I don’t like broth. I’ve never liked it and I don’t think I would ever like a broth in this life.
A good broth is mainly fat.
Fat is the best taste carrier (that’s why food on a non-fat diet tastes like a cardboard with shavings), and the idea of a broth is the taste.
At my house, the broth (mostly chicken, but duck or goose also) was traditionally cooked all day long, we ate him in the Sunday, and on Monday it would land as a tomato soup base, if it were not for my father being a stubborn fan of broth and eating it until Tuesday. I only liked cooked vegetables.
And even more, broth is served always and everywhere, at all family events. The broth in the canteen version (yellowish water with pasta) accompanies us, literally, from the cradle to the grave.
Fortunately, there is ramen. Or rather, its polonised version – broth with everything. I like it extraordinarily, especially leek and cabbage.
But I have already written about ramen, so why again?
Well, a few days ago on the wall of my friend (shyly waving to unmarked) blossomed the discussion about how to cook a good broth. Non meat version would the best. No premade stock cubes. There was so many good advices in this post, so I’ll try to gather them all here.
A lot of different vegetables. A long time ago I shared (on FB page) a movie about the use of peelings (of course, clean ones). It was proposed in this film that peelings (carrots, parsley, potatoes) and cutouts (asparagus, onion, leeks) should be frozen and, when the right amount is harvested, made into the broth.
But to have leftovers for freezing, we must have whole vegetables first. Carrots, parsley, celery, leek, onion, parsley, lovage.
We put the vegetables in COLD water and cook for a LONG time. On low heat.
2. Soy sauce.
But not only.
Soy sauce is a source of „umami” taste. But not only one: soy sauce (or tamari), balsamic vinegar, umeboshi plum vinegear, tempeh, miso.
Dried tomatoes, dried mushrooms (not necessarily shitake).
Yeast flakes, which I have not used for soups yet.
Spices, but we have a separate point about them.
There are two methods for adding spices.
First of all, dried spices (all of these leafy marjoram, thyme, rosemary, lovage, etc.) are added after cooking the soup. Rub the herbs in your hands, pour into the pot, cover the pot with a lid and leave for a few minutes. You do not have to worry about “duckweed” floating on the surface, because it will fall quite quickly.
Second, „spicy” spices – cumin, mustard seeds, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric – fry at the very beginning of cooking. Either roast in a dry pan or throw it on hot fat and fry a minute or two.
In the case of meat-based broth, we do not have to worry. But the broth needs additional fat to be added.
We do not have to drown our broth in fat, but this spoon of oil is key. Let me remind you – fat is the carrier of taste, and we want a good broth.
5. Cook for a long time and slowly.
Our traditional Sunday broth was cooked whole Saturday. Started on Saturday early morningit was simmering till evening. It happened to be turned off when everyone had to leave the house (it happened to be forgotten in several spectacular situations), but it always simmer at least 8 hours. And maybe the veggie broth does not have to boil for so long, but it’s worth a try and you’ll taste the difference yourself.
My ramen is with a lot of turmeric, buckwheat noodles soba, bok choi cabbage, (de)frozen broad beans and fried button mushrooms.
1 cm of fresh ginger
5 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of turmeric
8 – 10 grains of pepper
2 leaves kafir lime (you can skip it if you do not have or replace it with a lime zest, about 0.5 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
1 tablespoon of rice (or rapeseed) oil
1 sachet of plain green tea
3 – 4 carrots
2 roots of parsley
celery root – medium size
lovage (preferably fresh or frozen, but you can use dried)
2.5l of cold water
- Wash and peel all vegetables (you can translate the peels into a bag and freeze it).
- Chop the onions into cubes, ginger and garlic finely chop.
- Roast pepper and cloves. For about a minute, no more than two.
- In a pot with a thick bottom, warm up the oil.
- Add turmeric, chili flakes, kafir leaves, pepper and cloves. Fry, stirring, about 1 – 2 minutes.
- Add onions, ginger, garlic and salt. Fry, stirring, until the onions are glazed. You can onions a little longer, till they are browned.
- Add cold water (carefully so as not to burn yourself with the hot oil) and vegetables (except lovage, if you use dried) and tea.
- Cover the pot with a lid and place it on the smallest burner.
- Cook for 3 – 4 hours. If you can afford to cook the broth longer, it’s great.
- Remove the pot from the fire and add the dried lovage. You can also season the broth with salt and pepper. Cover the pot again, leave it for 10 minutes.
- After this time, strain the broth through a sieve, you can squeeze vegetables so that you do not waste a single droplet 🙂
Such a broth can be served traditionally, only with pasta and sprinkled with parsley, or make a bowl full of everything. Bon Appetit!