Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Baby vegetables in Cilantro Lemongrass broth

The only herb that is nearly always in my fridge, and most likely in other Indian fridges too, is cilantro. The first thing I do after getting cilantro home is trim off the hard stalk portion, then wrap the leafy part in a paper towel, and this package then goes off into a plastic box, to be used as required. The cilantro stays fine for a couple of weeks.

If the stalks are particularly healthy and fresh, and if I have even a few additional minutes, one of the things I like to do instead of throwing the stalks away is to drop them into a large pan of water and bring the water to a boil. Add a few chunks of ginger either bruised by a pestle or grated, a few crushed peppercorns, some salt, and within about 15-20 minutes, a rather delicious cilantro-ginger broth is ready. Once strained, it can be sipped just by itself, or used as a base for soups, dal, or noodle dishes.

Making broth

The variations on this simple basic are endless. Sometimes I add slices of lime or lemon to it, sometimes, a bay leaf. This time I used a couple of stalks of lemongrass, roughly cut into pieces and smashed, and let those boil with everything else, infusing the broth with the characteristic flavor of lemongrass.

Baby Vegetables

To it, I added some fresh baby vegetables, such as baby carrots small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand, along with various baby squashes like zucchini, yellow crookneck, sunburst and pattypan, all so tiny that they barely needed to be halved. I let the vegetables cook in the clear stock for a few minutes until they were fork tender, garnished with a bit of finely chopped cilantro, and an austerely beautiful and surprisingly satisfying first course was ladled out.

Soup

18 comments:

bee said...

those veggies are so adorable. the cilantro stalk broth is a fabulous idea.

Richa said...

lemon grass broth....yummmmm :) i'm so making this. the baby veg look so cute, that is a lovely dish, et!

TheCooker said...

Maan gaye, the broth is a great idea! The babies look cute.

Nags said...

that's a very pretty looking dish :)

Miri said...

the baby veg soup looks soo appealing!

evolvingtastes said...

Bee, those vegetables really had me. They were a lot more delicious than their regular counterparts too!

Richa, make, make! Jaldi. Its great for winter.

Thanks cooker for your praise.

Nags, thanks.

Miri, thanks, and welcome to my blog.

KayKat said...

Cilantro broth?! That's awesome! And you have pattypans in there - one of my favorite squashes :)

Suganya said...

My my.. What an idea. And look at those veggies.

Ashwini said...

Cute cute cute!
Cilantro broth is such a clever idea ET... the pic reminds me of Thai soups.

evolvingtastes said...

Kaykat, how do you usually use pattypans? I am not too fond of summer squashes so I was very skeptical of using them lightly cooked in broth like this, but it worked because the veggies were fresh from the market and delicious.

Suganya, thanks! Yup, those babies are something.

Ashwini, your observation is absolutely perfect. The lemongrass, cilantro, and ginger made it very reminiscent of Thai flavors.

Priyanka said...

Oh you are back...thats so great. the lemongrass must have really enhanced the taste of the baby veggies.

musical said...

Gotta' make this soon :). I have a lot of cilantro and some crookneck squash in the fridge. Yummy idea, dear! Cilantro and lemongrass together must be so delish!

Shankari said...

I just have to see lemongrass in the ingredients section and Iam sold! I have to try this recipe..thanks for sharing

evolvingtastes said...

Yes, Priyanka, I am back. Nice to see you too. Hope your studies are going fine.

Musical, it was a very refined delicious, and I sure hope you will try it.

Shankari, thanks, and welcome to my blog!

Shilpa said...

oh no, those baby veggies are too cute! :) thanks for your comment and compliment! :) will keep checking back!

evolvingtastes said...

Shilpa, hope to see you around too!

Vinisha aka Big Green Dot said...

Fabulous...also make my own 'flavourful, thin-stock style' soups for veg dumplings - one recommended is one blanched, red tomato with a dash of rasam powder

evolvingtastes said...

Vinisha, welcome here, and thanks for that tip.

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