for its amazing health properties.
Now the concept of Bone Broth is not new. Remember the Paya (trotters) soup your grandparents encouraged you to drink? That was a kind of Bone Broth. Historically, Bone Broth has ancestry in the first soups that humans began making way back when we discovered cooking pots.
Extremely nutritious, remarkably rich in protein and minerals, Bone Broth is full of healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline and benefits the system in many ways both on the inside and outside. It imparts immunity and energy, aids sleep and improves memory. It helps strengthen bones, joints, ease joint pain, prevent osteoarthritis, maintain and heal the intestine, make skin, hair, and nails healthy and radiant, and what is best is that it is remarkably easy to bring all of this flavour and health to your table regularly by making a good bone broth at home!
It's a practice that has been passed down through generations of chefs.
|Vietnamese Chicken Pho|
Even today in traditional food circles, broth stock and bone broth are popular, typically used interchangeably. All built on the same basic foundation: meat, bones (or both), vegetables and seasonings boiled in water to extract all their flavour and nutrition. Bone Broth and stocks have been favoured in almost every cuisine in the world, from ancient to modern times. The "umami", one of the five basic human tastes (thanks to bone broth being rich in glutamate) forms the foundation or body of many dishes in many cuisines around the world.
In Europe, bastion of fine cuisine, broths and stocks are the foundation of cooking. From Russian borscht to french onion soups, Italian risotto to Spanish Paella. They are used in not only making soups and stews, but also in reductions, sauces and for braising vegetables and meats.
In Asia, emphasis is placed on stocks and broths for popular soups like Ramen - a Japanese noodle soup, Vietnamese Pho - a broth based coup with noodles, meats and vegetables, Chinese congee and the rich Korean bone soup. It is also used in the kitchen in stir fries, braises and lots more. Closer home in India besides the Paya, Yakhni, Shorba and many Indian classics call for a variety of broths in the cooking process. The kitchens of almost every five-star hotel or fine dining restaurant will have a large stock pot of broth/stock simmering away. It is the backbone of flavour in most cuisines.
Broths can be made from a variety of meats, vegetables and lentils. But the easiest most unassuming one to make is a white stock, made with uncooked chicken bones, boiled with afew aromatic, herbs and vegetables. At one time, the source of chicken bones was unpredictable so one had to be careful but now, with hygienically packaged, chilled chicken soup bones conveniently available in packets from reputed brands at local supermarkets, this is not a concern. In fact it makes life very easy!
|Shorbas are a subcontinent favourite.|
I have made it routine to spend a couple of hours on weekends "stocking up" on broth. That way there is always some in the refrigerator to fall back on if I need to quickly put together a meal. Homemade, nutrient rich bone broth is incredibly easy and inexpensive to make. Also homemade broth is VERY handy.
Besides dedicated recipes, stocks and broths can be used to; thin out curries, sauces and gravies, add flavour to rice, pasta or any grain that needs to be boiled adding marvellous flavour. It can also be used to "sauté" in (use the same amount of liquid as oil required in the recipe carefully watching because stock evaporates while oil doesn't) to make gravies for dishes and pasta sauces.
If you aren't already making bone broth regularly, I would encourage you to start today! Its great culinary uses, the unparalleled flavours and more than anything else for the powerful health tonic that you can easily add to your family's diet.
Sample this quick recipe for Chicken Bone Broth:
3 packets soup bones
2 stalks of celery
1 tbsp or more of sea salt
1 tsp peppercorns
2 cloves of garlic 2 tbsp cider vinegar
Place bones in a large stock pot. Add water to cover the bones. Peel, coarsely chop and add the onion, carrots, celery and add to the pot.
Add the salt, peppercorns and garlic.
Now, bring the broth to a boil. Once it has reached a vigorous boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 5-6 hours. Alternatively you can pressure cook the whole for 30 - 45 minutes to get a more concentrated broth.
Remove from heat and let it cool slightly. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone and vegetable. When cool enough, store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use.