Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bone Broth

Soups are very common in our Asian diet. When we are sick, our parents make us chicken soup. When we just gave birth, we were told to drink a lot of bone broths. When our babies start solid food, people advice us to give them porridge cooked in homemade chicken stock. Bone broth has in the diet of people for as long as we know it. The older generations may not know the science behind why bone broth is so nourishing, but they knew full well that homemade bone broth or soup stock is not only delicious, but very nutritious, hearthy, aids in healing, and full of health benefits. Bone borth is an important source of calcium since our culture do not consume a lot of milk or cheese in general.

Traditionally we would boil bones to make soup stock and we could taste the rich and flavorful broth in our soup. Unfortunately the modern way to make stock is by adding in buollion cubes of MSG to flavor our soup. Sure it taste very rich and strong, but you are missing all the nutritional values that you would have gotten from the bones. We're just tricking ourselves thinking we are eating healthy soups (whether canned soups or homemade soups with MSG), but the truth is there is nothing healthy about any of it all. Properly prepared soup stocks are extremely nutritious, containing bone minerals, cartilage, marrow, and gelatin in a form that is easy to assimilate. Consuming bone broth provides the liver with certain amino acids to cleanse our body. Gelatin in meat broths can help treat many intestinal disorders. It allows the body to utilize proteins from other foods better. Making gelatin-rich broths is also a good way to stretch our dollars, a must for those who cannot afford large amounts of meat in their diets. 

Homemade beef bone broth that has been cooled in the
fridge. The broth turned into gelatin-like texture.

How to Make Bone Broth?

1. Use bones preferably from organic, free-range/kampong chicken or bones from grass-fed cows.

2. Cover the bones with cold water in a slow-cooker or stock pot, adding a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and let it sit for about one hour. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium, and potassium, out of the bone and into the broth. The broth will have a slight sour taste but I actually like it better that way.

3. Add some carrots, celery sticks and onions in for a sweeter taste with added vitamins. (It also helps to cover the strong meat flavor that is hard for me to take, especially in beef stock).

4. On low heat, simmer for at least 6 hours. The longer the better as it needs time for the gelatin to be released from the bones into the broth. I typically start my broth at night and it will be ready the next day for lunch. I use a slow-cooker and out it on low heat, so I don't have to keep an eye on it all the time.

5. Once done, you can add salt to bring out the flavors, and enjoy it right away or cool it in the fridge and freeze for future use. 

You may find that your broth (especially chicken broth) doesn't have gelatinous texture after it's completely cooled. It may just mean that there are not enough cartilaginous joints in there. In this case, you can add chicken feet to make your broth thicker. Chicken feet are widely available in supermarkets or wet markets and they are very affordable. You can buy bones from grass-fed cows at The Butcher in Holland Village or Parkway Parade.

Yes, the stock will not have the strong and rich taste that you find in soups with MSG. But overtime you will get used to the milder yet richer homemade broth, knowing all the nutritional values you're getting from it. We eat bone broths almost everyday now. It's easy to make and we love it.

Did you know bone broth is this nutritious?


  1. Hi Vicky, I checked the online shop, and it looks like they deliver beef bones. Do you know if these are grass fed, or is it something you specifically ask for when you go to the shop?


    1. I go to the shop to buy the bones. They are available for purchase on their frozen section. All their beef are grass fed.