Sometimes you read a recipe and it sounds like Shakespeare: you know it has to be good. This happened to me when I read Ottolenghi’s recipe for a vegetable broth as a base for Thai soups or a Vietamese pho. It has all types of ingredients and in the original UK version it also includes dried plumes. I think they are essential for this flavorful broth. Enjoy!
Flavorful vegetable broth (for 4 people);
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into large pieces
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
6 sticks celery, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 inch ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, very roughly chopped
1 red chili, roughly chopped
2 star anise
2 tbsp soy sauce
In a large pan, char the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and ginger in a tiny amount of oil. Cook for five minutes, or until the edges begin to colour. Add 2 quarts of water, the lemongrass, prunes, chillies, star anise, soy, lime leaves and coriander root. Cook on a low simmer for at least 45 minutes, to infuse. Strain the stock, and discard vegetable. Fill in a container and chill.
For a Thai soup (1 serving)
2 enoki mushrooms
5 shitake mushroom
handful rice noodles
1/4 red bell pepper, cut in thin stripes
a few edamame
Toasted sesame oil, to finish
Bring 2-3 laddles of the stock to a low simmer. Add the enoki and sbitake mushrooms and the rice noodles and cook for 3 minute. Add the remaining ingredients apart from the sesame oil, and heat through for a minute. Taste, adjust the seasoning as needed, and ladle into warm bowls. Finish with sesame oil, not more than a few drops in each bowl, and coriander leaves.