Bone broth is the base for so many classic dishes around the world. Every culture has its version of the cure-all liquid from the classic Matzo Ball Soup to Vietnamese Pho.
The origins of bone broth date back to the Stone Age, when a nourishing broth was made from adding hot stones to any remaining meat, fat and bones to make a ‘stone soup’. Its roots spread across the globe and its influence is still strong today in classic international dishes we all know so well.
Although the base of bone broth is always the same, and relatively simple, the influences of local cuisine and climate have meant endless iterations of this foundational food have been created. Let’s explore some of these well-loved and traditional recipes from across the globe.
Asia: Nourishment for Body and Soul
In Asia, bone broth has been a cornerstone of culinary and medicinal traditions for centuries. Known as "long-simmered soup" or "tonic soup”, ancient Chinese traditions believed bone broth harnessed the essence of the bones and imparted their healing properties into the broth. It is still revered today for its ability to boost energy, support digestion, and promote overall well-being.
Scandinavia: Sustenance in Harsh Climates
In the cold climates of Scandinavia, bone broth has played a vital role in traditional diets. Scandinavians utilised bones from various sources, such as reindeer and fish, to create a hearty and robust broth. Often infused with juniper berries, bay leaves, and root vegetables, Scandinavian bone broth offered a nourishing and warming base still seen in traditional recipes followed today.
Finland's traditional fish soup - Lohikeitto - is made from a blend of fish bone broth, aromatic herbs like dill, and hearty vegetables, and is a comforting dish ideal for the long winter evenings. Find the recipe for Lohikeitto here.
India: Spiced and Flavourful
Bone broth is an essential element in Indian cuisine, valued for its rich and flavorful qualities as well as its nutritional benefits. Known as "yakhni" in various regions, broth is often made with mutton bones with a mix of aromatic spices such as turmeric, carraway and ginger for added health benefits. It also makes the perfect base for a dahl - you can find our Freja Chicken and Red Lentil Dahl recipe.
South America: Rich and Hearty
In South America, bone broth is a fundamental element of traditional cooking. In Mexico, "caldo" refers to a variety of soups enriched with bone broth.In other South American countries like Peru, you’ll find "chupe de camarones," a shrimp and vegetable soup enriched with bone broth.
Middle East: A Nourishing Base
In Middle Eastern cookery, bone broth also plays an integral role, celebrated for its deep flavours and nutritional significance. Known as "shorba" ,the slow-cooked broth is the key base in dishes like rice pilafs, nourishing stews, and flavorful soups. In Middle Eastern households, this cherished liquid continues to be an essential component of family gatherings and feasts. Find our Chicken Bone Broth Shakshuka recipe here.
Bone broth's history in world cuisines is a testament to its enduring appeal and versatility. It has provided nourishment, comfort, and cultural significance to communities across the globe.