5 vegetable stock recipes for making cheap and easy Chinese vegetarian broths.
It is not easy being a vegetarian in Asia. There are so few places serving good vegetarian food and even fewer good recipes for truly vegetarian dishes. So it is good to be able to cook some vegetarian dishes with these handy vegetable stocks.
Before the recipes, I would like to briefly introduce the common ingredients used to make vegetarian stocks.
Fresh Vegetables and Mushrooms
Some common vegetables used in Chinese stocks are root and tubers. For example, carrot, radish, fresh Chinese yam, pumpkin, and lotus root. They can take long cooking and can be eaten together with the soup to provide some bulk.
Then there is the cabbages. Napa and green cabbages become soft and sweet after cooking for some time. They are full of soluble fibre and good for digestion.
All types of fresh mushrooms are good stock ingredients too. Shiitake, shimenji, oyster, maitake, enoki and more.
Last but not least, soybean sprouts. It is a key ingredient in the Korean post-hangover soup. It does not look it, but it can withstand low and long simmering. The 4th stock recipe uses soy bean sprouts.
Dried ingredients like mushrooms, black and white fungus, dried vegetables, dried seaweed (kelp) are also common in Chinese stocks. Dried shiitake is a favourite among vegetarians and it is a great substitute for meat.
Dried kelp (also known as konbu in Japan) is a fantastic ingredient to have at hand to make a simple stock.
Recipe 1: Basic Vegetable stock
2 stalks of celery
30g dried shiitake / chinese mushrooms
3 litres of water
Rinse the dried mushrooms quickly and soak to rehydrate in a bowl of room temperature water
Wash and cut up the vegetables into big chunks
Place all the ingredients in a soup pot
Add the water, bring to a boil on high heat
Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes uncovered
Strain the stock to remove the vegetables
Recipe 2: Soup stock with fried vegetables
Browning the vegetables and mushrooms enhanced the flavour of the soup. It does darken the colour of the stock so if you are aiming for a consomme-like stock, use the first recipe.
30ml vegetable cooking oil
1 daikon radish, peeled and cubed
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
2 onions, peeled and halved
4 celery sticks, cut into sections
55g fresh mushrooms
3.1 litre of water
2 tsp salt
Pinch of black pepper
Heat the cooking oil in a big pot
Add all the vegetables and mushrooms
Stir fry the vegetables and mushrooms for about 5-7 minutes
Add the water, salt and black pepper
When the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer
Simmer for 30 minutes
Strain the soup
Discard the vegetables, mushrooms & spices
Recipe 3: Light vegetable stock
40g olive oil
4 litre water
100g napa cabbage
Wash and cut all the vegetables into equal size pieces
Peel the onion and garlic. Cut into onion and garlic into small pieces
Heat a skillet and add the olive oil
Fry the onion and garlic till they are soft
Add all the cut vegetables
Add the water and bring it to a boil
Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours
Remove the vegetables and strain the stock
Recipe 4: Soybean sprouts and mushroom stock recipe
1 cup soy bean sprouts
2 cups water
1 tbsp mushroom stalks (if you can use 2 to 3 chinese mushrooms too)
Salt to taste
Rinse the sprouts. Remove the roots but leave the heads
Rinse the mushroom stalks, remove any dirt or soil. Slice thinly
Bring the water to a boil, add the sprouts and mushroom stalks. Bring the water back to a boil
Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1 hour
Turn the heat off and let the sprout stock stand overnight
Strain the stock and it is ready for use.
Recipe 5: Vegetable Stock with soybean sprouts, bamboo shoots and corn
Adding corn and carrot sweeten this stock.
400g soybean sprouts
1 bamboo shoot
30g dried mushrooms
1 head of corn
4 litre water
Wash and soak the mushrooms till they are soft
Peel, wash and cut the carrot and bamboo shoot into rough pieces
Clean the corn and cut into 1 inch sections
In a big stock pot, add all the water and ingredients
Bring the water to a boil and lower heat to simmer for 2 hours uncovered
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