You’ll notice that lots of my recipes list bouillon as an ingredient. That’s my shorthand for using a flavored liquid instead of water. When one of my recipes calls for bouillon, here’s what to use:
Bouillon cubes or granules. The easiest method is to add one bouillon cube or one teaspoon of bouillon granules for each 1 to 2 cups of water. I use chicken bouillon cubes all the time because they are so convenient. Use vegetable flavor if you prefer, or beef flavor in hearty recipes such as chilies.
Dashi or powdered fish stock. These are similar to bouillon granules but with a fish flavor. Asian grocery stores are your best source — they have dozens of varieties, usually in foil packets or little jars. Use these wherever a recipe calls for fish stock or where you want a fish flavor.
Homemade stock. Classic chefs swear by homemade stock, and believe that canned bouillon or bouillon cubes are mortal sins. I’m not such a purist. Sometimes I make my own, but I must admit that I usually don’t. The traditional stock pot is based on lots of gelatin-rich, flavorful bones and meat scraps, which of course you will not have in a low-fat kitchen. I do make a good fish stock with fish trimmings and shrimp shells. But when I make plain vegetable stock, it’s usually pretty boring. You will need to decide whether it’s worth your time, and whether you have the refrigerator space, to keep a stock pot going. Recipes for homemade stock are on pages 308-309 of Fat Free, Flavor Full, but really there are no set recipes. You start with boiling water, add the vegetables and scraps, and simmer as long as you like — at least an hour — and strain the broth. Don’t add spices to the stock since you will be using it in another recipe.
Other Choices. You can use fat-free canned broth or consomme in any of my recipes that call for bouillon. If you want to experiment, you can use tomato or vegetable juice, bottled clam juice, wine, beer, citrus juices or vinegar, depending on the particular recipe.