Aug 3, 2010

Vegetable Stock for the soul and of Chalks and Chopsticks

If you missed me talking about my tale of tardy and of begging hosts for a couple of days past the deadline, here’s another one for the record. I have been late for my own event. I had grandiose plans of posting not only how to make a basic vegetable stock but how to make pasta at home and toss it with pesto made from home grown basil.

All I have managed before the grace period (Aug 5th) expires is to post this robust vegetable stock which has the distinction of being made by him. It is a part of his weekend ritual to chop and dice carrots, celery, onions and any other veggies that may have been left over from the week. He will then proceed to make a simple stock that will last us a week. 

Unlike store bought stocks, you can adjust the amount of salt you put in and this is a fat-free version of the more buttery stocks, where the veggies are first sautéed in butter before being boiled in water.

I have never frozen the stock because it gets added to soups, dals, risottos, curries, khichdis and pulaos I make for the family over the week. The picky eater is unaware that the khichdi he is eating has concentrates from carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions.

Here’s his (not the kid but the spouse) simple but delicious vegetable stock that adds a layer of flavor to everything it gets added to.

Vegetable Stock (adapted from the book, Zuppe, Risotti, Polenta!)

1 medium onion, chopped in big pieces
1 carrot or 8-10 baby carrots (chop the big carrots in 3-4 pieces)
2 celery stalks, chopped in fours
A few stalks of cilantro (optional)
Leftover veggies like spinach, greens of every kind, broccoli, mushrooms, peas and cabbage.*

Whole spices: (add more of the following for a spicier version)
4-6 black peppercorns
1-2 cloves
1/2 stick of cinnamon
1 tsp of fennel seeds
1 bay leaf (optional)

Put all the ingredients together in 4 ½ pints of lightly salted water. Bring to a gentle boil, lower the heat and simmer for an hour. The stock will reduce and get a dark tinge brown to tan, depending on the veggies used.

Let cool, before straining and transferring to air tight containers. Keep in the refrigerator for up to ten days. I always use up the stock by the then so I can’t vouch for the stocks fridge shelf life. If you do not have immediate plans to use it all up, freeze it in ice cube trays. Once frozen, remove and transfer to a freezer container or Ziploc bag.

*Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes and do not overdo the broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, for obvious reasons.

Other vegetable stock recipes:

Aqua’s Mushroom Stock
Sunshinemom’s Vegetable Stock


Of Chalks and Chopsticks

If you are wondering why I am announcing two events in the same month, in back to back posts, I chalk it to my obsession with multi-tasking and my inability to be organized. I had committed to hosting Global Kadai at the beginning of the year and promptly forgot about it. And how could I not get obsessed with Chalks and Chopsticks? I was itching to host it since it started and so I begged the trio who started it all. The three gracious ladies,  Aqua, Sra and Bong Mom , agreed to pass the baton on to me and there was no way I was going to pass it up. Since the announcement is three days into the month, I will take some self-imposed liberty and make the deadline three days late, or better still five days, just so it is easy to remember.

If you haven’t heard of (and I can’t imagine you not having heard of it by now) Of Chalks and Chopsticks, let me clue you in. This is a monthly event, conceived by Aqua and calls for food inspired fiction or fiction inspired by food, whichever way you want to looks at it, from bloggers and non-bloggers alike. Here are the rules:

Send in your entries at this address by September 5th.

The subject line should say: Of Chalks and Chopsticks – 4

The email should provide:

The Blogger’s name

Title and URL of the post

Some information, borrowed from earlier editions

The writing should be original, i.e. yours.

There is no word limit or theme – you can write on anything as long as the story has food as a centerpiece. That is, a food related/ themed story.

The story could be based on real life, just make it sound like a story and not a regular post.

Old posts are accepted but a new one is always more exciting.

These posts can be shared with other events.

Link you post to this and Aqua’s post.

PS: This is not a part of the original rules but I will make one anyway. Try to pen an intelligent, cogent piece of writing, even if it is just a paragraph. If you have a great story idea but are not sure of your writing skills or coherence of the story, send it to me or one of the writers for a look over. We can give you suggestions and help you out the best we can. And please, keep the use of excessive exclamations out!

For inspiration and some excellent stories, stay tuned for Sra's roundup.


  1. Celery would have given that extra hint to the stock.....adding cinnamon is new to me...will try out this version soon....

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Jaya, thanks for the announcement. Will mail you.

  4. Stop lying about being disorganized. you make your own stock and grind ginger-garlic every week. I'm sitting here mulling about getting someone to buy me one of those industrial mixies from India to do such a task, thats how far-off my procrastination is.

  5. P.S I like your new template/format. very clean and crisp. I don't know if its my browser, but the label and comments sections seem to be running into each other....

  6. Ann, thank you for the chuckle and for the template/format. Will email you, if you wanna change yours.
    And just to set the record straight, he is the one who makes the stock not me. That's why it is called "his" recipe. :)
    And the ginger-garlic paste is done once in 20 days using a magic bullet.

  7. Nice post....Will try ur version by adding cinnamon.

  8. So glad you extended the B2B event.Got one more post for u [coming up today:)].Waiting to see ur homemade pasta.

    2 events in a month!I can connect with you for sharing my obsession ;).

    Btw,Great recipe for stock and gorgeous clicks,am definitely gona try this.

    As for the event I am in :)

  9. those pictures of the veg stock are very nice. And it is a great idea to use in the khichdi, I am definitely going to add it into my daughter's khichdi.

    And yes, thanks for hosting :)

  10. Great news, i am happy to listen this and i am sure there are lots of people who will be happy to listen this.

  11. You've already got me excited about C & C. Thanks for hosting, Jaya. Your energy and enthusiasm are contagious :)

  12. homemade veg stock is the best, and it doesnt have any of the weird additives of store bought stock. recently found out about C&C, would love to participate!

  13. The stock seems similar to the one I make but I add a few herbs as well. Looks good too. I use it in khichdi and stews and it does add a new dimension.

    Sometime soon I think I shall be joining you people in C&C.

  14. Harini, looking forward to you joining Of C&C. My husband does add some cilantro once in a while but that's about it. Will check back your recipe to see what other herbs you use.

  15. Harini, looking forward to you joining Of C&C. My husband does add some cilantro once in a while but that's about it. Will check back your recipe to see what other herbs you use.

  16. Aqua, PJ, Vaishali, Veggie Belly, looking forward to your entrees. :)

  17. HI Jaya,
    Just now I have sent you my entry.
    And I loved the Veg Stock. Its perfect for the weather over here.

  18. Thanks, Jaya, for participating in DMBLGIT, Sept. edition:).


Thank you for visiting my space. I miss my former editors, so any form of criticism/ appreciation is welcome. :)

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