Darsh is a hoarder, but not the kind that collects trinkets, old photographs, knick-knacks or tupperware. A peek in our freezer will reveal bags of fish carcasses (tail, heads and all), prawn heads and shells, chicken and pork bones, carrot peels, mushroom stalks… you get it.
Far from being a problem, however, this habit saves us time and money in the long run. Why? These kitchen scraps come in handy when we run out of groceries, or don’t have time (or are too lazy) to stop by the supermarket – they are great for flavouring stocks, which in turn form the base of delicious soups, stews and gravies.
And that is exactly how this stew came to be, on a rainy night when we suddenly found our dinner plans cancelled and we had to come up with our own grub. Feel free to use whatever seafood you have in the fridge. We had some prawns and fish, but you can even use mussels or squid, your choice.
Warm stew, cold night… mmm
- For Stew
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 large tomatoes, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cabbage, shredded
- 1 chinese leek, sliced
- 2 red chili peppers, chopped (deseeded if you wish to dial down the heat)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 tbs corn starch
- 200g fish slices (we used Toman or Snakehead)
- 12 small to medium-sized prawns, peeled
- 1/2 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1 tsp chili powder (optional)
- Handful of parsley and spring onions, chopped
- Juice 1/2 lemon (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
200g Prawn head and shells
Fish head, tail
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 inch ginger, lightly crushed
2 cloves garlic, lighly crushed
1 stalk chinese leek, sliced
1 tbs peppercorns, lightly crushed
2 dried bay leaf
1 cup rice wine
1 L (4 cups) water
- In a large stockpot, dump all the ingredients for the stock and bring to a boil.
- Remove scum from the surface, reduce heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, then strain. *To save on prep time, you can chop up the ingredients for the stew at this point while waiting.
- Cook Stew: Heat oil in regular pot/claypot. Saute the onions until translucent.
- Add leek, chilies, bell pepper and sweat them for 5 minutes till soft.
- Add paprika, chili flakes, chili powder (if using), salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
- Deglaze with white wine, add tomatoes and that delicious stock, reserving 1 cup. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, make a slurry - To do that, mix the cornstarch with 1 cup of the hot stock. Mix well.
- When 30 minutes is up, add the slurry while stirring the stew.
- Add cabbage, fish and prawns, and simmer for another 10 minutes or until sauce thickens to desired consistency and seafood is cooked.
- Taste, add lemon juice if desired. Before serving, stir in chopped cilantro and spring onions.
- Serve with warm bread or rice.
To save time when making stock, you don’t even need to defrost the bones and all first before throwing them in the pot. Save even more time by making the stock in advance and storing in the fridge for use within the next couple of days, or in the freezer.
Darsh normally stores 2 cups of stock per tupperware; that way, we only thaw what we need.
Omit the slurry to turn this stew into a hearty soup.