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).