January 13, 2021
Soup Broth. You need to buy it, right? Wrong. It needs to be meat-based, right? Wrong. You need broth to make everything you make taste good, right? Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Homemade Vegetarian soup broth is simple. And, it uses up all of those leftovers in the fridge that are about to go bad, uses the nubs of your ginger and turmeric that you cut away and did not want to bother peeling, and is so incredibly easy and simple that you'll kick yourself for ever paying money for broth in the first place.
I don't really use a recipe - I kind of throw in what I have on hand. I give you some ideas below, but first a few pointers.
You don't need it to make Indian food. We don't use broth to make Dal or Indian curries. It's a question I get all the time. Why not? Well, we generally infuse flavor into our foods with spices. And, many Indians even in the same family eat different ways. Some may eat meat - others are strictly vegetarian. That's the case in my own Punjabi family. We like to make sure there is something delicious for everyone to enjoy - and so unless we have a meat dish, we do not add meat broth to our dish. We use water, and again the spices and cooking techniques add all the flavor we need.
Is making your own broth cumbersome? It can be when you think about boiling everything down and then getting all the solids out. But, I being the lazy, flustered mama bear that I am looked at my pasta pot one day and had an 'aha' moment. I use my 2-part pasta pot to make broth. I place water to boil in the outer pot. And, the veggies in the inner colander. Once the water boils, I simply place the colander in the pot and let it simmer away for about 20 minutes. When it's done, I simply pull the colander out and voila, there is just broth left and I can discard everything else or compost it.
Is there anything special you need to do to to prep your veggies? They key is to clean them - especially if you want to use the peels. I just have a scrub brush reserved for my veggies and I scrub them down - even my onions. I use my onion peel in my broth as well. I love my scrub brushes because I can throw them into my washer with my dishtowels and reuse them.
How to store veggie peels? Rather than the fridge, I prefer to store them in a sealable bag in the freezer. This way, I just grab the scraps when I need them without worry they will go bad. Who needs another thing to go bad in the fridge? I refill the bag in the freezer as I go.
How much water should I use? How much broth should I make? Most recipes I've seen call for 7 cups of water. I would triple that. I like to have some left to freeze and refrigerate. I find that 21 cups of water (my electric kettle filled 3 times) does the trick and is just enough for about 2 weeks of broth. Just play around with the amount of veggies/scraps you use so that you do indeed have a flavorful broth.
How should you store your broth? I save my glass pasta sauce and pickle jars - soak off the labels - for broth. For the freezer, I pour my broth into ice-cube trays (when I want to add a little flavor at a time to a dish), or larger 1-cup and 2-cup soup storage trays. I love popping these cubes out and adding them to my slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Recipe: Is there a particular recipe for veggie broth? Not really, but here's what I use: A few pieces of wakame or kelp (very easy to find in the international aisle of your supermarket), two cups of spinach, a sweet potato, one onion with peel, carrots, garlic, ginger, fresh turmeric, mushrooms, a tomato, a teaspoon of whole black peppercorn. Remember to dice everything down so that you can extract the most from it. Simmer for 20 minutes and remove the veggies.
Enjoy in your risotto, paella, grain salads, or even salt and sip in between meals as a delicious and light snack. And, remember, there's only one wrong way to make broth - to NOT make it and use up every last bit of scrap in your kitchen.
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Here what it looks like:
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