Perfect Recipe for Yummy Vegetable Stock

I recently made some basic vegetable stock which is perfect for a rainy day when you want a warm, savoury drink. Not only that, but it is also a great addition to soups and sauces.

I’ve always thought that rainy days are a perfect time to make stock. The steamy, fragrant kitchen warms the soul, and the effort generally ends up giving you several days worth of stock which makes for easy meals throughout the week.

This recipe can be put together in a matter of minutes, and the soup that you make with the stock will have depth, body and character unmatched by water-based soups. Vegetable stock is more subtle in flavour than meat-based stock, so top-notch ingredients and attention to seasoning is essential!

Start by peeling in roughly chopping one yellow onion, two leeks, four carrots, and four celery sticks. Also separate one bulb of garlic and smash the cloves with the flat edge of your knife. In addition, take two apples and slice them into four pieces each.

Next, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pot, and add the onions, leeks, carrots, celery, salt and four bay leaves. Sauté the mixture for five minutes, stirring often.

Once five minutes has passed, it is time to add all of the remaining ingredients. Those remaining ingredients are as follows: 1 tablespoon of whole black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon of coarse salt, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, a few sprigs of fresh parsley, a few sprigs of fresh sage, and 20 cups of cold water. I prefer to use filtered water, but tap water should be fine, too assuming you trust your local water!

Once you’ve added in all of those ingredients, including the water, bring everything to a boil. Once you have done that, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Strain and cool if you are not using the stock immediately. You can store the stock in the refrigerator for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to two months.

This excellent recipe will yield approximately 14 cups of stock. Here’s one final helpful hint: avoid adding to your vegetable stock any broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beats, peppers or asparagus. Adding these will typically give the stock a very distinctive/strong taste, which probably is not going to be very enjoyable. Other than these vegetables pretty much everything else is fair game!

I hope you enjoy it!

My New Pressure Cooker + Braised Beef Shank Recipe

Guess what? I am now the proud owner of my own pressure cooker! I’ve been seeing these everywhere and finally decided to give one of them a try. I have to say, it’s been revolutionary! My food cooks five times as fast, and the flavour is like never before; apparently using a pressure cooker helps lock in the flavor!

Last night I tried a really yummy recipe for braised beef shank that I made using my pressure cooker, so I thought I would share it. Here’s the recipe. I think you’ll love it! You can also cook it using a normal pot (i.e. not a pressure cooker) although I think it may take much longer!

This is an absolutely wonderful dish which is super popular throughout Asia, including many areas of China. This dish is a favourite in my family happens to cook up very well using a pressure cooker. In particular, this recipe uses an electric pressure cooker to efficiently and quickly cook the meat.

The preparation time for this recipe is about 15 minutes, the cooking time is about 35 minutes, and this recipe should serve about six people.

First, combine a beef shank and certain marinade ingredients into a zip lock bag or food container, seal it, shake well, and in place in the fridge for one day. The beef shank should be 1 kg. The marinade ingredients I use include: 2 teaspoons of pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce.

Once that process is complete, remove the beef shank from the zip lock bag or food container and put it in your pressure cooker along with all of the marinade ingredients.

Once that is done, we need to make a special sauce which we will add to the shank as it cooks in the pressure cooker. Here’s the recipe for the sauce: 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1/2 cup of soy sauce, three clovers, two anises, 1.5 teaspoons of cumin, two bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of jasmine green tea, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, 5 g of fresh shredded ginger, two chopped green onions, and 5 cups of water.

Once you have prepared the sauce, pour it over the beef shank in the pressure cooker. Close the lid and turn the pressure valve to the sealing position. Set it for 35 minutes of cooking time.

When the 25 minute period is up, wait another 10 minutes. Then, slowly release the pressure from your pressure cooker and then open the lid. Take out the cooked beef shank and place it into a clean container. Allow it to cool for four hours and then slice and serve.

I’ve been making this recipe for many years, and my family absolutely loves it. I think your’s will as well!

Cooking Up Some Brown Basmati Rice

Do you know that, traditionally, Indians don’t eat much brown basmati rice? As it turns out, Indians have traditionally preferred the more neutral taste of white basmati rice. For thousands of years, in fact, Indians have been removing the outer brown husk and polishing brown basmati rice into white rice. As each layer is removed, so is most of the nutritional value and fiber, which is too bad – but, of course, the rice but comes light, flakier, and, to many people, much more delicious and easy to eat.

Some people say that they find brown rice hard to digest, but I eat it at least two or three times a week and don’t notice any digestion issues. In fact, I tend to enjoy the flavour more than white basmati rice; it feels a bit more natural and hearty to me.

For extra flavor, I often sauté onions and add them to the rice. On other occasions, especially when I’m not using onions, I will often add oil or butter to the rice to give it some more flavour.

One of the nice characteristics of brown basmati rice is that you can freeze it for up to a month and the rice will not lose its texture once you thaw and reheat it. All you need to do is add a bit of water to cover the bottom of the pot to essentially bring it back to life. This differs dramatically from white rice, which can typically not be frozen and then resurrected without losing the texture and flavour of the original rice.

Here’s my recipe for brown basmati rice that I have used for many years. I hope you will love it!

I like to start by placing rice in a medium bowl and washing it well under cold water, and then letting it drain. For this recipe, I suggest you use 2 cups of brown basmati rice. One rule I like to follow is to keep washing the rice until the water that drains out is completely clear, or at least very close to clear. You might be surprised to see that it takes quite some time before the rice is clean enough to achieve this!

Once I have completely washed the rice and drained it, I set it aside for a moment. Then, in a large pot, melt some butter on medium heat for approximately one minute. I would suggest using 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter. Alternatively, you could also some cooking oil in the same proportions.

Once the butter is melted, I add some cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle in the pot for approximately 15 seconds. I would suggest using about 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds. Once that is done, I add onion and sauté until the onion is browned. This usually takes about 10 minutes. I would suggest using one large onion, and chopping it finely.

The more finely the onion is chopped, the nicer it will brown and the better the flavour of your dish will be. Also, the less you sauté your onions, the sweeter they will taste. On the other hand, the more you sauté your onions, the more they will have a toasty, roasted flavor.

Once the onions have been sautéed, add water, or stock, and salt to your pot. I suggest that you use 4 cups of water or stock. The stocking can be meat stock or vegetable stock. I also suggest you use approximately 1 teaspoon of salt to enhance the flavor.

Once you have done that, add in the rice. Using your hands, scrape rice grains from the bowl into the pot – you will probably find that the little buggers like to stick to the wall of the bowl! Stir well, Increase the heat to high, and bring it to a boil. Once you achieve a boil, immediately reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

The cooking time for the rice will vary from stove the stove, so remove the lid and check for water. If there is no extra water in the pot, carefully taste the rice to see if it’s cooked through. If it’s not, put the lid back on, turn off the heat and allow the rice to cook for another 15 minutes.

If it happens to be that all of the water has been absorbed into the rice but it still is not soft enough for you, you can add half a cup more water and continue simmering for 10 minutes.

If there is still extra water in the pot after 45 minutes, cook the rice, covered, for another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, keep the lid on the pot, and allow the rice to sit for five minutes before serving. If you like your rice warmer, serve it immediately once you have turned off the heat.

This recipe serves about 6 to 8 as a side dish. It is very versatile and can be served with practically any other dish you can conjure up!

I hope you enjoy it!