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How Do I Make ... ?
There are basically just two ways to make gravy:

1. Use Bisto™ or stock cubes
2. Do it properly using the roasting fats and cornflour

Recipe Source:

Image: Jonno on the streets of Foshan, China Jonno, China Expats, Foshan, China  
Jonno is a keen chef for friends and family. He has cooked and interpolated many dishes over the years, and invented ones of his own:
He likes Garfield's Grandmother's Chilli Gravy!

Quick Tips:

1. As soon as heat is applied - keep stirring until the pan is simmering - this avoids horrible lumps that won't go away.
2. Can be made in advance and reheated.
3. Can be frozen.
4. You can add things to gravy like: Chilli, herbs, and whatever takes your fancy.
5. Use the water from potatoes and savory vegetables instead of adding tap water.
6. Avoid using the water from sweet carrots and sweetcorn - unless this is your bag, baby?
7. Add water for thin gravy; add less water - or simmer (Boil) it away for thick gravy. The consistency is about right when it flows like single cream off your wooden mixing spoon (It will try to congeal as it slowly cools)
1. Let's get started:- British Gravy - Simple

Buy a pack of Bisto (From Hong Kong probably) and mix as instructed. Using the water from the vegetables does help, and as it is already warm it takes less time. I prefer the powder, although you may be great with the granules version? Up to you!

2. Let's get started:- British Gravy - Easy

This time we are sort of doing what Bisto does, except we are adding stock cubes and other bits. Same technique, but a little more complex:

This time we will match the stock cubes with the meat we are eating. Therefore I do not really want chicken flavoured gravy if I am eating roast beef.

I will use one stock cube of the meat flavour I am cooking, plus one of vegetable stock to each mix. This is enough for two to four people. If you like a lot of gravy, then increase the stock cubes as well as the vegetable water. Add herbs and spices as suits the meat. Thyme and/or basil works well with most, whilst Rosemary is great with Lamb.

When adding dried herbs, soak them for 20 minutes in a little lukewarm water first - it makes a great difference to the final taste.

3. Let's get started:- Proper British Gravy

We begin this recipe when we have taken the meat out of the oven and set it to rest. This time our gravy is made from what is left behind in the roasting tin.For those paranoid about animal fats, then you can drain off the top liquid (Probably two-thirds of what remains). I use all of it!

Next you need to add some cornflour. To be specific for those living in China - cornflour is the flour made from the seeds/fruits of the maize plant. Most available everywhere in China is made from rice flour, and this simply doesn't work right! Corn Starch is rice (Or anything else) flour. I only buy mine in the UK (Not even Hong Kong). Given we actually have proper cornflour, let's move on...

Add 3-heaped teaspoons to a small bowl, and then add drips of cold water. Stir continuously = very important! You will end up with a white liquid that has no lumps and can be watered down very easily. I am looking for half a gill of liquid that has the consistency of ordinary milk.That would be 3 fluid ounces, or 'I have absolutely no idea' in French measurements? If you are using a common rice bowl, then it is the depth of your index finger nail, tightly trimmed.

Put the roasting tin on a hob and leave to slow simmer for a few minutes. Meanwhile, gently stir-in the cornflour with a wooden spoon until all fats are absorbed into the mix. Add potatoe and cabbage or leek water little by little, and continually stirring, bring it to a thin viscosity.

After a few minutes you will have a pan full of stable liquid gravy that you can then add things to. Black pepper is normal, but be careful with the salt - especially if you salted the vegetables. I would probably not add salt to this at all, or only do so as a last resort to fix the flavour.

Again you can add fresh, or soaked dried herbs, and anything else that takes your fancy. Garlic can work extremely well with certain meats. This is when I add Garfield's chilli, and a full teaspoonful of Encona brand does the trick in UK. In China I use a heaped Tablespoon full of Guilin chilli sauce - fantastic!

With this version, don't worry if it is of a light colour, that's how it is meant to be. It also doesn't matter if you have small pieces of cabbage or potatoe in it, but larger pieces should be removed.

Then it is simply a case of adding vegetable water to make it thinner, or simmering away to make it thicker + cheating by adding more cornflour of course.

You can add to the presentation by adding a finely chopped small mushroom a few minutes before serving, and paper-thin slices have great visual appeal for hungry guests.


Seeing as proper cornflour is very difficult to obtain in China, I have personally switched to using ordinary wheat flour. This is very awkward to work with unless you understand how to make and use a Roux? A roux is the standard Béchamel sauce base. My trick is to replace the butter with the remnant animal fat from the roasting tim (Once cooled sufficiently). Using a very little fresh milk to set the B├ęchamel, I then use the vegetable water instead of milk. This requires a week of high-speed stirring or whisking, whilst adding minimal quantities each time - but works a treat in real life + is a very healthy workout
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