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Old 08-26-2011, 03:46 AM   #1
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How to add Depth to Vegetable Stew

Hello,

I'm newbie to cooking.

I have started to learn cooking for myself, cos I realised my family's cooking is unhealthy. We are Chinese family. There's too much meat in the family dinner. 3 meat dishes to 1 veggie dish. And a lot of spicy foods and sodium.

But I have this problem in that when I boil a pot of vegetables with rice, I dont know how to make it taste nice.

How do I season my vegetable stews?

Usually, I put some Ragu pasta sauce, and bay leave powder, and basil and worcester sauce and soy sauce. and maybe a slice of cheese for depth.

How else can I make the pot of veggie rice stew taste nice??

Typically, my veggies are Carots, cabbage, capsicum, tomato, and canned kidney beans.

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Old 08-26-2011, 04:09 AM   #2
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One of the easiest and best ways to deepen the flavor in a veggie stew is to roast the vegetables, but, about the only veggie you listed that you use that would benefit from that is tomatoes. Actually carrots also roast well. Other veggies you might want to add that roast well are onion, bell pepper and parsnips, and there are many others. You should get some ideas if you do a search for veggie stew recipes. I'd also add a little garlic and maybe a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes.
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Old 08-26-2011, 04:30 AM   #3
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Adding onion and browning them well will add more depth and adding mushrooms like portabello will add a meaty flavour without adding actual meat.
You can also try adding some Thyme, it's a wonderful addition to most savoury dishes. browse some of the recipes on DC, maybe you will get some inspiration and find a dish that you can adjust to your own taste.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:46 AM   #4
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MSC has it right. Roast them. If you have a charcoal or gas grill, grill the veggies, or in an oven. But brown them before boiling. I know you're trying to reduce the meat in your family's diet, but using a chicken broth when boiling will help, since you are not actually vegetarian. If you use canned, don't add salt until the last moment, or let your family add the soy sauce at the table. Add eggplant (aubergine) or summer squash (courgette) as well. Winter squash (the harder ones) can be pierced, then put in an oven or over coals until the outside almost looks burnt, then peeled, seeded, and mashed to give some body and thickness to the stew.

A very little bit of cured/smoked meat in an entire pot will give some flavor. I know there are some very flavorful sausages in Chinese cooking, and just a few slices can give the vegetable stew quite a bit of flavor.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:41 AM   #5
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Using meat bones in your stew will enhance its flavor, without adding all the fat. Salt is a requirement to make it taste good. But go easy with it. Adding herbs such as the previously mentioned thyme, along with rosemary, sage, basil, garlic, ground black pepper, or even a seasoning mix such as Old Bay will add depth of flavor. A small amount of pork, beef, or chicken will really help, especially if the meat is well browned.

I like adding a bit of dill to my stews. But then again, a little light soy sauce, with Chinese 5-spice powder adds a wonderful flavor as well. Mushrooms are great, but need that touch of salt to bring out their flavor.

Broths with dissolved collagen are prized in Asian cuisine. They add texture and nutritional value. And the bones, cartilage, and connecting tissues from which the collagen is extracted by boiling add wonderful flavor as well.

Think of the Vietnamese Pho restaurants. The soups are great, without adding much meat at all.

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Old 08-26-2011, 10:33 AM   #6
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KITCHEN BOUQUET will add some color and flavor.
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:00 PM   #7
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Boullion cubes, bouquet garni, chunk of salt pork(you can remove this later), I love alspice berries with my beef stews, beer, dried mushrooms, dry mustard, steak spice,
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:43 PM   #8
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Maggi seasoning has a little more Asian flair than Kitchen Bouquet; I use it quite a bit.
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:11 PM   #9
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I add anywhere from a small pinch to a full tablespoon of Pav Bhaji Masala to many things that I prepare. With veggies, it adds just a tad of "mystery" seasoning to them that no one can ever tell what it is. It's very strong, so start small with it. I buy it at my local "Health Food" store for $1.99 per/100g/3.5 oz.
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:23 PM   #10
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A teaspoon full of Marmite will add a nice rich flavour.
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