There’s a South American proved which says ‘a good broth can resurrect the dead’. And it’s true when it comes to cooking bone broth. Or maybe just drinking it straight out of a cup.
Approximately 12,000 years ago, bone broth was made out of necessity. It took the hunter-gatherer culture of hunting, fishing and foraging for our forefathers to introduce this to the world but it dominantly found its place amongst the Asian cuisines of the world.
During the hunting-gathering period, finding a full meal was difficult and discarding even the tiniest bit of animal or seafood was a fool’s choice to make. Due to the lack of successful hunts, hunter-gatherers ensured that they made every bit of the animal count. And whatever wasn’t edible, well let’s just say it made a good rug or an overcoat, or sometimes… weapons.
Broth not stock!
While this method of cooking evolved over time, it was Hippocrates also known as the ‘father of medicine’ who recommended that bone broth can be used for digestive issues and can act as a cleanser. Many a times, bone broth is often mistaken for stock whereas the two mean different things, especially because one takes more time than the other to prepare.
Bone broth has risen to popularity quite well today in Dubai. Food by Gulf News spoke to two of the leading producers of bone broth in the UAE – HAPI and The Clean Living Company – and here’s what they had to say….
“Bone broth is essentially a clear soup made by lightly simmering bones. When we launched, we were first a fast casual dining concept in the region to serve Bone Broth as a drink. The inspiration behind having bone broth on our menu is slow cooking, and zero waste. Every traditional culture and cuisine has broth – so we wanted to reintroduce this delicious food to Dubai. Bone broth also has fantastic health benefits,” said Paul Frangie who is the founder and owner of HAPI Restaurant in Dubai.
Dean Henry, functional medicine certified health coach and co-founder of The Clean Living Company said: “When we launched The Clean Living Company back in 2016, I was studying to become a functional medicine certified health coach (now fully qualified), and I was learning about the extensive and varied health benefits that bone broth offered. Our first product to market was the original Clean Living Company Bone Broth, which came about due to the lack of its availability in the market.”
How can one make bone broth?
Bone broth takes over a day to perfect, especially since your key ingredients are bones. This prolonged cooking time allows the cartilage in the bones to tenderise well enough to get the collagen protein to permeate into the broth.
The best bone broth is made using a mix of different kinds of bones such as marrow bones, knuckles, neck bones oxtail, and even short ribs. Usually it’s best recommended to slow cook your broth for 24 to 48 hours to a fuller and thicker broth, but you could still achieve a reasonably good drink in 12 hours.
“Broth is slow cooked for several hours in order to infuse the flavours as well as extract the most nutrients from the bones… the broth is seasoned with fresh herbs, aromatics and spices – that complement each other as well as adding more nutritional benefits,” added Frangie.
If you do feel like you want to ‘amp’ it up a little bit, you could roast your meat and pull the bones out to make the broth for later.
Bone broth uses onions and carrots as its key vegetables, although some do add in apple cider vinegar along with spices like salt and pepper to give it a pleasant taste.
“Getting the right nutrients can have a profound effect on our bodies. Collagen and nutrients are drawn out of the dense, thick bones – which are also essential ingredients for repairing and strengthening your gut lining,” added Henry.
Health benefits of bone broth
While it may be undoubtedly tasty, bone broth comes with more than just a pocketful of benefits. Some say it’s the ideal solution to cure osteoarthritis, whereas others say it helps reduce inflammation and improves gut health. And they’re not wrong, because these speculations have been backed up by good research.
According to a study conducted by Harvard Medical School, “broths made from meat bones have been touted as foods that soothe arthritis, boost immune function, and smooth your skin”.
It supports both your physical and mental function. Your gut is related to your mind… when you have bone broth, it basically seals your gut lining, which is important, because if it is damaged from all of the preservatives of your junk food, you cannot have proper absorption of nutrients, and this could in turn affect your mental functions.
Food by Gulf News got in touch with Shirley DSouza, a Ketogenic and Primal Functional Nutritionist based in Dubai, also known by her social media handle @ketocoachdxb, who said: “Bone broth helps improve gut health and the gut includes both the small and large intestine, which are really essential for the absorption of nutrients. This is where you house your immune system, your microbiomes, your detoxification, your hydration… all of which interacts with your central nervous system. It supports both your physical and mental function. Your gut is related to your mind… when you have bone broth, it basically seals your gut lining, which is important, because if it is damaged from all of the preservatives of your junk food, you cannot have proper absorption of nutrients, and this could in turn affect your mental functions.
“Lot of people also use collagen-based beauty products, but I believe bone broth is the natural way of attaining good skin. Because of the nutrients of bone broth, lot of experts advise in incorporating this in their diet as well especially because it’s rich in Vitamin D, which helps in digestion and reduces inflammation and great to prevent hair fall and increase fertility.”
“The health benefits of drinking bone broth include improved digestion and gut health, balanced hormones, enhanced energy and better sleep. Bone broth also helps to promote healthy skin, hair, and even bone, joint and muscle recovery,” said Frangie.
Bone broth can last up to seven days in the refrigerator and up to 12 months, if frozen.
Types of bone broths
While bone broth is often associated as part of the non-vegetarian diet, you’ll be quite surprised to find out that vegetarians and vegans have options too!
“The vegan mushroom broth has a beautiful savoury, nutty umami flavour. It is naturally high in vitamin D and packed with nutrients that also help to improve gut health, boost the immune system and re-mineralise the body,” said Frangie.
"Not only does vegan broth help in lowering blood pressure levels, among other things, but broth, in general, has antiviral and antibiotic properties and can help eliminate heavy metals and parasites from the body while also reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system,” added Henry.
Broths of the world
Today, bone broth may be the easiest way to term this meaty elixir but the world has tweaked it to their liking. The French call it bouillon, the Portuguese caldo, the Italians brodo di carne, the Koreans seolleongtang, the Japanese call it tonkotsu, the Chinese have the bak kut teh, the Yemeni maraq and in India, haddi ka shorba.
But how does one truly differentiate from it all? While the process is relatively the same, there are differences in the ingredients. Some use vegetables, some uses spices whereas some use pulses to thicken the consistency of the liquid or broth....
In the mood for some bone broth? Try it out a home by watching this food guide.
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