Chinese Master Stock, Lo Shui (广式卤水)

Today, we wanted to show you how to make a
classic and pretty easy dish, lo mei. Now Lo Mei is basically just a platter of
various protein products simmered until tender in lushui, Chinese master stock. While there definitely are some classics,
you honestly can really stew whatever you want… the constant here is that lushui,
the liquid you’re simmering in. Of course, lushuis can vary wildly from region
to region and even restaurant to restaurant, but we figured that a bog standard Cantonese
variety would be as good of a starting point as any. So right, to get started with Chinese master
stock, you’ll need… stock, here, 350 grams worth. As you might be able to tell from the cloudiness,
this was a basic sort of homestyle stock but something like Cantonese superior stock would
also be great if you’re in the mood. Now if those words happened to be completely
new to you, feel free to check out our Chinese stock making video up here, but honestly,
in a pinch… you could absolutely just use water as well. Why? Because using stock for this dish is actually
a more recent phenomenon. Back in the day, the savoryness would come
solely from soy sauce… a good soy sauce to be exact. The transition to stock bases happened in
order to compensate for lower quality mass produced soy sauce… so if you happen to
own a bottle of small batch first press soy sauce like this, skip the stock. Of course, I’ve never really seen quality
artisanal Chinese soy sauce available anywhere in the West, so instead we’ll use 350 grams
of a more normal sort. This brand donggu is a good one that I’ve
seen at some Chinese supermarkets abroad, but no matter what just make sure that your
soy sauce is a naturally fermented one. Next up, rice wine. For this we’ll want a higher quality wine
than the standard liaojiu cooking wine, here we’re using 230 grams of some proper Shaoxing
wine. Just be careful because outside China a lot
of stuff that’s labeled Shaoxing wine in English is actually just liaojiu… if you
want to be sure to get something good, find a bottle that says it’s huadiao. We’ll also be supplementing that with 20
grams of Cantonese rose wine… this is sort of optional, if you can’t find it just use
all Shaoxing. Finally, the spice mix. Again, a lot of different directions you could
go, and not all of these are 100% imperative. You’ll definitely want six star anise, two
cinnamon or cassia sticks, ten grams licorice root, and three grams of whole cloves. All of those are musts. We’d also recommend adding in three grams
of sand ginger, and you could sub that for dried galangal, three grams dried and aged
tangerine peel or just toss in some dry orange peel if you need, one black cardamom pod and
just skip this if you can’t find it, and a half of a Luo Han Guo. This stuff is a dried fruit that’s also
used a bit in Chinese medicine… it should be available online because hippies seem to
love their TCM, but if you can’t find it just up your licorice root to about fifteen
grams instead. Toss all the spices in a tofu or cheesecloth
and wrap them up, or use a spice bag if you got one, and we are good to make some lushui. So in a pot over medium heat first fry a one
inch knob of ginger and thirty grams of scallions until fragrant, about one minute, and add
in your stock together with your soy sauce and wine. We’ll also go in with 300 grams of slab
sugar, and if you can’t find slab sugar use rock sugar or brown sugar instead. Bring it up to a simmer to let the slab sugar
melt into the lushui, then add in your spice bag, cover, and let that simmer on low for
at least 30 minutes. As that’s simmering, we can prep our proteins. We chose to cook this with 200 grams of Dougan,
which’s a sort of hyper firm tofu. We’ll also toss in six chicken wings, which’re
my personal favorite, a couple duck wings, though goose wings would win you authenticity
bonus points, and one pork tongue. The wings are good to use as is, and for the
tofu just cut them into about two inch squares. To prep the tongue, begin by tearing off any
of the remaining white layer near the back of the tongue. Then, cut off the fat and membrane on the
underside… those bits have a bit off an off taste and are best removed. Now before we cook those in the lushui, we’ll
give these all a blanch. To some rapidly boiling water, add in the
duck or goose wings, the tofu, and the tongue. Let those cook at a light boil for five minutes,
then add in the wings and let that go for another minute. Remove, and transfer over to a bowl of cool
water. Now give those all a rinse under running water
for about a minute to remove any leftover gunk, and now these are good to toss in your
lushui. So right, after that 30 minutes of simmering,
our lushui is ready to use. Add in all of your blanched ingredients, squeezing
the tofu in the cracks… simmer those for about 40 minutes at the lowest heat your stove’ll
go. And after 40 minutes, that’s it. Take it all out, tossing on a serving plate,
and your lo mei is ready to eat. We’re not done yet though. Bring the lushui up to a boil again, then
strain it into a container to freeze. This is master stock because you can use this
stuff again and again, and it’ll get tastier with each use. If you find it’s starting to run low, just
whip up another batch and supplement.

85 Replies to “Chinese Master Stock, Lo Shui (广式卤水)”

  1. Did i just see a sign for Philly? I goto the Asian supermarket on 6th and Washington all the time. Wilmington doesn’t have an Asian market comparable to the one in Philly. I always come home with pork belly and a few bottles of cooking soy sauce and Masterchef fish sauce (best fish sauce).

  2. After a few uses, the stock will become gelatinous when cooled since collagen is extracted from the boiled meats and accumulates in the stock.

  3. Anyone recall which video was something with pork tenderloin? I was going to look for it, but saw this first.

  4. bru imma glad that your showing more recipes with star anus. as i have mentioned before chinese cooking feels incomplete without star anus.

  5. Hey guys, a few notes:

    1. So I know we spent a lot of time chatting about soy sauces and such, in hindsight we probably should've interspersed it more evenly in the video. I'm worried some of the ratios might've fallen through the cracks, so here's the ingredient list:

    350 grams stock (or water)
    350 grams light soy sauce (naturally fermented, e.g. Magi sauce won't cut it)
    230 grams Shaoxing wine/Huadiao wine
    20 grams Cantonese rose wine
    300 grams slab sugar (or dark brown sugar)
    1 inch of ginger
    30g scallions
    6 star anise
    2 cinnamon sticks
    10g licorice root (or 15g if not using luohanguo)
    3g whole cloves
    3g sand ginger (aka Cutcherry, can sub dried galangal)
    3g dried and aged tangerine peel (in an ideal world, could sub dried orange peel)
    1 black cardamom pod (skip if you can't find)
    1/2 of a Luo Han Guo

    2. So as I said, there's a bunch of different Lushuis in China. In addition to the Cantonese variety, other famous ones are the Sichuanese style and the Teochew style. Teochew style's basically a deluxe version of this one, with a mountain of different ingredients – it includes ingredients like galangal, Jinhua ham, and fish sauce… not to mention difficult to source stuff like toad jerky. We definitely want to go over it in a future video, but we figured the Cantonese version would be a good starting point.

    3. So if you're keeping this in the fridge, make sure your container is heat resistant, clean, and dry. Cover while the lushui is still hot. It'll keep about a week in the fridge at that rate, which is when you should take it out and either boil it again and/or stew some stuff again. If you find yourself not using it weekly, transfer over to your freezer.

    4. Taking an extra week to think on it, we think the slab sugar is actually pretty important. If you notice, the stuff we stewed actually has a sort of ever so slight reddish hue – this is from the combination of soy sauce and slab sugar. We didn't emphasize that in the video because we know that some restaurants use a combination of granulated sugar and a touch of red yeast rice to arrive at the same result. Slab sugar is also used in Mexican cuisine IIRC, another name for it is 'jaggery'. I think dark brown sugar would be the best sub.

    5. As Steph said in the outro, traditionally Lushui is the base of Char Siu sauce. This is something that we covered in our Char Siu Roast Pork video a long time back, but honestly I think this lushui would be a much better starting point for Char Siu sauce than that one. If you'd like to make Char Siu sauce out of this lushui base, go for it, but know that you might want to tinker with the ratios if working from the recipe we put out a couple years ago.

    6. As a starting point, I'd use 3/4 cup of this lushui together with 3 tablespoons of a good mianchi (or Japanese red miso, basically the same thing as traditional mianchi), 1 tbsp of the liquor from red fermented tofu, and 1/2 tsp ground red yeast rice or 1.5 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika (for color). From there, add in some Maltose to taste – in our original recipe we went with 3 tbsp, but I'm a little worried that that might end up being too sweet. Also, our original recipe added in some powdered Sand Ginger, but I'm thinking that that might be because we were using LKK as a guidepost – they have a strong Sand Ginger kick in theirs. Lastly, in the marinade go with the same three parts Char Siu sauce to one part soy sauce… but in hindsight I think that dark soy sauce would probably yield a better result.

    7. I know that for this dish we were quite insistent on using high quality (and potentially pricier) ingredients. I always kind of dislike whenever a food show host demands things like "a very good olive oil" or "the finest San Marzano tomatoes" off the cuff, as if price is no issue. But for Lushui, this is one of those things where ingredient quality really matters. If you used liaojiu cooking wine and Magi soy sauce (or god forbid, some of those really nasty American soy sauces) in this dish, it's just not going to come out as well. The good news is though that once you make this stuff once, you can use it again and again.

    8. Apologies again for the late video, if you didn't see the community post it was because my microphone died, conveniently… right in the middle of recording. New microphone arrived on Friday, I'm really liking it. Still need to play around with some things re the audio, but I think it sounds much better (if you have zero clue what I'm talking about, listen to an older video with a pair of good headphones).

  6. 4:04 After reviewing a couple more vids, there is a very simple way to remedy your loose faucet. [Bear with the generality but] There is usually only 1 massive, tightening washer around the bottom of the threaded spigot visible in your video. You shouldn't need to remove anything, but will need to look closest to the wall, behind the white basin and vertical neck. From there, you'll notice a rather loose — and rather wobbly neck hanging down with a mildly-tight — and thin washer/ring around it's bottom portion. It's loose b/c the top of your faucet also wobbles to and fro when you turn it on/off. This thin washer is quite easy to manage, and can simply be turned by hand. Once you've completed this simple task, both your upper faucet, lower spigot, and [previous] irrigation system will tame itself.

    If it fails the first time, simply reverse, read the instruction again, then give it another go. You'll get there quick enough. 😊

  7. holy crap you guys congratulations on almost 160k subs!!!!! I remember when you guys only had like 2000 haha, it wasn't even too long ago ! Keep up the good work!

  8. My sister used to do this quite often with pig trotters and the knuckles above them. But since we live far away now, time to make it myself, thanks for the recipe! After a few times, I use the stock as a sauce to stir thru my noodles… Shit, I'm hungry just thinking about it.

  9. You might consider adding subtitles for Chinese terms. Your soy sauce discussion was interesting, but its hard to follow when u throw out allot of Chinese names in succession. Love your channel. I only recently found u and have watched several vids.

  10. This stuff is fantastic. A great recipe too. I kept a batch of this stuff on the go for more than 5 years, keeping it in the freezer and giving it a good rapid 20 minute boil every time I used it (at least monthly, usually weekly). The boiling will kill bacteria, and keeping the pH low and high salt factor will kill things like botulism (heaven forbid). This stuff will make anything taste delicious… with the one exception of tripe. It absorbs too much sauce, and turns jet black. I'd tend to avoid using pork, as you end up with a lot of fat int the broth that you need to get rid of, although pork tongue sounds like an excellent idea.

    I would top up the sauces/spices/ginger/alcohol/sugar/scallions most uses. Once a year I would make a "sacrifice" to the stock, adding a whole black silky chicken. I would still have it to this day, if it weren't for my moving into a smaller place with a tiny freezer.

    My nightmare was making sure the freezer never shut off if e.g. I went away on vacation. The test for this is to keep a box of ice cubes. If you come back and the cubes are one solid layer, it means your freezer died at some point, and you'll have to throw away all your food.

    It was also my go-to answer for "If your house was on fire, what one item would you save?". Obviously the master stock… and a cooler.

  11. Just curious about why both star anise and licorice root are necessary. They have practically the same flavor.

  12. OMG! THANK YOU! I've been hoping for something like this for years. When I've asked other folks who post on YouTube about a Master Sauce, I was told there is no such thing ???? or "I only do stir fry". I plan to "devour" this video. Thanks again. 谢谢

  13. YES. Finally I have found out what this stuff is. A simpler version was made for me when I was younger and worked at a Chinese restaurant. This old Mandarin couple that did not speak any English would make us minions lunch every day after the lunch rush. It always had chicken legs and thighs, usually chopped right through the bone in half.

  14. I know this request isnt relevant to the dish displayed, but, I would be forever grateful if you had a wonton in a spicy( I believe Sichuan) sauce 🙏🙏 You guys are so inspirational!!a

  15. Its nice to learn how to make these from scratch as opposed to just buying the ready made sauces in the store. Everything is made for convenience these days, that so many rudimentary skills are being lost.

  16. Wow, I cannot believe this is so easy. I would probably go to Chinatown or my local Asian grocery store to get the essential ingredients. One more thing, maybe you can have a video used on cooking ingredients. Maybe have a closer clear picture or close-up on what to look for. Awesome informative video.

  17. Hey Chris, I've been binge watching these videos today and I've noticed that you frequently bring up a little bit of biochem in your recipe explanations. I was wondering if you have a background in biochemistry?

  18. Hey, I love your videos and recipes! Would you be able to make a video going over some of the more common Chinese spices/sauces/additives that you use in your cooking? I'd like to get a base of good, solid ingredients that I can use for a bunch of different recipes, and it would be nice to hear you and Steph talk about the different ingredients you most often use (and the differences between them). Thanks!!

  19. Absence of garlic and heavy use of Luohanguo&Chenpi as well as sugar really differs this stock from northern style stocks. Nice!

  20. some people would take out some lushui and cook soybean products (e.g. tofu) separately, and discard the lushui afterwards; they claim soybean products make lushui harder to preserve (aka could turn sour).

  21. Just noticed a totally inappropriate comment on the note section you kindly left us from some dude called tuber. From me to you. I didn’t know this was an English or Chinese language course, as far as I know it’s a cooking lesson who cares about pronunciation?? I don’t!
    Point is these two go out their way to get some very interesting points across and take the time and trouble to try and sort out alternatives if we don’t live in China. Whoever you are, stick to what you know and keep your comments polite. They you left weren’t

  22. Dammit. I was just thinking I'm getting the hang of this and then the cooking wine part of the video told me something I didn't know.
    Could you do a video on Chinese cooking wet ingredients?

  23. i just wanna say that this is THE best chinese cooking channel on the planet. you are so informative, concise, and effective at teaching us real regional chinese cuisines. Lots of these recipes i haven't cooked yet but it is fascinating watching you break it down. I hope that this channel helps everyone understand how complex and refined chinese cooking can be.

  24. "Bog standard?" What the heck does that mean? TCM? Turner Classic Movies? This isn't as fun or informative if I have to keep stopping to look up the insider slang.

  25. Another great video! I found your channel recently while researching an ingredient, and got hooked 🙂 Great to have a proper authentic source of information on the topic.

    I wonder if you could explain a little about papain… I heard it mentioned in one of your videos, and it piqued my curiosity. I could find quite a few sources online that explained what it is and the chemical action of it breaking peptide bonds (resulting in the tenderness), but nowhere could I find actual application of it in cooking. Doses, methods, etc.

    I decided to buy some on taobao (really quite cheap for a fairly big tub), and I somewhat successfully used it on some sliced pork for stir frying, but it was all guesswork.

    Greetings from Suzhou!

  26. Thank you for the recipe! It's delicious 🙂 the sand ginger was hard to find here in germany. The packaging label was referring to ginger/galangal, that was a little bit confusing. The botanical name seems to be "Kaempferia galanga". I double checked that intel in the store and on Wikipedia.
    Please correct me if I'm wrong with this.

  27. If I want to make the Sichuan variety, do I just throw in some dried chili, Sichuan pepper and maybe a bit more cinnamon?

  28. I would totally love to see more recipes involving Cantonese Rose Wine, I have a bottle sitting at home that doesn't see much of the sun hehe 😉

  29. Any recommendations on which cuts of beef/pork might work? I could get dougan and pork tongue from the asian supermarket like an hour away, but I usually don't want to drive that far.

  30. How about adding szechuan peppercorn and anise/fennel seeds? I tried cooking a hoisin marinated pork belly in it and added the sichuan peppercorns and anise seeds and may have overpowered the taste. Do I toss it out or remedy it with another batch? I have used it over 5 times now. The previous ones with just clean chicken and pork

  31. One of the best things you can do is learn to make stock, roasting bones, veggies, basics. I was raised in the French traditions but it translates to everything.

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