Back in the day, potato broth was not poured into a bowl but used as a cooking base. For a decade or more, many of us have been re-learning how to revert to this method instead of using stock cubes. If only there were a decent ready-made version on the market… Now the Alaplé Bár (‘Base Juice Bar’) has opened near the producers’ stalls at Fény utca.
Filling a gap – the Alaplé Bár serves soup bases at Fény utca market
Éva Király graduated as a dietitian and still practises it to this day, au fait with what is good for the human body and what is not. The Alaplé Bár (‘Base Juice Bar’), for example, offers an interesting proposition: most home cooks appreciate that a soup base is a much better solution than a stock cube, but it is less well-known that it is also highly recommended physiologically.
The perfect soup base
“A soup base is not a broth. It is made from less elegant parts of the
animal: wings, hindquarters, legs in the case of poultry. In the past, people
consumed the animal from head to tail. Today, we prefer to look only for lean
meat, although collagen is good for joints, connective tissue, muscles and
tendons. It is anti-inflammatory and helps with absorption. Physiologically, it
would be ideal if 30% of our total protein intake were collagen,” says Éva.
For as long as Éva has been making cooking bases at home, she has been toying with the idea of opening an outlet for them. As she says, chefs in better classes of restaurant use them on a daily basis but housewives seem to have forgotten how to. Her shop is intended to bring this ancient tradition back to the kitchen.
The Alaplé Bár has a dual function: cooking bases to take away and a soup outlet at the same time. The soup base, simmered for 15 hours, is kept at 75 degrees in a heating tank, while the homemade seasoned pastes await in the fridge. Our selected soup is freshly made from a mix of seasonings and hot stock before our very eyes.
Of the three basic types planned, there’s only chicken on the menu for the
time being, but there will also be beef and vegetarian to follow. Although the
meat-free version won’t have the aforementioned physiological effects, it is
no less tasty if you want to use it for cooking or consume it on its own.
This is how you can enjoy the soup base, too – especially on a cold winter day – but the real fun is that you can take it home in a bottle. Given the pandemic, they can’t accept customers’ bottles at the moment, but they give you one for a modest deposit, exchanged for free when you bring it next time.
To add a little extra to the takeaway cooking base, they also offer six
different types of soup made from the chicken stock, a 30dl measures that you
can drink on the street in, the same as the litre bottle to take home.
The Oriental keleties mixes coconut milk, red curry and lemongrass, kalapos contains shiitake mushrooms, citrusos lemon and lime and betyáros turbocharged with Hungarian spices, the name a reference to the Magyar highwaymen of yore.
Instead of coffee, you find the perfect morning pick-me-up in the ébredős of matcha tea, algae and celery, or the szégyenlős of fermented beet, timid in name and character.
It may seem strange at first, but the flavor-rich kalapos can be perfect as a base for a mushroom risotto or as a warming soup on the hoof, just as the keleties can be a great addition to any home-made Thai soup or curry.
Prices depend on the seasoning: the most basic chicken variety is 650 forints, a litre is 1,790 forints, while the more expensive citrus version and pick-me-up options ranges between 950 and 2,390 forints.
They pay careful attention to the raw ingredients. According to Éva, sticking to purely organic options only would have raised prices but still, the stock is made from chickens reared on a hormone-free, GMO-free, natural diet.
The offer is currently seasonal. The big favourites are sure to stay, but as the weather warms up, they will try to come up with refreshing soups. In fact, if all goes well, sooner or later they will open a shop on the Pest side – a most welcome option to all of us here!
District II. Lövőház utca 12