Asian Chicken Stock

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  • 2 yellow onions, quartered
  • 4-inch section of fresh ginger, peeled and lightly crushed with the flat side of a cleaver
  • 1 organic chicken, about 3-4 lbs, excess fat and skin, organs and tail removed and discarded
  • 2 lbs chicken parts
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1-inch chunk yellow rock sugar
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or dried


Rinse the chicken under cool water. Detach each wing. Add the wings and neck, if included, to the chicken parts. Set the chicken aside.

Put the chicken parts (not the whole chicken) in a stockpot and add cold water just to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil vigorously for 2-3 minutes to release impurities (this will help make your broth clear). Dump the chicken parts into a strainer and rinse the parts well with water to wash off any nasty residue. Quickly scrub the stockpot clean and return the chicken parts to the pot. Nestle the chicken (breast side up) into the bed of chicken parts. Add 4-5 quarts of water. The chicken should be covered with about 1-inch of water to spare. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Use a ladle or shallow spoon to skim off any scum or froth that floats to the top. Add the onions, ginger, salt, fish sauce, rock sugar, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cilantro and kaffir lime leaves. Simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Remove the whole chicken from the water and transfer it to a large bowl. The chicken should be fully cooked at this point. Flush the chicken with cold water and drain well, then set aside until cool enough to handle, about 15-20 minutes. Continue to simmer the chicken parts.

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, use a knife to remove the breasts and the legs (thighs and drumsticks). Set aside on a large plate to cool completely. Return the chicken carcass to the stockpot and adjust the heat to simmer the broth gently for another 1 1/2 hours.

Cover the chicken breasts and legs with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring them back to room temperature before serving.

Strain the broth through a sieve lined with a cheesecloth. Discard the solids. Skim as much fat from the top of the broth as you can. Taste the broth and season to taste with additional salt, fish sauce and rock sugar. There will be about 4 quarts (16 cups) of broth.

If you want, you can cool the broth and refrigerate it overnight to remove the fat that solidifies at the top and then just reheat.