This word derives from the verb bouillir, meaning “to boil”. Boiling is literally how bouillons came about. This is really, a broth, which can be taken on its own, as in French cuisine or the liquid used to create new dishes like soups, risotto, or sauces. This tasty and fragrant liquid may also be used in poaching fish, for example, for more flavors into the dish.
Preparing bouillon means boiling meat such as veal, pork, beef, or chicken with a mixture of herbs, spices, and vegetables like garlic and onion in water. There are meat choices, seafood options, and there are also vegetable variants, and sometimes employing mushrooms for vegetarian options. Making this from scratch is what’s usually urged in some recipes and households although there are store-brought stocks available already for those who need things to get cooked fast.
Bouillon cubes are created from dehydrated ingredients like meat stock, vegetables, salt, fat, and other seasonings in a cube form and set to be placed in water to boil. This is for those who wouldn’t want to bother making the stock from scratch due to lack of time and resources. Bouillon cubes are also used to enhance the flavor of dishes, not only in soups but also in hearty dishes like stews and stir-fries. This is faster and more convenient than creating the broth from scratch by collecting the ingredients need to be boiled. There are a lot of versions for this – pork, chicken, broth, fish, shrimp, and sometimes even vegetable like tamarind soup base or mushroom, for vegan options.
The granulated bouillon forms are most recommended for stews and stir-fries, although they also can be added to soup. Using the granulated form leaves a better distribution of the flavor since there are less liquid in stir-fries to dilute the bouillon cube into the dish. Whatever form they may be, cubes or granules, bouillon enhances the flavor of dishes such as soups, stir-fries, and stews with the convenience of just opening a pouch or a packet. This is a great option for those starting out to cook or for those who want to get things done fast. The bouillon soup made from scratch though, is a healthier option but it can be time consuming since it requires the preparation of ingredients.
There are lots of uses for bouillon, whether it is the soup itself, an enhancement of flavor, or a liquid used in steaming or poaching other ingredients.