Mamta's Kitchen

Making Stock

Making Stock

Mamta Gupta and Steve Lister

What is stock? According to Wikipedia, stock is “flavoured water which forms the basis of many dishes, particularly soups and sauces”. It is prepared by simmering various ingredients in water and can also be added to many dishes like stews, pilafs, biryanies etc. Most of us use ready-made stock cubes, powders, stock-pots these days, but it really is worth making the effort when you have time, it is easy to make. There are several types of stocks, like meat (lamb, ham, beef), chicken (perhaps the most commonly used stock), vegetable, fish & other sea food like prawns, and a compound stock which has all of the above and might perhaps be used for making things like Gumbo. Stock also has seasoning and flavouring in the form of various herbs and whole spices like bay leaves, cinnamon, pepper corns or a Bouquet Garni (spices and herbs tied in a piece of muslin). The flavour of a meat stock is achieved by boiling bones, cartilages and tendons etc., and the other things you add to it. Different vegetables can be added, depending upon what you have to hand. The amounts are also variable.

Always start with cold water and then bring it to simmer slowly. Always skim off the froth/impurities from the top. Always let it cool in the fridge to allow fat to set and then remove it from the top, especially for meat and chicken stocks.

More solids you boil in water, better flavour you get to your stock. Remember, you can always thin it later. Meat stocks take longer to cook, but vegetable and sea-food stocks do not need more than an hour.

Once made, cool it quickly, not leaving it too long at room temperature. You don’t want bacteria to grow in it!

Also see Soup Selection.


  • Ingredients for Vegetable Stock (makes 1 1/2 litre)

  • 1 tbsp. oil

  • 1 onion

  • 1-2 stalks celery, including some leaves

  • 2 large carrots

  • 1 bunch green onions or chives, chopped

  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)

  • 1 cup fresh parsley or coriander leaves and stalks

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 2 litre water

  • Ingredients for meat Stock

  • 500-750 gm. approximately, of leftover cooked meat and bones, like lamb leg, ribs or any other bones, skin and small trimmings of meat, drippings from the pan, if not used for making gravy. Avoid pork, it doesn’t give the best stock.

  • Water, twice the amount of meat by volume (2-2 1/2 litre)

  • 1 onion, topped and tailed and washed well

  • 1 carrot, peeled or well washed and cut into cubes

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1-2 sticks of celery, chopped. Use the leaves as well.

  • Herbs of choice (optional)

  • 2 bay leaves (optional)

  • 2-3 inch piece of cinnamon (optional)

  • 2-3 large, brown cardamoms (optional)

  • Ingredients for Chicken stock

  • Leftover Bones, trimmings and skin from 1 chicken, approximately 500 gm.

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 carrot

  • 1-2 sticks of celery, chopped. Use leaves as well

  • Salt

  • 5-6 pepper corns

  • 2 bay leaves 1- 1 1/2 litre cold water (optional)

  • Any one of these; thyme, rosemary, bay leaves possibly even mint (optional)

  • Ingredients for fish and/or shellfish stock Fish bones, head, shellfish shells, all well washed (avoid strong flavoured fish like mackerel or salmon in making stock)

  • 1 tbsp. oil

  • 2 litre water

  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped

  • 1 celery stalk, chopped

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • A handful of parsley stalks (save leaves for other things)

  • A handful of button or other small mushrooms

  • 1-2 rosemary sprigs (optional)

  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns

  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Making Vegetable Stock:

  2. Wash and chop vegetables into small pieces. Heat oil in a pan. Add all vegetables and stir-fry on high for 5-6 minutes. Add water and salt, bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes. Strain and discard the vegetables.

  3. You can add other vegetables like corn, pea pods, well washed potato and onion skins, leaf vegetables or anything else that you have. I tend not to add brassica stalks leaves (cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower etc.), because they give an unpleasant flavour to it. But you can, if you want to.

  4. Making Meat stocks:

  5. Quarter onions (leave skin on, as long as it is clean).

  6. Place all ingredients in a large pan.

  7. Add cold 2 litre cold water

  8. Bring to boil and simmer on low heat, uncovered, for 2-3 hours.

  9. Once cool enough to handle, strain through a wire sieve.

  10. Cool quickly and store in the fridge. Don’t leave it lying around to grow germs.

  11. When cold, fat will set on the top. Skim it off.

  12. Use stock as required.

  13. Making Chicken stock:

  14. Put the chicken bones, trimmings and skin from a roast or boiled chicken carcass into the pan.

  15. Add all other ingredients.

  16. Cover with cold water.

  17. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Skim the foam from the top from time to time. Turn heat off.

  18. When cool enough to handle, strain through a wire sieve. Discard solids.

  19. As soon as it comes to room temperature, cover andput in the fridge overnight.

  20. Next day, when the fat has solidified on the top, remove it with a spoon.

  21. Making Fish Stock:

  22. Place everything in a large pan and bring to boil.

  23. Turn heat down and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

  24. When cool enough to handle, strain through a wire sieve, pressing on the solids. Leave it to stand for 20 minutes. This will let the impurities settle to the bottom.

  25. Ladle off the stock from the top, leaving the impurities at the bottom.

  26. Also see Soup Selection.


  • All stocks cane be frozen. To freeze stock: Stock can be frozen in small plastic bottle or bags. Do not keep it for more than 3-4 months.

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