How To Skim Off the Scum and Fat from Soups and Stocks (灰汁取り)
In Japanese cooking, skimming off the scum and fat that accumulates on the surface of the stoup/stock is very important to create a nice and clean soup/stock. Yes, I know it is extra work, but it’s also the key for the “refined” taste and it is required to keep the liquid clear.
When soups and stocks are about to boil, proteins start to congeal and create foams that rises to the surface. It’s usually whitish or brownish and you need to remove the form as quickly as possible before it boils and mixes up the scum with the soup/stock. And here’s how I do it.
- A stainless steel fine mesh strainer (You can buy from Amazon.)
- A bowl with water in it
1. When the soup/stock is about to boil, stay around the kitchen. You start to see the scum and fat floating and creating forms. With the mesh sieve in one hand and the other hand with the bowl of water, start scooping it off.
2. After you pick up the scum, rinse the sieve in the bowl and continue to scoop the scum.
3. Keep the liquid at a simmer rather than a hard boil because it will mix up the scum and cloud the soup. Make sure to thoroughly skim.