Basic Chinese Pork Stock 湯底

Chinese pork leg bone stock
Stock such as this basic pork stock is an ingredient you come across often if you regularly cook Chinese food (or any other serious dishes).

A good stock provides a solid foundation to whatever dish you intend to make and enhances the overall flavor profile. And from my personal experience, it’s also one of the ingredients that sets apart the restaurant quality food from homemade dishes.

so let’s get down to the basics today and make a very basic Chinese style pork bone stock.

Stock vs Broth

Don’t want to sound too technical but let’s be clear about the difference between stock and broth which are used interchangeably sometimes.

A stock is a liquid flavored with bones and sometimes other basic ingredients as you see fit. It’s used as a foundation and doesn’t have to have a specific flavor. Basically it’s at the bottom of the food chain.

Broth is one step above in the food chain. Not only you use bones but also meat and/or vegetables in your broth. It usually has its own flavor profile and can be used directly to make a soup.
Chinese pork leg bone stock
The most common basic stock in Chinese cooking or 湯底 is made from pork leg bones, chicken carcass, beef leg bones, or any combination of these.

For demonstration purpose, I’ll show you how to make a pork bone clear stock using these pork leg bones which are easy to find in Chinese grocery stores. You can follow the exact same technique to make chicken stock, beef stock, or chicken/pork stock which is popular in Chinese restaurant industry.

If you are not able to find the leg bones, can substitute with other types of pork bones such as neck bones or backbones.

Lastly, I’d like to mention that this stock is extremely versatile. Basically, you can replace water with this stock in making sauces or more complicated soup dishes. Also, this stock can be used directly in my Hot Pot recipe.

Step-by-step Instruction:

Pork Bone Soup

Yield: 4-5 Quarts

Prep Time:30 min

Cook Time:60+ min

Total Time:90+ min

Ingredients:

  • 3lb pork leg bones, broken into halves
  • 1/2 cup Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 2 slice ginger
  • 1 scallion
 

Directions:

Start with fresh pork leg bones.Chinese Pork Bone Stock Recipe 湯底 - pork leg bonesSubmerge the pork bones in a pot of cold water. Let them soak for at lease 30 minutes to let blood come out. Chinese Pork Bone Stock Recipe 湯底Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pork bones and let them cook for 15 minutes or so to let the remaining blood come out.Chinese Pork Bone Stock Recipe湯底Remove the bones and let them cool.Chinese Pork Bone Stock Recipe 湯底Thoroughly scrub the bones with a food brush under cold water. This step is very important as residual blood can turn the stock brown and introduce bitter taste.Chinese Pork Bone Stock Recipe 湯底Make sure there is not residual blood on the bones leftChinese Pork Bone Stock Recipe 湯底In a large stock pot, combine the cleaned pork bones with 6 quarts of cold water. Cook over high heat.Chinese Pork Bone Stock Recipe 湯底Once boiling, turn the heat to simmer. Skim off any scums floating on surface. Add ginger, scallion, cooking wine. Cover the lid and let the stock simmer for at least one hour. Stir the stock every 20 minutes or so. If the liquid is running low, add more cold water. Chinese Pork Bone Stock Recipe 湯底To get most of the flavor out of the pork bones, I recommend cooking for at least two hours. You should end up with 4-5 quarts of stock.Chinese Pork Bone Stock Recipe 湯底Once the stock is done, store in jars in a fridge for up to 3 days. For longer storage, storage in the freezer for up to 1 month.Chinese Pork Bone Stock Recipe 湯底

16 comments

  1. 8

    Can I use frozen bones? Will the flavor b same? Did u use femur or shin bone? R they same on fat contents? Btw, ❤️Ur recipes, the r detailed and easy to follow

    • 8.1

      Hi there, frozen bones are fine. As long as you par boil them first and let the blood come out. Honestly, the type of the bones depend on your preference and what you plan to use it for. If you are looking for a general purpose stock, the lower fat content bones such as spine or neck bones should be fine. Shin and femur are more or less the same and they are more bone marrow which makes the soup richer and better for noodle soup. Hope this helps.

  2. 7

    I’ve always like the Chinese method of boiling the scum off the meat for making broth and then starting again with fresh water. In the end, it’s more effective and less work than the traditional Western method of skimming, skimming, skimming…  Funny thing is, habits die hard, and I find myself still following the Western method in my own cooking. 

  3. 6

    Super delicious and nourishing. Great step by step how to. Sharing!

    Totally off topic, however do you use an online store to order your Chinese herbs we may use to make soups like available in the Chinese medicine shops? If so can you send me a quick link via e-mail? Your the best. Thanks

    • 6.1

      Thanks. I buy all my Chinese herbs locally from supermarkets here in NYC. There is pre-packaged soup mix catered to specific types of soups and there is herb sold individually in packages. Are you looking for something specific?

  4. 5

    Love to make stock! Don’t often make a pork, one, though, unless I’m making ramen. But it’s so versatile — I really should do it more often. Good post — thanks.

    • 5.1

      Thanks John. I make chicken and pork stock quite often just for general use. When I do make a soup base for ramen it’s a whole different game that deserves its own post 🙂

  5. 4

    I love having this kind of stock ready…thanks for the tutorial Yi…
    Hope you are having a great week 🙂

  6. 3

    I love making bone broths! However, I am now only using organic since the factory-farmed pork always makes me sick. Plus it’s tastes like the pork I remember eating as a kid. I also found locally raised chickens that don’t look like anything from the grocery store. They look like how chickens are supposed to look, not huge, and come with head and legs on. The eyes are bright and clear and the last one I bought had been processed that morning. That’s a fresh bird.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    • 3.1

      Hi Chieko, you’ve bought up a good point. I definitely taste the difference between organic poultry and non-organic one, almost every single time. And yes, the size of the non-organic poultry scares me sometimes. I just wish the organic stuff is more accessible and affordable in my area so I can enjoy it more often.

  7. 2

    Pork back bones could work, too. Sometimes 79c/lb in NYC.

  8. 1

    wow that stock looks really clear and super!

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