Friday, 15 September 2017

Prawn Heads Stock Base 虾头浓汤底

In South East Asia, seafood or chicken stock are commonly used as a base to cook many dishes. In Singapore, for instance, we use Prawn Heads Stock Base 虾头浓汤底 as a base to cook local delights such as Hokkien Fried Noodles, Prawn Mee, Tom Yum Soup, Steam Boat Soup Base.... etc.

Therefore, I inculcate the habit of stocking different frozen stock bases in boxes as they'll surely come in handy when I decide to cook any specific dishes 'from scratch' instead of using store bought pastes and packet stocks. The prawn heads stock is not difficult to make. I usually collect the prawn heads in my freezer and only brew it when I have few hours of spare time. There's really no fixed rules and methods to brew the stock base. What I'm sharing here is a method that suits my home cooking style, without using extravagant ingredients. Do make your own adjustments accordingly. 

Ingredients (enough for about 2 to 2.5 litre) :
  • 2 boxes of raw prawn heads and shells (lunch box size)
  • 1 cup ikan bills or small yellow shrimps
  • 1/2 to 1 chicken or duck carcass (frozen from leftover meals) or some poached pork meat or bones.
  • 1 cup soy beans
  • 8 to 10 slices ginger
  • 2 mid sized onions (julienned)
  • 8 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise (broken into pieces)
  • 3 pcs cloves
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 to 3 tbsp fish sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp gula melaka/palm sugar (or to taste)
  • 2.5 litre water

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon) 

Method :
  1. Heat a little oil and lightly stir fry all aromatic ingredients (i.e. ginger, onions, garlic, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, peppercorns)  in soup pot at medium heat till aromatic. 
  2. Add prawn heads, shells and ikan bilis into the pot and stir fry till fragrant. 
  3. Add water and soy beans into soup pot, cover lid and allow to simmer at medium heat till boiled.
  4. Upon boiling point, turn to low heat and continue to simmer for 3 to 4 hours or to your satisfied richness.
  5. Turn off heat and allow stock to cool. 
  6. Remove scums and strain stock before scooping into respective storage containers. 
  7. Freeze till ready to use.


The soup taste is not intense or too flavourful at this stage. I usually add seasonings to taste upon cooking as different dish would require different level of flavours and intensity. This would allow some room for adjustments upon cooking.

(scroll to bottom of page, click on "Print" or "PDF" icon for printer friendly recipe)


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