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Lu Shui, Chinese Master Sauce

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chefzadi   

Ben-

My MIL still has a bottle of the traditional Kanjang (you can call it Korean soy sauce, but it's very different from commercial varieties) that she made over 30 years ago when she first immigrated to the States. She saves it for very special occassions. I think that is the oldest homemade sauce I have ever tried.

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Dim Sim   

Just the other day while I was cleaning the freezer, I came across the master stock that I have used a couple of times about 2 years back, it has been in the freezer all this time, I was wondering if it is still alright to use, may be give it a good boiling over a few minutes, or just throw the whole thing out and start a new batch, any suggestion ?

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hzrt8w   
... I was wondering if it is still alright to use, may be give it a good boiling over a few minutes, or just throw the whole thing out and start a new batch, any suggestion ?

just try it.

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Dim Sim   
... I was wondering if it is still alright to use, may be give it a good boiling over a few minutes, or just throw the whole thing out and start a new batch, any suggestion ?

just try it.

it smells and tastes alright, does it mean it is okay to use ? I don't want to get food poisoning :shock:

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hzrt8w   
it smells and tastes alright, does it mean it is okay to use ? I don't want to get food poisoning  :shock:

It should be okay. But if there is any lingering doubt in your mind, don't use it. Nothing is worth the psychological burden.

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XiaoLing   

My mother's master braising sauce has been around the family for more than 20 years.

The key to keeping it for that long is to make sure you don't contaminate it. She only uses her master sauce for beef, eggs and other meats. Never for seafood.

And like hzrt8w said, strain out all the ingredients and put the stock in clean, dry container. And as Dejah said, do not remove the layer of fat and you can store it in the regular fridge side of your fridgerator.

The taste of an old aged master sauce is a lot more complex and flavorful.

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takadi   

This is fascinating. I would always figure that reboiling a stock would muddy up the flavors and break down whatever compounds are in the water into something unrecognizable. This practice always seemed quite unhygenic to me, keeping stock for decades at a time, but it seems it's as cherished as high quality aged wine

Does anyone have any pictures of their master stock?


Edited by takadi (log)

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Ben Hong   

Does anyone have any pictures of their master stock?

Just picture deep rich mahogany coloured water glistening with small pools of oil. :rolleyes:

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I will try and remember to take some pictures of mine tonight... but compared to some it is just a baby master stock - only about 5 months old. It is dark and murky and ugly, but has a real depth of flavour that is hard to describe.


Edited by infernooo (log)

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djyee100   

I was reading one of Anne Perry's murder mysteries set in Victorian England. The heroine, who is a nurse, doesn't have time to cook fancy dinners for her husband the detective. (She's not much of a cook anyway.) So, she keeps a pot of stew constantly on low heat at the back of the stove--for weeks at a time. Every few days she replenishes it with more meat and veggies. Sounds like a kind of Lushui Zhi to me.

Given the many authentic details in Anne Perry's Victorian England books, it wouldn't surprise me if the author came across this cooking method in her research. It makes sense for a working class dinner, don't you think?

BTW, this murder mystery is about a psychopathic serial killer on the loose and hiding in the sewers along the Thames River. But what piques my curiosity? That stew cooking for weeks at the back of the stove. How do you know when you're a foodie...


Edited by djyee100 (log)

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Made a master sauce using the Tropp recipe as a base and with a few tweaks:

gallery_19804_437_39635.jpg

No chicken or soy sauce pictured.

It's fantastic. What do people use their sauces for? Braising, I know, but anything else?

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Seared off some beef short ribs and braised them in the master sauce; toward the end of the braise I added some halved fresh water chestnuts, quartered fresh black mushrooms, and 2" pieces of presoaked tofu sticks. It's resting in a vacuum-sealed package in the fridge overnight for a dinner party on Friday, so I haven't dug in, but, man, it's good.

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Beebs   

My mum's had her Lu Shui for over 15 yrs. She used to store it in the fridge with the fat seal, but is now freezing it between uses after she had a jar of it go bad once. My favourite is braised duck, eggs, and dried pressed tofu. For years I've been begging for a jar of her Magic Lu Shui, but she'll only pass it on to us kids when we get married. Now that I'm getting married this yr, I'm holding her to that. Only a foodie gets excited over the prospect of a jar of old braising liquid as a wedding present!! :wub:

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hzrt8w   
It's fantastic. What do people use their sauces for? Braising, I know, but anything else?

Chris you can use the master sauce as a marinade to prepare Cantonese BBQ pork or spareribs. Just use a small amount, along with some pressed garlic. Marinate overnight or something, then bake/roast the meat/ribs.

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dmreed   

years ago I had a looo (spelling from The Wok by Gary Lee) and I kept it going for more than a year. it simmered all the time. I added water and more spices as needed. it definitely becomes more tasty with more use. use it for all meats except livers and seafood which require their own looos!

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Chris you can use the master sauce as a marinade to prepare Cantonese BBQ pork or spareribs.  Just use a small amount, along with some pressed garlic.  Marinate overnight or something, then bake/roast the meat/ribs.

Would that work for the grill? Seems like it would. I have a couple of chickens in the fridge that I need to do something with....

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Haven't posted in a while but the lu shui is part of our regular dinner repertoire, particularly now that the weather is cold. Perk up the lu with new aromatics if needed, choose your protein (chicken, pork, or beef), add some tofu sticks, mushrooms, onions, water chestnuts, and any other good braising elements, and cook it low & slow in the clay pot. Making it this week for Christmas, in fact.

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Dejah   

Braised beef tendons in my lu shui this week. Great with a bowl of shrimp noodles, yu choi, and chili oil.

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I cook using a chinese master stock quite regularly and I'm very interested in the food saftey aspect of re-using this stock and for how long it's possible.

Most online recomendations are for 3 days refregerated and 1 month frozen. I keep mine for much longer than that in both states. My stocks contain soy sauce (salt), sugar (honey, yellow rock, castor, palm etc) and alcohol (shao hsing) so I'm pretty confidant that they can keep for more than the recommended times. My fridge runs at 1 degree celcius. My freezer runs at -25 degrees celcius.

I'd love to hear your views or comments on the safety aspect of keeping these stocks and for how long you think they can be kept for.


Edited by Craig Bayliss (log)

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nickrey   

AS you are boiling the master stock intensively each time you use it, it would seem that the question would be more one of spoilage of taste rather than bacterial. Given the components that are used it may not be much of a problem, particularly as the master stock is typically reconstituted with ingredients as you go along.

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I've kept mine for a month or two in the fridge -- but I always make sure there's a cap of solidified fat across the top from whatever meat I cooked in it. That fat makes for a great cooking medium, and it seems to keep the lu just fine. As Nick said, a firm boil is necessary too.

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Thanks for your comments all. I've also read that it keeps indefinitely but every now and then I get a bit paranoid and ditch it, starting again. I've thrown away some good one's because of my uncertainty.

I too keep it with a good covering of solidified fat on the surface which should keep it from oxidising, the one I have at the moment is pretty much solid due to the gelatin content too :) I should post a picture.

Anyway, thanks again. I'll trust my instincts more in the future.

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Getting a new batch ready to go as we lost our last bc of a week-long power outage. Anyone else using a master sauce these days?

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