Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Taking Stock

So, I thought a friend was having a bit of a laugh when she asked me if I could get her a few tins of vegetable stock from the US when I came home. I haha-ed, and of course didn't get her any. Imagine my surprise, then, when she looked utterly disappointed and told me coldly that if I had no intention of helping her, I should at least have told her so she could source her stock from other... well, sources.

Naturally, I asked why her own kitchen--larged and sunny and very well fitted out, unlike ours--could not be the source of the stock. Whereupon she told me, in a voice one adopts when speaking to slow children, that one couldn't make stock in a domestic kitchen. It requires too much work, and is not worth the effort.

People, I tell you. It's like nobody thinks anymore.

Since I haven't had the occasion to make stock of any kind yet, I don't have pictures, but those of you who wouldn't consider using plain water for your soups and whatnot and don't have access to tinned stocks, try this incredibly complicated industrial process instead.

Step 1: Take all the vegetables you don't want for regular meals. Old semi-dried carrots, sheem or beans that have been left at the back of the fridge for too long and are hard as sticks, the top and bottom bits of onions that we usually throw away (but peel the husk and snip away the tuft of roots). For a sharper flavour, I'd advise a bunch of coriander leaves (cilantro) or krishno tulshi/ black tulsi (basil). If you're feeling less cheap, throw in a few proper veggies in the mix. Chop these coarsely.

Step 2: heat a little oil in a deep saucepan. Just a little. If you want the stock to have a certain kick to it, fry half a teaspoon of freshly-made garlic and/or ginger paste in it. Put in all the vegetables and toss thoroughly. The oil won't be enough to actually fry them, but it will impart a strong flavour to the lot.

Step 3: Add water such that it's about 2.5 inches above the level of vegetables. Generously sprinkle crushed/ground black pepper (this can be skipped if you want to add it when making soup) and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for an hour or till it reduces to required consistency. Strain.

The elusive stock is ready to cook with :-)

P.S: in case of chicken and other fowl, use all the throwaway bits except the liver along with roughly chopped onions and carrots (and celery wherever available).


thalassa_mikra said...

What does she need this veg stock for? I make chicken stock from the carcass of my leftover roast chicken (made from scratch too - just too bloody easy to make at home). I make beef stock from bones I buy at my Korean supermarket. But veg stock? Just make veg soup with fresh chopped veggies instead.

Rimi said...

Beshi pakami. Must have read it in some recipe somewhere, and having eliminated common sense from the equation early in the process, has kept plans on hold till said stock can be found.

I roast chicken at home too, whether it's a plain old roast with gravy and mashies and steamed vegetables, or a marinated tandoori type thing. And then when I get tired of it as-is, I eat it in wraps and rolls and sandwiches and salads till I'm through with the thing :D