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  1. I bought from bol.com. I have to check out praxis next time. Thanks for the tip! It is still quite a bit more expensive than in the US though.
  2. Thanks for your comments, I guess its best if I try it out and see for myself. Damn, no wonder I couldn't find any article on conserving charcoal, I didn't know it is so cheap in the US. In the Netherlands, it costs 25 euros ($31) for one 22 lb bag.
  3. But can the charcoal be reused repeatedly? e.g. 1. Light charcoal 2. Stir fry for 2 minutes 3. Extinguish 4. Repeat every day with same charcoal?
  4. I might have missed it, but nobody seem to have answered my main question. So let me reiterate more clearly. Since charcoal still burns long after you finish stir frying, do all these charcoal go to waste? Or is there a more practical/economical way to do this?
  5. I read that charcoal is capable of generating high heat close to that of a wok burner so it can be used to make very good stir fries. I have never done a barbecue before so I don't know how do charcoals work, but common sense tells me that charcoal burns much longer than the few minutes of cooking time of a stir fry. I tried googling around a bit but failed to find any mention of this issue. Is there some way of making charcoal stir frying practical for everyday use? Perhaps by extinguishing and reusing the charcoals every time? Again, I have never dealt with charcoal before so I don't know if that is possible.
  6. I realized that I should have written the title differently. I am actually more interested in the effects of each ingredient in stocks rather than the difference between stock and water. I ran experiments and found that varying the ingredients don't change the final dish much, if at all. I think @paulraphael's explanation made a lot of sense. A stock's contribution to the final dish depends a lot on the final dish. In my leek potato soup, the large amount of aromatics from the leeks probably overpowered the aromatics from the vegetable stock. Maybe it would have benefited more from a meat stock since it does not contain any meat.
  7. @cdh, I haven't tested meat and bones yet, but assuming that they do vastly improve a dish, I would still question whether it matters that much if you add vegetables to the meat stock. No doubt it will improve the stock, but does it affect the end dish at all? @heidih, despite the discouraging results I got, I find it hard to dismiss stocks because many good cooking references take stocks very seriously. For example, even in the very rational, experiment-driven cookbook Modernist Cuisine, they listed the exact ratios of each of the stock ingredients (weight of onions should be 33% the weight of water etc.). If even Modernist Cuisine think that each ingredient in a stock is important, I can't help but think I'm doing something wrong here. @DiggingDogFarm, maybe you're right that it depends on the result I'm looking for in a dish. Perhaps the usual onion, carrot, celery combination is more of a general purpose stock and somethimes it does not matter whether you have celery or carrot in it.
  8. It has always been emphasized in many cookbooks and websites that stocks are very important and key to amazing dishes. Out of curiosity, I carried out comparison experiments to find out how each ingredient affect the flavor of stocks. I started out really simple: a comparison between pure onion stock and an onions+carrots stock. They do taste very different, I found that the carrots seem to mellow out the pungency of the onions. But here is the problem, I used the two different stocks to make two batches of potato leek soup. It was extremely hard to tell the difference between the two batches. I repeated the experiment several times with different ingredients: celery, leeks, parsley, tomato Again, they do taste different if the stock is tasted alone, but makes no difference when used as a base for another dish. The only exception was the tomato which adds a lot of acidity and umami. I think I must be doing something wrong or have misunderstood something, but with all these results, I wouldn't be surprised anymore if sugared water yields the same results as onion stock. Could someone perhaps share some insight regarding the topic?