Simple Chinese Vegetarian Stock (素上汤)

Simple Chinese Vegetarian Stock (素上汤)


So, there’s a few different vegetarian stocks
in Chinese cooking… but we wanted to show you one from the Guangdong province called
sushangtang, which can serve as a bit of an all purpose stock for pretty much whatever
you want to whip up. This stuff is simple to make and super versatile
– in our experience, it can serve the function of a basic stock in not just Chinese cooking,
but even Western cooking as well. So the components here are as simple as can
be… we’re looking at 100 grams of dried soybeans, 80 grams of shelled chestnut, and
25 grams of dried shiitake mushrooms. These are all roughly equal parts by volume
so feel free to eyeball these, this doesn’t need to be an exact science. If you do happen to be Asia-based, see if
you can nab some of these kind of mushrooms if you can… these are called straw mushrooms
and have this awesome fragrance. For Cantonese vegetarian stock it’s actually
most traditional to go half dried straw half dried shiitake, but today we’ll do all shiitake
for ease of international replication. So now just add some cool water to both your
soybeans and your dried shiitake mushrooms, making sure to leave an inch or two above
them to give ‘em room to expand into. Then leave those to soak for at least a couple
hours, or alternatively overnight. So next day now, just drop all your ingredients
in a pot with together with about four liters of cool water. Be sure to include that shiitake mushroom
soaking liquid though, it’s like concentrated umami juice and you can bet it’s going in
the pot. Now cover, and get that all up to a boil. Then just swap your flame to about medium/medium-low
and let that bubble away. Chinese stocks tend to be cooked at a slightly
heavier boil than Western stocks and also make use of reduction. So we’ll be looking for it all to be reduced
by about half, which should take about three hours. After that time, season the soup with a touch
of rock sugar – this was five grams worth. This is just to balance the grassiness of
the soybean, and if you can’t find rock sugar just swap that for about a quarter teaspoon
of granulated sugar. Then once it’s dissolved, just strain everything
out. Definitely don’t waste waste all that food
though – it’s still good to eat and can totally be repurposed for a makeshift braise
or really whatever. And with that, you’ve got some Chinese vegetarian
stock – and just feel free to use this stuff directly whenever you see one of our recipes
calling for stock. So this stock is basically unseasoned. So this ends up being a little more versatile
if you are using it in recipes… but if you are drinking it straight up add a little bit
of salt and optionally a little sprinkle of MSG and then you’ll be able to taste what
it will taste like in dishes. So right, check out the Reddit link in the
description box for a detailed recipe, a big thank you for everyone that’s supporting
us on Patreon… and of course, subscribe for more Chinese cooking videos.

29 thoughts on “Simple Chinese Vegetarian Stock (素上汤)”

  1. This looks so good! Might try to make this with some local ingredients. I live in oregon where we have a nice abundance of delicious wild mushrooms!

  2. I'm a vegetarian and often disappointed by veggie broths & stocks (with the exception of kombu or shitake dashi which are legit wonderful).

    This sounds kinda exactly like what I'm wanting out of such; I've got to try this soon!
    Thanks so much for sharing these, and I'd be very interested in any other veggie broths/stocks you think would be worth featuring.

  3. Hey guys, a few notes:

    1. Something I forgot in the narration: I also added ~20 white peppercorns in there. It's not mandatory or anything (because as Steph said, the idea is that this IS mostly unseasoned), but definitely toss some in if it's convenient.

    2. For Cantonese Vegetarian Superior stock, you also see this with soyabean sprouts in place for soybeans. If you pushed us, I think we'd prefer soy bean sprouts over the soybeans themselves, but both totally wok. We used soybeans as (1) they're more edible after this whole process (if munching on soybean sprouts they're best quickly blanched) and (2) they're much more available abroad.

    3. Another optional ingredient that you might've seen in the background at 0:41 is dried red dates… they can be nice too, but in our opinion they can make the stock a bit overly sweet (and thus less versatile). But if you have some handy, hey, there's no harm in tossing one or two in – might negate the need for seasoning with rock sugar at the end.

    4. For any others carnivores out there, this is also a nice stock to whip up because it's cheap and dirt simple. Want to make it non-veg? Toss in ~40g of Jinhua ham (Iberico ham or an unsmoked country ham being a good sub), and optionally a couple dried scallops. Full disclosure that that's kinda a personal riff, but it's damn good.

    5. So what did we do with all that leftover soybean/mushroom/chestnut? This was random and a weird fusion-y concoction of mine, but to give you an idea… first I fried some diced Jinhua ham, smashed garlic ginger & scallion whites, and the bottom dregs of our almost gone XO-sauce bottle in lard… then added flour to that (~6 tbsp?) as if I was making a country gravy. Then once the roux was blonde added all those cooked ingredients… plus Shaoxing, Light Soy sauce, Dark soy sauce, water, some slab sugar, & a bit of our vegetarian stock. Let it bubble uncovered til thickened, ~30 minutes. Seasoned with MSG, a little fish sauce, and a touch of Chingkiang vinegar (mostly because I slightly overdid the slab sugar so it was a touch too sweet, needed balance). It was a little too thin so I also hit it with a touch of slurry. Served with some crusty white bread that Steph just whipped up. I'll see if I can dig up a pic, it was way more delicious than it had any right to be.

    6. We do want to do a dive into Chinese Buddhist cuisine – it's fascinating. It's almost the opposite of Indian veg food – lots of mock meat. And while some might turn their nose up at 'mock meat' in the West, what that means is… really fun and interesting techniques.

    I know this video was a short one – we've also got a video on Cantonese smothered tofu coming up in a couple days. We were actually going to release the two videos simultaneously, but we felt it might be smarter to release that one after the Halloween holiday's done 🙂 Planning for a Saturday (our time).

  4. I just love your channel. Thank you so much for this broth recipe. Due to extreme food allergies, I'm a gluten-free vegan. Authentic Chinese food is one of my absolute favorite foods to make. I'm pretty good at subbing foods so I can make recipes to fit my allergies, but this broth will help make it super easy. I saw the jujube when you were talking about the additional straw mushroom. Is this also an ingredient you can add for variation of flavor, or were they just incidentally in the frame? Thanks again.

  5. I can't eat onion and garlic and finding a bouillon/premade stock is near impossible. This stock seems so easy to make i might just use this from now on

  6. Thanks for the detail about the stock cooking at a higher temp than Western stocks.
    Avoiding a boil for stocks is all but beaten into us in culinary school here. So, it's a hard habit to avoid.
    I even worked in a Chinese style restaurant while going to school. It's owned by a Chinese born immigrant who is something of a local hero.
    I prepped a lot of stock there. But ours was a bone based chicken stock which was oddly missing celery.
    I was told that Chinese people don't really like the green color it gives to the stock. It's off-putting.
    Not sure how ubiquitous this feeling is in the Chinese culture, but I wonder what you think?

  7. Awesome! Can you please share the Chinese Buddhist recipes when convenient? Your mapo tofu is the only 'authentic' recipe that I know (and the best thing I can cook!) that allows me to cook vegan and avoid the five pungent herbs of Chan.

    Also a shout out to others watching this, can you recommend other authentic dishes which would fit the bill?

  8. I'd love to see a video where you apply a lot of the logic you teach in these specific recipes to talk about what people eat when they're just throwing things together. What are the nameless pantry meals everyone makes on Wednesdays?

  9. I'm trying this over the weekend! I have never found or made a really good veg stock. It's always~insipid~I guess is the best word. It lacks the richness of meat stock.
    This recipe may just be what I'm looking for, thanks to you both.
    I'm still loving your channel Steph and Chris! And congratulations on your move and over 220K subs.
    😂 I feel like a proud muma who's child has grown up to be something wonderful. I'll enjoy it for as long as you keep making these.
    Jenn 🇨🇦

  10. I always make their recipes first, then create my own abominations. I respect the meticulously and incrementally (sometimes through several generations) crafted traditional recipes, but I actually prefer my own abominations more at times. Creating your own dishes and freeing yourself from recipes is an amazing feeling, especially when you make something truly unique and tasty, and share your creations with your family and friends.

    This channel is definitely one of the most important cooking channels on Youtube. China has always been isolated (to an extent) geographically, politically, culturally, etc… from the west for centuries. It's disappointing to see that a lot of the cooking methods and traditions in this channel are lost in Chinese families living in the west for just one generation. Thousands of home kitchens have been greatly enhanced because of this channel, and I wish there was a true "Cooking Demystified" channel for every cuisine in the world. I'm grateful for this channel :))))) -> those are the chins I have accrued since watching my first video from this channel

  11. Another thing to do with the leftovers: cooked rice or buckwheat or even potato, fried mixture of onions, garlic, carrot with an option to even add walnut. Blend it all or mince in a meat grinder. Form into cutlets and bake in oven 180*С for 40 minutes. Or even fry it covered with breadcrumbs.

  12. Thanks for the video! Here are a few things I would like to see you do videos on:
    * Hong Kong style black pepper sauce
    * Egg and tomato
    * Tea eggs
    * Hong Kong style cocktail bun

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