Chicken stock is one of the first things that you learn about when you start culinary school. And rightfully so, as there are a lot of recipes that call for chicken stock. In fact, it is a valued ingredient all around the world. Singapore has chicken rice, America has chicken noodle soup, the Japanese use chicken stock when making ramen, and the Italians use chicken stock in their fabulous risottos.
I have noticed that a lot of people make the mistake of using the term chicken base when they are referring to chicken stock. Even many of my foodie friends do this and confuse chicken stock with chicken base. While it is easy to confuse the two, there are some key differences between the two of them, and if you add the humble chicken bouillon into the equation, there is even more confusion. If you are one of those people, I am going to help you by telling you what separates the three ingredients.
Chicken stock is created by using whole chickens, water, some salt, ground black pepper, garlic, and vegetables, like carrots, onions, and celery. The concoction is then boiled and simmered in a stockpot for hours until you get a clear chicken broth soup. (A lot of skimming is involved during this process.) Chicken base undergoes the same process but it’s cooked for longer. The broth is then slowly simmered into a highly concentrated chicken stock. Chicken base can also be bought in stores in a highly concentrated powder form. Typically, the chicken base is darker and thicker than regular chicken stock, while chicken bouillons is bought in cubes that dissolve in boiling water.
As chicken stock is much lighter than chicken base, it is preferred in dishes like chicken noodle soups, risottos, and chowders. While the thicker and richer consistency and taste of the chicken base makes it a perfect to include in stews and sauces.
Personally, I prefer making chicken base, as opposed to chicken stock, because of its rich flavor. I absolutely love making ramen at home, so it is imperative that I know a thing or two about making a great chicken base. I have done this over a hundred times as an ingredient for my chicken rice, chicken and fisherman stew, crab chowder, and even Indian curries.
However, making chicken base will take you hours and hours, so it’s not suitable if you need it for a quick recipe. I have scoured the internet for other ingredients that can be used as a substitute for chicken base and listed them below for you.Continue reading