The Story of Bone Broth
Lately, bone broth has become such a popular beverage among health enthusiasts. My friends in the U.S. often ask me how people prepare bone broth in asia. That’s way I want to share with you how I prepare the authentic asian bone broth and how you can make the delicious and nutritious broth at home with local ingredients. Read below about the story of bone broth and at the end I’ll give you two of my most authentic asian recipes you can recreate at home, and shopping lists to help.
The other day I was hanging out in the east village in NYC and ran into a bone broth shop called Brodo, on a tiny corner. I had a brief moment of curiosity to see what the line in front of a tiny take-out window was all about, but because of the sub-zero weather, I walked away and didn’t think much of it. On the way home, the image of people sipping bone broth in coffee cups had me intrigued. It’s just a broth! It’s so basic. I can’t believe this is the next “hip” thing to drink. What’s the fuss? I couldn’t help but wonder “am I missing something here?”
What the Fuss is About
For many asian families, broth is the root of daily life. It’s the foundation of flavor essence and the mother of many recipes. Personally, I associate broth with labors of love. It’s not a shining star with fancy clothes and glitzy objects but rather a quiet character, like an old friend, whose support that you can always count on.
The process of making bone broth breaks down the bones and connective tissues in a way that releases all sorts of beneficial nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. According to Dr. Josh Axe, the collagen and gelatin from the bone and bone marrow help encourage the growth of connective tissue, which enhances the suppleness and smooth texture of the skin. For athletes, bone broth helps replace electrolytes after intense exercise and, as such, helps post-workout recovery. No wonder Kobe Bryant attributed part of his recovery from a knee injury to bone broth.
Making the Broth
The most common types of bone broth are made from chicken, beef, fish, or pork bones. Take two of my all-time favorites – Chinese chicken broth & Korean beef bone broth – Seolleongtang (설렁탕) – as examples. Both broths provide great nutritional benefits, yet differ greatly one-from-another.
Chinese chicken broth aims for a transparent broth in a light amber or golden color. The cooking method calls for gentle simmering over low heat in order to extract the very essence of the bones. Ginseng, gogi berry, shiitake mushroom, and Chinese herbs can be added to the broth to achieve that unique umami flavor.
Equally delicious, but distinct, Korean seolleongtang is boiled with moderate heat, not simmered, throughout the entire cooking process. The result is that the beef bones deliver a white milky broth that’s full of creamy and nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness. The broth is so pure and smooth that only one seasoning – toasted sea salt – is added to it right before serving.
Sipping & Sharing
Broth symbolizes love and caring in Asian culture. Sipping a communal bowl of warm broth brings back memories of family. It’s a form of communication that ties people together beyond health and well-being.
Years after moving out of my home country in Asia, I’ve adopted many local ingredients to recreate that authentic taste of home. So, to learn how I use local ingredients to create two of my most authentic Asian bone broth recipes, here are the step-by-step instructions and shopping lists to help you get started.