Stocks are so important to the success of many dishes, but if you cook constantly with herbs and spices, it is easy to throw one together as needed. In the past I would always have a freezer full of vegetable stock, but these days I prefer the stocks made with the ingredients on my kitchen benchtop. This way, I can flavour them appropriately for the dish I am making, and quickly put it together as I am prepping the main dish.
But once in a while a dish requires a little more attention to the stock. This is one of them. A beautiful, roasted, deeply flavoured South East Asian style of stock. Gorgeous.
By the way, this is an excellent base for Laksa!
You will need Malay Curry Powder. Asian or Indian groceries may stock it, or you can easily make your own.
Deeply Flavoured Coconut-Curry Stock
2 Tblspn coconut oil
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 star anise
2.5 cm ginger, peeled and finely grated or finely chopped
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2 stalks lemon grass, white parts only, chopped
6 – 8 fresh curry leaves
1 Tblspn tomato puree or tomato sauce
0.5 tspn chilli powder
1 black cardamom (available from Indian groceries, leave out if cannot find)
1 Tblspn Malay Curry Powder (available from many Indian groceries, or make your own)
1 Tblspn jaggery or brown sugar
0.5 Tblspn sea salt
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 Tblspn tamarind pulp or 0.25 Tblspn tamarind concentrate
If using tamarind pulp, soak it in 0.5 cup boiling water.
Heat the coconut oil in a large pan or wok with a lid. Add the onions and garlic and cook over a low – medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add cinnamon stick and star anise and stir for another 5 – 8 minutes.
Add the ginger, lemongrass, lemon rind, curry leaves, tomato sauce or puree, chilli powder, curry powder, sugar or jaggery, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes.
If using tamarind pulp, strain it, pushing pulp through the sieve. Discard the solids. If using tamarind concentrate, blend it with 0.25 cup hot water.
Add the coconut milk, stock or water and tamarind water, and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 – 20 mins to allow flavours to develop. Strain through a fine sieve and discard solids.
Store in the fridge for use with S.E. Asian inspired dishes. Can be frozen.