5 Chinese Vegetable Stock Recipes Ideal for Vegetarians

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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 Vegetables

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

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 30g dried shiitake / chinese mushrooms
  • 3 litres of water

Directions

  1. Rinse the dried mushrooms quickly and soak to rehydrate in a bowl of room temperature water
  2. Wash and cut up the vegetables into big chunks
  3. Place all the ingredients in a soup pot
  4. Add the water, bring to a boil on high heat
  5. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes uncovered
  6. 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. 

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Heat the cooking oil in a big pot
  2. Add all the vegetables and mushrooms
  3. Stir fry the vegetables and mushrooms for about 5-7 minutes
  4. Add the water, salt and black pepper
  5. When the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer
  6. Simmer for 30 minutes
  7. Strain the soup
  8. Discard the vegetables, mushrooms & spices

Recipe 3: Light vegetable stock

Ingredients

  • 40g olive oil
  • 4 litre water
  • 75g carrot
  • 50g radish
  • 80g celery
  • 40g tomato
  • 100g napa cabbage
  • 120g onion
  • 80g garlic

Directions

  1. Wash and cut all the vegetables into equal size pieces
  2. Peel the onion and garlic. Cut into onion and garlic into small pieces
  3. Heat a skillet and add the olive oil
  4. Fry the onion and garlic till they are soft
  5. Add all the cut vegetables
  6. Add the water and bring it to a boil
  7. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours
  8. Remove the vegetables and strain the stock

Recipe 4: Soybean sprouts and mushroom stock recipe

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Rinse the sprouts. Remove the roots but leave the heads
  2. Rinse the mushroom stalks, remove any dirt or soil. Slice thinly
  3. Bring the water to a boil, add the sprouts and mushroom stalks. Bring the water back to a boil
  4. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1 hour
  5. Turn the heat off and let the sprout stock stand overnight
  6. 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. 

Ingredients

  • 400g soybean sprouts
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 bamboo shoot
  • 30g dried mushrooms
  • 1 head of corn
  • 4 litre water

Directions

  1. Wash and soak the mushrooms till they are soft
  2. Peel, wash and cut the carrot and bamboo shoot into rough pieces
  3. Clean the corn and cut into 1 inch sections
  4. In a big stock pot, add all the water and ingredients
  5. Bring the water to a boil and lower heat to simmer for 2 hours uncovered
  6. Let the stock cool down before straining it

Happy Souping, Phoebe