Making stock is an important process in many types of cuisine. A Chinese chicken stock recipe commonly uses ginger and scallion as aromatics instead of the trio of celery, carrots and onions (sometimes even more) favored in a Western style stock. Without the distraction of too many aromatics, the resulting stock has a more intense chicken taste.
Recently, a reader asked me how to make a chicken stock with a thermal cooker. I decided to make this post to explain more in detail.
The process is quite similar to making a stock with a conventional pot. The biggest difference is that the cooking time on a stove is reduced considerably. I cooked the stock over the stove in under 2 hours before placing it into a thermal cooker and left it there for about 5 hours.
I used fresh chicken wingtips and feet for the stock. A whole chicken can also be used for this recipe if you wish but I would highly recommend using bony chicken parts. The reason is, you’d want to extract more of the essence of the chicken since the cooking time on a stovetop is shorter.
I particularly like using chicken feet in addition to other chicken parts when making a stock. They’re full of collagen and nutrition and are an affordable ingredient. Since the cooking time on a stovetop is quite short, the solid ingredients retains much of its shape compared to those cooked for a very long time. When the stock is done, dip the chicken feet into some light soy sauce and eat. So tender and delicious!
Place all ingredients into the inner pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and skim the scum till there is none.
Cook the liquid on medium-low heat for about 2 hours. Bring to a full boil before transferring the inner pot into the thermal cooker. This is to keep temperatures inside the pot higher for a longer time.
You might wonder why don’t I cook the chicken stock for an extended time to extract every last bit of collagen out from the chicken bones. By doing so, it would defeat the purpose of using a thermal cooker as the biggest advantage of thermal cooking is its ability to save energy and time.
Leave the inner pot inside the thermal cooker for about 4-6 hours. Cover both lids (inner and outer pots) and let the trapped heat continue to cook the stock. Unlike making stock on a stovetop, the amount of liquid will not lessen once it is inside the thermal cooker.
The color of the stock will be creamy white or clear depending on the level of heat used during cooking. Using very low heat to gently simmer the liquid will produce a clearer stock. If medium heat is used throughout, the resultant stock will be creamier in color.
Use this stock for dishes such as stir-fries, soups and noodles.
I am constantly experimenting with thermal cooking. If you have any comments, questions, recipe ideas for thermal cooking or suggestions, write to me in the comment box below.
- 1.3 kg chicken - washed (wingtips and feet. backs are a good choice too)
- 3 scallions - cut into 2" length pieces
- 15 g ginger - sliced into thick pieces
- 3 L cold water (or enough to submerge all the ingredients by an inch)
- Bring all ingredients to a boil over high heat in the thermal cooker's inner pot. Reduce heat and skim off surface scum (not the oil as it provides flavor) till there is none. Simmer over medium-low heat for at least an hour. (I simmered mine for around 1.5 hours).
- Just before you place the inner pot into the thermal cooker, turn heat to high to bring the stock to a rolling boil. Turn off heat and carefully transfer the pot into the outer container. Close lids for both the inner and outer pot. Let it continue to cook in the thermal cooker for about 4 - 6 hours.
- When the stock is done, remove the chicken, scallions and ginger and set aside. Strain the liquid into a large bowl. Once cooled, pour into individual jars. I used a funnel to prevent spillage when transferring into jars. Leave the fat on top as it forms a protective layer from bacteria. You can easily scrape it off (or not depending on your stand with fat) when refrigerated and ready to use.
- Use the stock within 4-5 days if stored in the refrigerator or freeze them for future use.
2. The amount of ingredients is a guide. I used a Tiger 5.2L thermal cooker for this recipe. You may have to adjust the quantity if using a different sized unit.