Dashi (だし) is the basic stock used for Japanese cooking. My best guess is if you are not familiar with Japanese ingredient, when you see “dashi” in my ingredient lists and you might have thought to yourself, what’s dashi… can I skip it?
Frankly speaking, if you try making Japanese food without dashi, it will not taste authentic. You cannot replace dashi with chicken or vegetable stock. If you skip it, the resulting dish will not reflect it’s true taste.
We make dashi almost everyday and use it in many dishes. I usually make a big pot of dashi, and use some portions of it for my main or side dishes. The leftover dashi in the pot becomes the base for miso soup. Japanese dishes are always served with a bowl of miso soup, so no dashi will end up going to waste.
Types of Dashi
Before I start explaining the 3 methods to make dashi, please know that the Japanese have different types of dashi.
There are 4 types of dashi: Awase Dashi (most basic), Kombu Dashi (Vegetarian/Vegan), Iriko Dashi, and Shiitake Dashi. To learn about each dashi, please read more on this post.
3 Methods To Make Dashi
Today we’ll be making the most basic dashi, Awase Dashi, 3 ways. However, you can use the same approaches to make different types of dashi I’ve shared previously.
The three methods include dashi packet, which I use the most often in my daily cooking, dashi powder, if you’re in hurry, and lastly homemade dashi, the most delicious dashi you can make at home.
1. Use Dashi Packet to Make Dashi
Dashi packet is a little pouch that contains premixed ingredients to make dashi. It’s convenient because you don’t have to prepare each ingredient yourself – everything in a tea-bag-like packet and all you need to do is to drop it in the water and boil. You don’t need to drain over a strainer and instead just pick up the packet and throw away after it releases all the flavors into the stock.
This is a quick method, just like dashi powder, yet the taste is closer to homemade dashi because of the real ingredients in the dashi packet.
2. Use Dashi Powder
If you occasionally cook Japanese food and need dashi for Japanese cooking, many of you probably start with the powder method.
It makes sense because dashi powder is relatively easily accessible in Asian grocery stores (and even in American supermarket) and available in many countries (Amazon also sells it). All you need is to sprinkle the dashi powder in the boiling water, and dashi is made!
If you don’t cook Japanese food often, this is a great solution because you just need a box of dashi powder handy and don’t need to buy the several ingredients required for making dashi.
3. Make Homemade Dashi
Just like any other food, nothing beats the delicious homemade dish made from scratch. Same thing goes to homemade dashi. Compared to chicken/beef/vegetable broth, Japanese dashi is much easier and quicker to make. The methods are simple and you only need a few ingredients. If you’re new to dashi, it might sound very intimidating, but you can watch the video to see how easy it is to make them.
I hope you enjoy making dashi recipe! If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #JustOneCookbook. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
- 2-3 cups water
- 1 dashi packet or powder (6 g/1 tsp.)
- 4x5" (20 g) kombu
- 4 cups water
- 3 cups (30 g) bonito flakes (katsuobushi)
- Please check out the tutorial video here.