Cooking 101 – Vegetable Stock

There are as many ways to make a vegetable stock as there are to skin a cat! Some recipes are very quick and simple. Others take an added step of caramelizing the prepared vegetables in some olive oil till the chopped aromatics and other vegetables are lightly golden and fragrant before adding in the boiling water and putting it on the stove for about 45 mins. I prefer the later method.

Basic Aromatics for Vegetable Stock

Additional Ingredients (not exhaustive list)


  1. Use whatever other vegetables you find in your fridge like leeks, fennel and cabbage. Herbs like bay leaves, parsley and thyme will enhance your stock’s flavour if you will be using this stock for Western cooking. I like to keep my stocks universal and add herbs when I am cooking that particular dish which uses this stock.
  2. If you are making an Asian vegetable stock, I would substitute 50 gm of the button mushrooms with fresh shitake. Dried shitake is too strong in flavour.


Vegetable Stock


  •  2 large onions, peel + chop into small pieces
  • 2 large carrots, scrub well + chop into small pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, chop into small pieces
  • 2 large tomatoes, unpeeled, seeded and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 150 gm fresh button mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ tablespoon peppercorns (either white or black)
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • 5 cups of water
  • Vegetable oil


  1. In the pressure cooker, stock pot or any large pot that has a cover that seals well, heat 4 tablespoons of oil over a medium heat.
  2. Add first onions, carrots and celery. Stir to caramelize them till they are soft and golden.
  3. Add the tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms and bay leaves. Stir fry a few minutes more.
  4. Add water and simmer. Cook gently in pressure cooker (once it starts to hiss, lower heat and simmer for 20min) or pot (50 to 60 min, no longer). Unless your pressure cooker as a special release value, it should be allowed to cool to let the built-in pressure escape, before opening the cover. It is ready when vegetables are soft and stock develops rich smell.
  5. Strain stock with a fine sieve. Discard vegetable solids. Cool.
  6. If you do not plan to consume stock within 3 days, pack into smaller amounts that suit your lifestyle (e.g. ½ cup or ¾ cup plastic bags). Freeze. Stock keeps for 3 months in the freezer.

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