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This infusion ball of exotic spices makes a heavenly stock for spare ribs and duck. (LGE PKT)

Contains; star anise, licorice root, cumin seed, ginger, Sichuan pepper, allspice, fennel seed, cinnamon, coriander seed, orange peel and chilli.

To make a Master Stock: Disolve half a cup of sugar in 500mL boiling water, add 150mL soy sauce and put infusion ball in to simmer for 1 hour. Use to marinate pork and duck.

When the stock has been made, store the liquid in the refrigerator where it will last for up to three months. The Master Stock ball can be used two or three times. After the first use, put it back in the zip lock bag, and keep in the freezer until the next use. Use within one month of the first use.

CAUTION: Some recipes will call for the Master Stock ball to be left in the liquid stock while cooking proteins such as chicken, duck and pork. If the Master Stock ball has been infused with any meats, it must be stored in the freezer after each use, and for no longer than 4 weeks.

When you read about Master Stock balls being re-used for decades in China, keep in mind that it would be used every day, and the daily boiling would destroy any bacteria that may develop after the spices have been soaked in liquid and/or exposed to protein.

Refreshing a Master Stock ball simply involves undoing the string and adding extra spices (such as star anise, Sichuan pepper, cinnamon, etc.).

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