Umami Broth – An Essential Part of My Recipes
Umami broth is savory, complex, satisfying and mouthwatering…it forms the foundation to many of my recipes!
I can think of a handful of skills any aspiring cook must learn early in their training. Shopping, understanding how to taste and season food, developing proper knife skills, practicing basic food hygiene and making a delicious broth (or stock if you prefer).
Learning how to make a good vegetable broth is an invaluable skill to master in vegan cooking; it forms the core flavors of soups, stews and rice dishes. Think of it this way – a vegetable broth becomes the soul of the food you create.
My intensely flavored umami broth takes my standard vegetable broth to a higher level. I use it to form the underlying flavors of rich soups, stews, rice dishes or in making a vegan brown sauce. I also like to use this broth to flavor seitan, marinate mushrooms or combine with kombu to make a killer vegan dashi. Of course, the broth can be enjoyed on its own too – a sort of vegan bone broth to fill your soul with umami and your mouth with deliciousness.
Next up in my umami series is a few recipe ideas on how I use this delicious umami broth to create amazing layers of flavor. Once we’ve tackled this important foundational recipe, I will move on and begin writing about my strategies and kitchen secrets to create umami-rich seitan dishes. I hope you continue to follow me on this fascinating journey…and use the information I offer to help you develop your own style – or at least explore some ways that may help you cook incredibly satisfying vegan meals.
As always, I want your feedback…so, please feel free to spark a conversation with me or other readers by leaving a comment below – this contributes enormously and helps others discover VeganWeekly. Of course, sharing this newsletter with your friends, family and social media contacts also helps and sustains me… and maybe this newsletter could help others who may crave valuable insights into the art of vegan cooking.
This recipe is naturally oil and fat-free and it is easily made gluten-free by using tamari in place of soy sauce and making sure the miso you select is gluten-free and richly flavored.
The broth keeps 5-7 days refrigerated and up to 6 months in the freezer. You can save storage space by reducing the broth to about one half its original volume. The concentrate only needs a bit of water added when you begin cooking with it…but just remember, this broth is rich in sodium which also reduces and concentrates.
Yield: makes about 2 liters (2 quarts)
2 1/2 liters (2 1/2 quarts) water
240 ml. (one cup) soy sauce or tamari
3 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
2 tablespoons mushroom powder
1 tablespoon yeast extract (like marmite)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons dark miso
1 bay leaf
1 piece kombu
3 sun-dried tomatoes
4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, lightly crushed
Mix together the water and soy sauce (or tamari) in a large pot. Bring slowly to a simmer.
Add the prepared vegetables to the liquid, then add the mushroom powder, yeast extract, brown sugar and dark miso. Stir well to dissolve the extract, sugar and miso. Add the bay leaf, kombu, sun-dried tomatoes, dried mushrooms, salt and black peppercorns.
Cover the pot and bring the liquid back to a light simmer – the liquid should just bubble but not boil. Uncover the pot and keep simmering the broth for 1 hour. Remove the pot, cover and cool completely to room temperature (I do this overnight by just leaving the pot on the stove). Once cooled, strain the broth well and adjust the flavors – be careful to avoid over-seasoning the broth because it will be reduced in many recipes.
Tips and Variations
There are alternate vegetables that can be used in the broth but don’t go overboard; the vegetables should provide a background flavor – kind of like the supporting actor. For example, if I don’t have celery ribs on hand, then I go for celeriac (celery root) or kohlrabi. Fennel is another nice vegetable to add to the mix or use in place of the celery.
I prefer using a lite soy sauce for this recipe to keep the overall sodium content somewhat in check. Use about 200 ml (3/4-cup) if you want to use a full-bodied soy sauce or tamari. Of course, be sure to use tamari if you want to keep the mixture gluten-free…as well as a dark and richly flavored gluten-free miso.
To make mushroom powder: Use dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms for best results, then simply grind them in a coffee grinder or spice grinder. Strain and keep tightly sealed in a small jar. Use within 6 months.
I like to add even more flavor to this broth by keeping the strained bits and cooking it a second time with one liter (one quart) water and a few more tablespoons of miso and 1 tablespoon yeast extract. I cook the second broth for 30 minutes, strain and add to the cooled original broth. This adds another level of complexity and flavor to my broth.
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Previously in my umami series…
Discover more delicious vegan food and cooking ideas at myfreshattitude.com.
Thanks for reading!
Remember…leaving a comment contributes enormously and helps others discover VeganWeekly. Or if you prefer, sharing this newsletter with your friends, family and social media contacts also helps and sustains me…and maybe this newsletter could help others who may crave valuable insights into the art of vegan cooking.