A stock cube (UK) or bouillon cube (US) is dehydrated broth (bouillon in French) or stock formed into a small cube about 15 mm wide. It is made by dehydrating vegetables, meat stock, a small portion of solid fat (such as hydrogenated oil), salt (usually well over 50%) and seasonings (usually including monosodium glutamate) and shaping them into a small cube. Dehydrated broth is also available in granular form.
Stock cubes are broken up and added to boiling water to make a stock or hot drink.
Varieties of Oxo cubes
- Italian herbs and spices
- Indian herbs and spices
There may be others but at the time of writing, their website was Coming soon...
What's in a stock cube
I notice that a lot of people search for details of the ingredients of a stock cube. Sainsburys have recently add a contents section on their UK website: http://www.sainsburys.com/groceries/index.jsp - use the find box (top right) search and select the product to get a detailed breakdown of the ingredients!
An alternative to stock cubes (which can be fiddly and don't dissolve that easily), try Marigold Swiss Bouillon Powder, which is vegetable based. Just use 4 teaspoons to a litre of water. It is available in organic, non-organic, low-salt or normal salt tubs and is available in most supermarkets and some delis.
A recipe for beef tea that precedes Oxo by a five hundred years:
Take a grete glasse and do thi beef therin, and do onyone mynced and whole cloves and maces and pouder of pepur, and lay splinters in the bottom that the flesh hot not and stop it well, that no eyrie goo oute, and seethe hit with an esy fyre- [or] sethe it ina pt with water in a cawdron, but top it well that no erye goo oute.
A. Borde, 1500