While a basic chicken stock is a must-have in every home cook’s arsenal, in more formal Chinese restaurants and banquets, chefs usually have a steaming vat of superior stock on hand, also known as high stock (gao tang or shang tang). For a greater umami kick, the stock might include richer ingredients like the prized Jinhua ham and dried scallops.
A fillet of steamed grouper is served the traditional Cantonese way, with a delicious mixture of soy sauce and stock spooned over it; a plump crab claw is steamed with egg whites and the juices are made into a rich sauce with the addition of stock and Hua Diao wine.
Recipe courtesy of chef de cuisine Lau Ping Lui of Tin Lung Heen, Hong Kong
300 grams chicken legs (kampong or old hen)
300 grams Chinese ham (Jinhua ham)
300 grams lean pork meat
2 liters water (or enough to cover)
A handful of dried longans
1. Remove the skin from the ham, and blanch the ham with hot water. Parboil the chicken legs and pork to remove any unpleasant odors.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the parboiled ham, chicken and pork. When the meat comes to a boil again, turn the heat down and remove any scum.
3. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 4 hours. (Not letting the stock boil too vigorously keeps it from turning cloudy.)
4. Add in dried longans and simmer for another hour. The longans will remove any meaty odors and add a sweetness to the stock.