Chicken Bones Soup Stock: Tori Gara Soup-Basic Recipe

I was going to post an interesting Japanese Avocado Recipe when I realized that it involves a chicken bones soup stock. Well, to put things simply, I will first introduce the chicken bones soup stock first and the avocado soup next! LOL

It is called “Tori-gara soup”/鶏がらスープ in Japanese, meaning “Chicken carcass soup”.

The following recipe is basic and can be expanded and amended at will. It has also the merit to be useful for any kind of gastronomy, be it Asian, American, European, or African soups or sauces!

INGREDIENTS: As for quantities, do experiment!

-Chicken carcass and bones
-Long leeks
-Ginger (fresh if possible)
-Laurel (fried leaves)
-Black pepper (coarsely ground)
-Japanese sake
-Fruit (apple are best)
-Soy sauce


Chicken carcass:
This is cheap and can be bought whole, unless you buy a whole chicken, dress it for another recipe and keep the bones and carcass. The latter can be deep-frozen, so don’t throw them away!

Break the bones roughly as the soup ingredients come from their insides. Clean then in running cold water. Drain them and leave them expaosed in a recipient in the refrigerator for a whole night.

You will need a large pot to make your soup.
Use long leeks of the variety above if you can get them. Actually any leeks should do. Cut them in practical pieces.

If possible get it fresh. If slightly dried up as found in Asian markets abroad, no problem.
A piece 5×5 cm (2×2 inches) should be enough.
Peel it and cut into rough slices.

Use it as fresh as possible.
Take out their core out as it is almost indegistible.
One clove should be enough. Slice it roughly after crushing it.

2 dried leaves are enough.

Black pepper:
Grind it over the soup. Quantity is much up to preferences.

Japanese sake:
Use real sake or cooking sake.
You definitely need it.
If unavailable, use dry white wine.

Soy sauce:
Here too, quantity is much up to your preferences.

Fruit will provide you the right balance.
Apples are best.
Cut them in small pieces beforehand.

Fill the pan with water.
Drop in the whole carcass and bones.
Bring to boil.
Switch off fire.
Throw all the water and refill with clean water. This is an important point. It might be troublesome, but if you don’t proceed accordingly the soup will be a failure!
Throw in all the ingredients cited above and stew over a low fire, scooping out unwanted matters regularly.

After 3~4 hours, taste the soup, which should have become whitish and slightly opaque with bone fat floating on top. If it is still too bland, continue stewing.

Strain the soup into a clean pan.
The soup, whenever reheated, should be done so without a lid.

Having strained the soup, you will find there is still plenty meat left on the bones.
It would be a shame to throw it away!
Just taste it and you will understand!

Pick the bones out carefully and throw away the rest.
The meat should come off easily enough to be done by hand.

Do be careful though when you do so as the meat will contain hidden bones piece, which are sharp!

I’m sure you can use all that meat for another succulent recipe!

9 thoughts on “Chicken Bones Soup Stock: Tori Gara Soup-Basic Recipe”

  1. Great recipe, thank you. I think your “leeks” pictured above are actually scallions, which is more authentic/correct for this recipe.


  2. Dear Nick!
    That’s right, and the reason is double:
    This first water takes care of unwanted matters, and I doubt it would be very useful unless you throroughly strain it. Even so experience has proved it is not tasty enough.
    This said, it is a matter of persoanl view which may not be agreed with.
    The other reason is that the bone and bone marrow will exude their good “juices” only during the second cooking!
    Best regards,


      1. I’m from Australia Robert, but I’ve visited Japan 4 times over the years, 2-4 weeks at a time and have loved it every time. Unfortunately no blog for me.


      2. Pity, Nick!
        We’ve got quite a few Ozzies here in Shizuoka!
        Would you believe we have played cricket here on our own pitch for 27 years?
        Which areas in Japan have you visited? Have you ever been to Shizuoka?
        If you have any special requests about Japanese food and Shizuoka gastronomy in particular, don’t hesitate to ask me!
        Shizuoka is considered as the reference in Japanese gastronomy! Tokyo “steals” more than half of our products!


  3. So you initially reach boiling point with the carcasses and then throw all that goodness away? Is that correct?


      1. “Fill the pan with water.
        Drop in the whole carcass and bones.
        Bring to boil.
        Switch off fire.
        Throw all the water and refill with clean water. This is an important point. It might be troublesome, but if you don’t proceed accordingly the soup will be a failure!”

        I’ve read it several times, but to me it still means throw out the water you’ve just had the chicken carcass in?


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