With Christmas around the corner I am sure that most of us will be cooking several pots of biryanis and pulaos to celebrate. The best way to cook your rice dishes is to use chicken or vegetable stock which adds a great depth and flavour to them, something that plain water cannot achieve. Since we are huge fans of biryanis and pulaos at home the use of bouillon cubes (stock cubes) was always a part of my grocery list until I discovered homemade stock. I never went back to using bouillon cubes to flavour my rice dishes after that. I do keep a couple of them for emergencies (yep! guilty of that) but I almost always have a box or two of frozen stock.
Trust me, the effort is almost nil and you have beautifully flavoured stock that is sans preservatives and excess salt. When you make your own stock you have full control over what goes in it. You alter the ingredients according to what you have in your fridge and pantry and ofcourse, you add only as much salt as you require. Most times I add very little salt to the pot and prefer adding salt to the dish that I am preparing using the stock. This is helpful if you are trying to cut down salt intake especially those who have high blood pressure and other health issues.
Despite the fact that I've been making homemade stock like since forever I never got around to posting the recipe! Sometimes the pictures were bad or sometimes I would forget to take them altogether! Sometimes I wasn't pleased with the container in which to display the stock and other times I was simply not inclined to spread out my paraphernalia and go click! But then the festive season gave me the much needed push topped with the fact that I picked these beautiful canning jars on my recent hours of random window shopping fiesta that culminated into the purchase. Since I am more of a prop-a-holic than a shop-a-holic I went beserk when I got back home with my loot. I decided that the jars had to be put to good use and lo! I finally did.
I wanted to give my pictures a very rustic, homely look and I think I finally managed to do that! As luck would have it and despite the fact that the winters are closing in, I managed to shoot in some beautiful morning light.
Anyway, back to the hero of the pictures, the stock is pretty versatile in the sense that you can use it as a base for your soups and curries besides cooking your rice dishes in it. You can also cook savoury porridges made of oats and broken wheat. If you have more ideas, do share them with me! Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how you used up your homemade chicken stock!
Do give this recipe a try and I am sure you will never go back to using store bought soup/bouillon cubes ever again!
Homemade Chicken Stock
Prep time: 5-7 mins |Cooking time: 2 hours (traditional method) | Yields 2 litres approx
Cup measure used: 1 cup = 250ml
- 1 kg chicken bone pieces * see notes
- 2.5 litres (10 cups) water
- 2 medium sized onions, peeled and halved (and quartered if you wish, it doesn't really matter)
- 1 large tomato, quartered
- 5-6 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
- 1 carrot, halved or quartered
- 1 stick of celery (optional) * see notes
- 1/2 cup coriander stalks (especially the ends near the roots, cleaned)
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 4-5 cloves
- 1" stick of cinnamon
- 1 large bay leaf
1. Clean the chicken bones and place them along with the rest of the ingredients in a large pot. Bring the contents to a boil and then simmer for 1-1/2 - 2 hours * see notes
2. Strain the mixture. Discard the rest of the contents (unless you are using pieces of bone with a lot of meat on it which you can shred and add to soups or spreads)
3. Use as per recipe to flavour soups or cook rice for pulaos or biryanis or even to make savoury porridges (oats/broken wheat). Let the stock cool completely before freezing in freezer safe bags/containers
1. You can ask for bone pieces from the butcher or may also use a whole chicken for best results. In Dubai I buy packs of chicken bone pieces from Lulu supermarket (you can find this in the fresh meat section)
2. If you do not want to spend 2 hours you can also pressure cook the ingredients for about 2 whistles and then simmer it for 10 minutes (provided you have a large enough pressure cooker)
3. I skip the celery if I don't have it. My family prefers stock made without it as it lends a different flavour to the stock.