Chinese Chicken Stock Question


Many years ago I once made wonton soup that must have been from western chicken broth that at least in memory seemed similar to a Chinese restaurant style soup. However, I recently tried again (too long ago to remember the minimal details) that was not similar, or good.

I have been reading a couple of those old Jeff Smith Frugal Gourmet books that indicate that Chinese chicken broth is different from western. His specifically was chicken with a little ginger and what he called 'turnip balls' or preserved turnip or radish. He only suggested one hour of simmer. A few days later I finally had the sense to GOOGLE for the Chinese versions and saw that no one suggested the turnip thing, but they were universally more minimal (maybe ginger and pepper, perhaps garlic or onion) and mostly with less cooking time than Western, although some got up to three hours. Oh, and they mostly suggested the quick hot water wash and rinse before the simmer.

I'm not sure about my original wanton soup attempt, but the recent failure came from stock of cooked rotisserie chicken leftovers, backs etc. that is my basic source and approach to the end of some cooked chicken. I suppose the pre-cooked issue makes a darker muddier broth.

So: does anyone know if this turnip ball thing is even slightly important? Is it required to use raw chicken? I am also concerned or surprised that the shorter cooking times especially with regular chicken parts rather than mostly thinner 'spare' parts is long enough to get the food value. It reminds me of an old joke complaining about weak broth 'that the cook must have walked the chicken through it wearing hip boots.'

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fawnridge (Ricky)

I can't speak for Chinese chicken broth, but Jewish chicken soup has turnips.

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I don't use chicken stock for Wonton Soup. I use pork broth and minced cooked pork in the wontons. To make the broth I typically add garlic, a dash of soy sauce, a dash of lime juice and fresh ginger to the bones and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about an hour then strain.


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