We had dinner with a friend from Hong Kong and started talking about making soup. The Hong Kongers are well known for their soup making skills. As for us, we are into our stock cubes. Although making your broth from scratch is the dog's bollocks, we have only managed to perfect our chicken stock. Needless to say, our favorite is reusing the chicken carcass from your roast.

Click here to learn how to make chicken soup from your roast chicken carcass.

So, what do you need to make a good soup? According to our friend, it is a balance of meat and bones.

Apparently the meat makes the soup savory and the bones make it sweet. The vegetables add another level of sweetness as well as the vitamins. You would have to look at what sort of soup you are making to balance out the taste accordingly. We guess we would have to learn more about this.

Bones make the soup cloudy. If you were to just use meat, you would get a clear broth. A cloudy soup adds a fuller flavor and thickness.

A clear broth extracts the essence of the meat. Some restaurant strains it to make it extra clear.

A bouillon cube (US) or stock cube (UK and Australia) is dehydrated broth (bouillon in French) or stock formed into a small cube about 15 mm wide. It is made by dehydrating vegetables, meat stock, a small portion of solid fat (such as hydrogenated oil), salt (usually well over 50%) and seasonings (usually including monosodium glutamate) and shaping them into a small cube. Dehydrated broth is also available in granular form.

Broth made from rehydrated cubes is different in taste from fresh broth because of its higher salt content and flavors changed by the boiling process. Bouillon cubes are convenient and inexpensive. The cubes are widely used in English cooking to add flavor.

Bouillon cubes were commercialized by Maggi in 1908 and by Oxo in 1910 as a cheaper version of meat extract. By 1913, there were at least 10 brands available, with salt contents of 59–72%.[1]

Its invention is attributed to Nicolas Appert in 1831 [2] but the principle was known long before, and called portable soup.

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